With 4 billion daily email users, email marketing has become a powerful tool for businesses to generate higher ROIs and establish better connectivity and reach.
While many factors are responsible for the success of your email campaigns, tracking email marketing metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) is highly essential. You can be informed whether you are achieving your goals or whether you require some campaign adjustments.
Metrics and KPIs help you to optimize your efforts in real time to secure a higher ROI. This blog discusses the key email marketing metrics and KPIs you must track for successful campaigns.
Email Marketing Metrics & KPIs Marketers Need to Track
KPIs are quantifiable measures of the performances of different aspects of an email campaign. It informs you how your email copy, subject line, and call-to-actions are performed.
With this knowledge, you can utilize behavioral segmentation and thoughtful tactics to trim away the elements of your email that don’t deliver positive results. On the other hand, you can optimize the features that deliver the best outcomes.
While email marketing metrics that require tracking depend on your specific campaign goals, let’s look at the most important metrics and KPIs relevant to most email marketing strategies.
1. Email Deliverability Rate
Undoubtedly, email deliverability is the most important email marketing metric to monitor. If your emails are not delivered to inboxes, there’s no scope for engagement or conversion.
Email deliverability measures and compares the number of delivered emails with the number of emails sent. Marketers can determine if their email list includes relevant and accurate contacts.
Furthermore, they can measure the success of their campaigns since deliverability confirms if emails are reaching the target audience.
Calculation: (Number of emails delivered/Number of emails sent) x 100
2. Open Rate
Monitoring email open rates is another important KPI that examines the percentage of recipients who have opened emails.
It helps understand the effectiveness of the subject line, the engagement rate of the content, and whether recipients are interested in receiving messages from the business. Try to track and check the open rates with every email campaign you send to pin down a benchmark figure.
One can expect the open rates of their emails to vary dramatically. A possible explanation behind this could be email subject lines. If you’re seeing high inbox deliverability but have low open rates, it indicates that the subject lines require modification. Remember, the subject line can entice recipients to click on the email or convince them to ignore it.
A good strategy is to A/B test your emails with different subject lines to identify the most impactful ones. According to Campaign Monitor, a good email open rate falls between 17-28%”
Calculation: Number of opened emails/Number of emails delivered) x 100%
3. Click-Through Rate
Another important email marketing metric to track is the Click-through rate. It refers to the percentage of total email subscribers who have clicked on the links attached to the email.
When you share emails with subscribers, you aim that they complete a designated action by clicking on CTAs (call-to-action), trackable links, and offers included in the email copy.
Monitoring the click-through rate helps understand if the launched email campaign is achieving its goals. It will offer an insight into how many people have read the entire message, are developing interest in the offer, and, subsequently, are willing to take action.
A good click-through rate often falls between 2-5%, depending on your industry. For instance, financial services have a click-through rate of 4%, whereas advertising & marketing have 1.8%.
Calculation: (Total internal clicks/Number of delivered emails) x 100
4. Conversion Rate
Another one of the key email marketing metrics to pay attention to is conversion rate.
While click-through rates measure how many people have clicked on the links shared in your email copy, the conversion rate assesses how many recipients clicked on the link and then completed a specific action.
These include booking a demo, downloading an e-book, signing up for a free trial, or subscribing to an event. The conversion rate precisely informs which CTAs lead to conversions or if an offer is enticing for potential prospects to take action.
Notably, conversion rate gives you an insight into the email marketing ROI. Knowing how much you invested and how many leads are getting converted makes it easier to determine if the email campaign offers returns.
Ideally, a reasonable website conversion rate falls between 2% to 5%, according to Mailchimp.
Calculation: (Number of people who completed the desired action/Number of total emails delivered) x 100
5. Bounce Rate
Email bounce rate is a percentage of total emails shared that don’t reach the recipients’ inboxes. While this email marketing metric doesn’t directly link to the marketing goals, one should still investigate it to ensure there are no deep issues with their emails.
In general, 2% or less is considered an acceptable email bounce rate. There are two types of bounce rates to measure:
- The hard bounces result from permanent errors such as invalid, non-existent, or closed email addresses. Once you notice hard bounces, deleting the email addresses is necessary because they’ll never be received or delivered. More importantly, ISPs (internet service providers) check hard bounces to determine an email sender’s reputation.
- Soft bounces are often owing to temporary issues with a valid recipient, such as a problem with their server or a full inbox. The recipient’s server might hold these emails for delivery. Once the problem is solved, the email can be sent to the recipients.
While soft bounces are unpredictable, hard bounces often occur because marketers are not maintaining list hygiene or their opt-in process isn’t maintained to standards.
A double opt-in is an excellent way to reduce the hard bounce rate. After signing up for newsletters to confirm their subscription, the double opt-in method sends an email to the subscriber. If they don’t confirm, they are not added to the list.
