Must-track email metrics for marketers

Must-track email metrics for marketers

Must-track email metrics for marketers

Sarita Sood

Senior Strategist

28 May 2024

After weeks of planning and building your email campaign, including ticking off rounds of stakeholder amends, it's finally time to hit send (cue a sigh of relief). But before you do, consider the effort invested in sourcing content, crafting an enticing subject line, and securing a compelling customer discount. You want to understand how your campaign performs, if the audience engages with your carefully crafted CTA, and how many convert to the offer. Given that 99% of email users check their inbox daily, tracking and evaluating email marketing performance is essential for learning, adapting, and improving future efforts.

But what do I measure I hear you ask?  Firstly, every email marketing campaign is different, especially if there are varying goals (eg. driving traffic to your website, increasing App downloads or sharing a payday promo code). Secondly, your individual business and marketing strategy will ultimately drive the metrics you’ll need to track. 

The key metrics to track can be broken down into 5 key areas:

#1 Inbox performance metrics

Deliverability Rate:

The number of emails that reach the inbox. 

In essence, if your emails aren't reaching customers, it will impact your desired outcome. The deliverability rate gauges whether your emails are making it to recipients and is calculated as the percentage of emails accepted by the internet service provider (ISP). A good delivery rate exceeds 95%. To maintain this, it's crucial to protect your IP reputation by utilising active and clean customer data and following email best practices.

Bounce rates:

When an email doesn’t reach the intended email account (the inbox or junk mail folder). 

When customers don't receive your emails, it can hurt your deliverability rate. A high bounce rate tells servers your emails might be untrustworthy, possibly resulting in automatic blocking. Bounces fall into two categories.

Hard bounce:

This occurs when an email address is undeliverable.

This could happen if the address is fake, entered incorrectly, or if the user's mailbox or domain is inactive. It's advisable to remove these addresses from your database.

Soft bounce:

Indicates a temporary delivery issue and is handled differently than hard bounces.

This occurs If an email address continues to soft bounce several times, the address will eventually be considered a hard bounce.

#2 Email activity metrics

Click rate: 

The percentage of recipients that clicked on your email.

Without clicks, how will we know if our campaign has worked as intended? You need to make sure that you get as much out of your marketing campaign as possible (clicks) so that you drive traffic to the website. Clicks also help you understand the effectiveness of your messaging, creative and CTAs.

Formula to calculate click rate: Total clicks OR unique clicks ÷ Total emails sent

Open rate: 

The percentage of email recipients who open a specific email.

The most used metric which gives insight into how engaged subscribers are and how effective specific subject lines were.

Formula to calculate open rate:Number of sent emails ÷ Total opens OR unique opens

N.B: While open rates were once a key performance metric, Apple's iOS 15 update in Sep 2021, introducing Mail Privacy Protection (MPP), disrupted this metric's reliability on Apple devices. Similar privacy measures from Google and Yahoo further impacted the accuracy of open rates. Nonetheless, open rates remain valuable despite their decreased precision. They still offer a decent gauge of email outreach success, signalling engagement opportunities even if not perfectly precise.

Unsubscribe rate:

Email addresses that unsubscribe from your emails.

Unfortunately, not all our emails resonate with customers and they will say goodbye to us. It's useful to keep an eye on this metric to understand which campaigns might be driving usual volumes of unsubscribes to identify root causes (eg. sending too many specific emails and irrelevant messaging etc).  Also, don’t feel too deflated when some customers do unsubscribe. Although it's important to keep customers engaged with relevant content, you want customers on your database who are interested in maintaining a relationship with you.  Anything under 2% is good.

#3 Post send metrics - email to web users

Email to site conversions and Site traffic. How many clicks are converted to website visitors.

The journey continues post-send. CTAs lead to landing pages, so it's important to analyse the effectiveness. Use web analytics to review the ‘email clicks to web users’ ratio. For instance, if there were 1000 clicks but only 700 users, what happened to the remaining 300? Understanding this journey helps enhance customer experience and therefore boost future email marketing efforts.

#4 Business metrics - transactions and sales revenue

Revenue per campaign, Transactions, revenue and AOV.

How much money your email campaign generated.

Are you spending weeks creating beautiful creative utilising lots of team resources?  Well, this metric will help you understand the ROI.  Again, check your web analytics tool and review the monetary value your email campaign generated, the number or transactions it made, and the average order value (AOV) per campaign.  This helps you understand the true outcome of your email campaign and the overall impact.  Are some campaigns driving lower revenue than others? Assess what drives effectiveness based on effort.

Customer lifetime value (CLV or LTV)

Represents the total earnings from a customer over the duration of their relationship with a business.

It’s the total revenue a customer is expected to generate throughout their entire relationship with us. It helps businesses understand the long-term value of acquiring and retaining customers.

#5 Email database growth and list hygiene

New email addresses that you acquire in your database.

As customers naturally leave your database, focus on acquiring new email addresses through effective strategies (website sign-ups, social, etc). Regularly clean your database by removing problematic email addresses to maintain deliverability. However, whilst fixing the leaking data bucket is essential, remember that acquiring a new email address is 5x more expensive than retaining an existing one.

Monitor key metrics over time to see your email program blossom and effectiveness soar. Set your own success benchmarks based on year-over-year growth (YoY). Industry standards are great, but crushing your own bests is the ultimate win.

Ready to refine your strategy? Let's chat! We'll craft a rock-solid plan to boost your metrics and propel your email marketing to new heights.




Got a project or want to know more about what we do? Drop us a message here, and we'll get back to you.




Got a project or want to know more about what we do? Drop us a message here, and we'll get back to you.

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