Key email marketing KPIs have evolved over the years.
In this post we list the most important email marketing KPIs, that will help you measure the success of your email marketing campaigns.
No matter what business you are in or what type of products/services you sell, you can always use email to bump up those sales numbers.
In order to find out why an email marketing campaign worked or bombed, you need to analyze it from all angles. Which means no single metric can give you a clear idea.
It’s vital that you…
- Choose the metrics that help you appropriately gauge the performance of your campaign.
- Measure a set of metrics and ensure that you maintain real balance.
The good news is – it’s easy to track email marketing KPIs since most email marketing platforms offer a host of data that will help you gauge the efficiency of your email campaigns.
Your task is to find those email marketing KPIs that suit best your email marketing goals and to keep an eye on them.
Here’s the basic funnel of email marketing KPIs:
As soon as an email is deployed, recipients start to open and click.
Within a few days, there’s much data to look at to determine what worked, what didn’t, and what to try next.
It probably won’t surprise you that email marketing is among the best marketing techniques to increase sales.
In fact, 60% of marketers say that email marketing is producing an ROI for their organization, and 32% of marketers say that email marketing will produce an ROI for their organization.
Other reports even indicate that email marketing can yield $44 for every $1 spent.
Top 7 Email Marketing KPIs
To help you figure what you should be measuring and your email marketing strategy is converting into sales, here’s a list of key performance indicators (KPIs) for email marketing.
1. Email Delivery Rate
Email delivery rate is calculated by dividing the number of emails sent minus bounces by the number of emails sent.
Deliverability is a measurement of whether your email campaigns actually get into your subscribers’ inboxes.
This reveals much abut the quality of your email address list and the effectiveness of how your accrued these email addresses in the first place.
The success of an email-marketing program is highly dependent on email deliverability.
After all, people can’t respond to your campaigns if they never receive your emails.
Deliverability is a measurement of whether your email campaigns actually get into your subscribers’ inboxes.
And because gateway servers don’t let senders know if their emails are blocked by spam filters or sent to spam folders, it’s more difficult to get an accurate measurement of your email deliverability.
High email deliverability is important, but getting those delivered emails to appear in the inbox is imperative.
Your delivery rate should be 95% or more.
Email messages that go to spam or junk or folders are still classed a successfully delivered.
2. Open Rate
Email open rate is the percentage of the total number of subscribers who opened an email campaign.
These rates can vary depending on the subject line and the relevancy of the subject matter for subscribers, but a healthy open rate is typically in the 20-40% range.
Email open rate is a measure which indicates a percentage of opened emails for a certain email marketing campaign.
Email open rate usually shows how well you were able to catch subscriber’s attention with the subject line or whether your emails reached the inbox or went to the spam folder.
The open rate still serves as the principal metric for email marketing.
An “open” occurs when a recipient receives the email and a 1×1 pixel image is downloaded with the body.
Email open rate can be tracked with a help of a transparent 1×1 pixel hidden in every email. The formula to calculate email open rate is
Open rate = unique opens/(sent emails – bounced emails)
If an email open rate is low, it’s a wake-up call. Imagine an email marketing campaign as a funnel.
Obviously, the last and the most desired action in email marketing (usually it’s a click-through) won’t be taken by the recipients unless they open the email and then read it to the end.
If your email open rate is unusually low, you may have failed to catch subscriber’s attention with your subject line or haven’t defined the right time for your email.
The open rate can be misleading.
Not all individuals that open an email will download images.
Moreover, the image download may not be captured if it is lower in the content. Thus reported open rates are likely lower than the actual.
Despite this, the open rate is a reliable indicator of how many people viewed an email message.
It helps marketers understand whether subscribers are engaged.
It also indicates the effectiveness of the subject line, preheader, and from line to collectively prompt the recipient to open.
In my experience, average open rates vary dramatically by industry and brand.
The single biggest factor is the makeup of the audience.
For example, a 10 percent open rate from 500,000 total subscribers might be impressive.
Conversely, a 10 percent open rate from individuals who have purchased in the last three months is likely not impressive — it often exceeds 20 percent.
To sum up, you don’t need to consider email open rate as the main criteria of email campaign success, but if your email open rate suddenly gets low, it indicates that something has gone wrong and it’s time to take action.
Conversely, if it jumps higher then usual, it means you are on the right track.
3. Click-to-open Rate (CTOR)
The click to open rate(CTOR) compares the number of unique clicks and unique opens.
This number indicates how effective the email message performed and if it created a level of interest by the recipient to click-through to learn more about the content within the email.
There are different methods to calculate a click-through rate.
The first option is to divide the number of people clicking by the number of emails delivered.
The second is to divide the number of people clicking by the number of people who open.
Because it’s based on the number of unique opens, CTOR is a good indicator of how interesting your content is to your subscribers.
If your links, layout, copy, and overall content are interesting, then your readers will want to click through to learn more.
