Every marketer knows that email marketing is a potential gold mine and one that has never fallen out of favor.
Whether it is a:
It must have taken your time, effort, and money to launch your campaigns — not to mention the effort to build an email list and optimize your email marketing campaigns.
But in the end, none of them will matter unless you track your campaigns’ performance and measure the essential email marketing KPIs and metrics.
What is a Key Performance Indicator?
Email marketing KPIs help you understand whether email marketing is helping you reach your goals or not. So, it’s important to ask yourself before sending out emails: “What do I aim to achieve with email marketing?”
Your goal might be:
Once you determine your goal, the next thing to do is figure out which email marketing KPIs and metrics you need to track. This way, you can get a clear view of your progress and optimize smartly.
Many marketers track only 3-5 KPIs, but there’s more to see the complete picture. Here are ten essential email marketing KPIs and metrics you should track to optimize your campaigns truly.
Your email click-through rate indicates the percentage of email recipients who clicked a link contained in a given email.
How to calculate it: Divide the total number of clicks or unique clicks by the total number of delivered emails. Multiply the result by 100.
Example: 600 total clicks ÷ 10,000 delivered emails * 100 = 6% click-through rate.
Click-through rate (CTR) helps you easily measure the performance of every individual email you send. After you assess your CTR, you can track your email conversion rate.
Also, CTR is often used to determine the results of A/B tests.
The primary purpose of such A/B tests is usually to find new ways to drive more clicks. Considering that, measuring the CTR of your campaigns allows you to assess each campaign’s click success.
Conversion rate or CTR is a critical metric to evaluate the success of email marketing.
Email marketing conversion rate is the percentage of email recipients who complete the desired action after reading your email, such as clicking on a link, purchasing a product, or filling out a form.
How to calculate it: Divide the number of conversions (signups, purchases, etc.) by the total number of emails delivered. Multiply the result by 100.
Example: 200 people who have completed the desired action ÷ 5,000 total email delivered * 100 = 4% conversion rate.
After you get your recipients to click your email, the next goal is to get them to complete the desired action. If you send an email that offers your audience a chance to download a free ebook, anyone who downloads the ebook by clicking the link in the email is a conversion.
What is a good email marketing conversion rate?
There’s no specific answer for that because many factors make your email campaign different from other campaigns. Some of these factors include location, demographics, email copy, industry, and your offer.
Your email click-to-open rate indicates the number of people who opened a given email compared to the number of click-throughs.
This email marketing KPI shows you how well your email subject line and email copy performs. If your subject line made people open it, but the click-through rate is low, you didn’t provide a good offer or email copy.
If many recipients clicked through, but very few opened your email, your offer was great, but the subject line was weak.
The subject line and offer are not the only factors that influence the open rate. Other factors such as the quality of your list, the sender’s email address, and the time you send also affect it.
We suggest you take a look at our related article as well: Increase Email Open Rate: Email Marketing Guide For Beginners
Just because you have sent your email to 10,000 people doesn’t mean that all of your emails are delivered.
We need to break it to you: There is no such thing as a 100% email deliverability rate.
While measuring the email deliverability rate, you need to consider certain factors.
Sometimes, the sender’s email address can get blacklisted by an ISP, especially if you are using a shared IP rather than a dedicated IP. In such a situation, you should find the problem and fix it immediately.
Your email might be “delivered,” but it can be delivered right into the junk folder as well. It leads many marketers to use the Inbox Placement Rate (IPR) as an email marketing KPI to measure how many emails make it to the inbox.
It’s not enough for your emails to make it to the recipient’s inbox. You need to get them to open your emails.
Note that the success of your open rate might change based on many factors. Your industry is the first factor you should consider.
You can find out the benchmarks for email open rate industry averages by MailChimp.
Some industries see higher open rates than others. So, you shouldn’t compare yours in a broad scope.
Email list growth rate is the rate at which your email list is growing.
Besides keeping track of your call-to-action metrics such as CTR and conversion rates, you should also aim to grow your email list. This way, you can expand your audience and grow your business.
How to calculate it: (Number of new subscribers) - (Number of unsubscribers + spam complaints) ÷ Total number of email addresses on your list * 100 = List growth rate
Example: (300 new subscribers - 100 unsubscribes and email/spam complaints) ÷ 10,000 email addresses on the list * 100 = 2% list growth rate
A hard bounce indicates a permanent one, while a soft bounce is temporary.
Invalid email addresses are often the reason for a hard bounce. For example, this happens if someone enters an email address incorrectly or job email addresses become invalid when a person quits work.
You need to remove those email addresses from your list as soon as possible. In fact, you should practice email list cleaning regularly. There are a lot of email list cleaning services to help you do that.
Unlike hard bounces, soft bounces are caused by an issue caused by the recipient. The receiver’s inbox might be full; the server might be down, and so on. However, it is only temporary, and your email service provider resends the message automatically.
The forwarding or sharing rate is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on the “share” button to share a given email to a social network or clicked the “forward” button to forward the email content to a friend.
How to calculate it: (Number of clicks on a share and/or forward button ÷ Total number of total delivered emails) * 100
Forwarding or social sharing rate is arguably one of the most important metrics you should be tracking.
Email forwarding is very rare in email marketing, but it helps you measure the level of engagement and whether your content has a share-worthy quality.
Just like forwarding, social shares are also a good indicator of your content’s quality. That’s why you should make it easy for the recipients to share your content by adding social buttons to your emails.
Why email sharing and forwarding are essential to track
Your sharing rates can give you an idea about which types of articles and offers tend to get shared most by your recipients. Use this critical insight to your advantage when planning your future email campaigns.
Unsubscribe rate is the percentage of your email recipients who unsubscribed from your email list after opening your email.
The unsubscribe rate, just like your open rate, is not reliable in terms of showing your email list’s health. Most of the recipients who don’t want to see your emails anymore won’t even bother to unsubscribe.
They simply ignore your messages altogether. That’s why it's much more practical and effective to measure your email list’s health with CTR and conversion rates. At some point, you may remove the unengaged recipients from your list and clean your email list.
Aside from tracking your unsubscribe rates, you should also keep an eye on the spam complaints because people often report spam instead of unsubscribing.
Watch the number of spam complaints, especially if you have made a change.
If both unsubscribe rates and spam complaints are high, then this must tell you something.
The top 10 email marketing metrics and KPIs above are the essential ones every marketer should track. How to know which email marketing metrics to track based on your goal? Determine what you want to achieve through sending emails.
Consider that your goals might differ from another company like yours. An email marketing metric should:
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What is your favorite email marketing metric? Tell us in the comments below!