Calculation: (Total number of emails bounced/Number of emails sent) x 100
6. List Growth Rate
Marketers must note down list growth rate as one of the important email marketing metrics to measure as it helps understand how effectively their email list grows.
However, it’s a tricky metric to incorporate because the growth rate does not point toward high-quality leads who are likely to convert and deliver sales. It includes every person who has signed up to receive emails from a company. However, a business wants quality prospects who click on the links, convert them into clients, read them, and potentially respond to their emails.
Still, a positive list growth rate suggests that the email list is growing regularly because it delivers relevant and valuable content rather than losing followers at a higher rate.
Calculation: [(New subscribers-unsubscribed)/Total subscribers] x 100
7. Email Sharing/Forwarding Rate
Email sharing or forwarding rate measures the percentage of subscribers who either share your email via social media or forward it to their friends, family, or colleagues.
An important reason to pay attention to this email marketing metric is to generate new contacts. The people on an email list are already in a business database. Though conversion is a primary focus, companies require new leads, too.
Encourage your recipients to forward emails if they find the content helpful and start tracking how many new clients are acquired through shares. Email sharing informs a company about how many brand advocates they have.
Calculation: (Number of clicks on a share or forward button/Number of total delivered emails) x 100
8. ROI (Return on Investment)
Email marketing has the highest ROI of any digital marketing tactic, delivering $36 for every $1 spent.
It is important, as such, to calculate the overall ROI of your email marketing campaign. This way, a business can understand whether the efforts and resources allocated to email campaigns are yielding any results.
ROI measures the profitability and cost-effectiveness of email campaigns. It compares how much value you generate from your email investments versus how much it costs.
Calculation: [($ in additional sales made – $ invested in the campaign)/$ invested in the campaign] x 100
9. Unsubscribe Rate
When it comes to email marketing metrics, the unsubscribe rate informs about the percentage of subscribers who have opted out of your emailing list. However, it is not always a downside if a business loses its subscribers.
Not everyone on the list may be a good fit for a brand. Hence, companies can shift their focus to the target audience when unengaged subscribers opt out.
Marketers must send emails with a straightforward way to opt out of future emails. This will also enhance trust with their audience.
While it is normal to have unsubscribes, there might be shortcomings with the email marketing strategy if a company notices an uptick in individuals unsubscribing from their list. The acceptable unsubscribe rate is less than 0.5%; anything above that indicates an issue with the email campaign.
For example, if a marketer has recently started sending three emails instead of two in a week and noticed a rise in unsubscribe rate, it could be because of the frequency change.
Generally, the unsubscribe rate can increase when senders change email timings, design templates, or send emails to a different segmented list.
Calculation: (Number of unsubscribes/Total emails delivered) x 100%”
10. Inbox Placement Rate
Replace with “Inbox Placement Rate (IPR)” is another one of the essential email marketing metrics to consider.
Sometimes, emails land straight into the recipient’s spam folder instead of their inbox. IPR measures the percentage of emails that are delivered to the primary inbox. Essentially, these are the emails that subscribers will eventually see and read.
When it comes to sales emails or email marketing campaigns, anything above 90% is considered a good inbox placement rate. In contrast, if your IPR falls below 80%, you should check and refine your email campaign.
Calculation: (Number of emails reaching primary inbox/Total emails delivered) x 100
11. Spam Rate
The last thing any marketer wants is for their emails to be flagged as spam. Email service providers often track spam complaints to maintain quality.
If the spam rate is high, the provider may take action against a business and block their account. Always monitor the spam rate alongside the unsubscribe rate. If users don’t enjoy the email copy, they will either unsubscribe or mark you as a spam sender. This can decrease the open, click-through, and conversion rates, among other email marketing metrics.
Spam complaints also indicate that some aspects of your email marketing strategy require change. As such, re-evaluate the strategy and focus on developing content that will be valuable for your ideal audience.
Calculation: (Number of spam complaints/Number of emails delivered) x 100
Whether introducing email campaigns or looking for ways to optimize existing ones, email marketing metrics should be analyzed.
While it can be overwhelming to pursue every metric available, only monitoring one or two won’t give you enough insight to achieve marketing success. Businesses should focus on email marketing metrics that align with their unique goals.
By prioritizing metrics and KPIs that support your marketing and sales objectives, you can easily measure and modify email campaigns to achieve better results.
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Kristin Mortis is a Marketing Manager with 7+ years of experience at TDInsights based out of Plano, Texas. She helps businesses deliver the strongest marketing turnaround with cutting-edge digital strategies and tools. She writes about B2B Marketing, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and other technological innovations. Connect with Kristin on Twitter to learn about the emerging practices being implemented in the B2B segment.