This second approach is the ‘”click-to-open” rate. It’s the better metric when determining the effectiveness of an email. It tells us whether:
- The creative content is engaging,
- The call-to-action is effective,
- The email is easy to understand and respond to.
In other words, the click-to-open rate could identify areas of the email that need work.
4. Click-through Rate (CTR)
Click-through rate is the measure of how many people clicked on a hyperlink, CTA or image within a particular email.
Divide the amount of clicks on links within your emails with the number of emails delivered, then times by 100 and you have a click-through rate percentage.
If it’s high than it means your content is working and you have strong calls-to-action.
Click-through rate is important because it helps you measure how well your emails are performing, which calls to action are encouraging activity, and if your click-through rates are changing (for good or bad) based on your email marketing strategies
The click-through rates (CTRs) measure better the value of your email campaigns than the open rates.
Usually displayed as a percentage from the total email opens, the CTR measures what percentage of your readers clicked on the links in your email.
CTR is very important because you can instantly see what is the percentage of people who are really interested in what you say and want to find out more for you and your products.
CTR is also very helpful when conducting an A/B testing campaign for your calls to action.
If you monitor which products and offers your clients click on, you’ll get a better understanding of their preferences.
One thing that helps improving CTR is email personalization.
Make an email sound like it is written for the person reading it.
5. Conversion Rates
Email conversion rate, or email marketing conversion rate, is defined as: the percentage of subscribers who complete a goal action.
Conversion rate refers to the percentage of subscribers who either complete the desired action or become customers, depending on your conversion goal.
To compute your conversion rate, divide the number of signups or purchases by the total number of successful email deliveries. Then, multiply it by 100.
Conversion Rate (%) = # of signups or purchases / # of Successfully Delivered Emails X 100
Conversions tell how many of the subscribers that clicked-through followed through on your desired outcome.
This could include making a purchase, subscribing to an email list, downloading a report, sending a referral your way, registering for an online class, and more.
This is an important metric for most marketers, as it is an indicator of return on investment.
In many instances, the conversion goal is purchase-related, so it’s important to be able to directly correlate the success of email marketing efforts to a hard number (like the sales associated with the conversion rate.)
Best practices that can help you get a better email conversion rate:
- Optimize Your Emails For Mobile Devices
- No Jargons, please
- A/B Testing is a MUST
- Placing the Elements in The Right Place
- Create a Sales Funnel to Increase Email Conversion Rate
- Build Trust
- Use Auto-responders for Opt-ins
- Communicate Clearly
6. Bounce Rate
A bounce means your reader didn’t receive the information they wanted and you wanted them to see.
Bounce rate will tell you how many of your emails are not being successfully delivered.
Bounce Rate: The percentage of undelivered mail.
This can be split into two categories: Hard and Soft.
A hard bounce happens when an email address is wrong, these addresses should be removed immediately.
A soft bounce happens when there’s a temporary delivery problem. Perhaps an inbox is full, or a server is down.
Soft bounces are when an email isn’t delivered because of a temporary error like a recipient’s mailbox is full, a server problem or your email message is too large. Soft bounces are minor problems and most email service providers will automatically try to redeliver an email that registers as a soft bounce.
A hard bounce, on the other hand, is when an email isn’t delivered because of a permanent error. This could include something like the recipient’s email address doesn’t exist, the domain name isn’t real, or the server has blocked delivery.
An email could be bounced for many different reasons.
One of the most popular reasons is that your recipient no longer has that email account or it has been inactive for a long period of time and was deleted.
Alternatively, emails can be bounced if the email server is under construction, which is known to occur with email addresses attached to business or organizations.
Your email can also be bounced if the recipient puts you on a “blocked” list.
If you’re not keeping an eye on the bounce rate, you’d be missing out on the actual numbers of your email marketing campaign.
You must add it to your “must track” email marketing KPIs if you haven’t yet.
7. Unsubscribe Rate
Benjamin Franklin said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes.
Well in email marketing, there is only one: unsubscription.
Each time you send an email, you risk someone hitting the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom.
Maintaining benchmarks for individuals who unsubscribe could help to understand why.
For spikes in unsubscribes, analyze what was different for a particular campaign to cause the increase.
The goal is to keep unsubscribes as low as possible while allowing truly uninterested recipients to leave without issue.
Unsubscribes are a double-edged sword.
On one side, you have people unsubscribing which is never good for the ego.
On the other side, your list is doing a bit of self-cleaning.
But, you’ll always wonder if you could’ve saved some of those unsubscribers, won’t you?
Generally, an unsubscribe rate below 0.5% is a good unsubscribe rate for an email campaign.
A rate below 0.2% typically indicates that you are within the norm and a rate above 0.5% means you have some work to do.
Final Thoughts on Email Marketing KPIs
We hope that you learnt a lot understanding these important email marketing KPIs.
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