Understanding Email Metrics

Understanding Email Metrics

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to get the word out about your company’s products and services. In fact, among Stitchcraft clients, email newsletters are the number one tool for return on investment for business to consumer (B2C) clients. To ensure your email campaigns are successful, you need to understand basic metrics. When you interpret the metrics properly, you will understand which aspects of your campaign are working and which aspects will need to be retooled. Understanding email metrics is not necessarily intuitive. We hope our post will help you identify the most important email metrics to focus on and understand exactly what your data is telling you.

Understanding Click through Rate

One of the most important metrics is the clickthrough rate (also referred to as CTR). Simply put, the clickthrough rate is the percentage of people who received the email who not only opened it up but also clicked on at least one link contained in the message. You can determine the clickthrough rate of any given email by dividing the total number of clicks by the total number of delivered emails. Clickthrough rate is a great statistic to know because it allows you to determine the performance of every email you send. If you’re using a program like Constant Contact or MailChimp to send your newsletter, your clickthrough rate is already measured for you!

Understanding Conversion Rate

Another important metric to use to help you determine the success of an email campaign is the conversion rate. The conversion rate indicates the number of people who not only clicked on a link embedded in the email but also took the desired action, such as filling in a form or opting-in to receiving a newsletter. Conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of people who completed the desired action by the total number of emails that were successfully delivered and multiplying that total by 100. Keep in mind that the action you request the recipients to take should be reflected in the email’s call-to-action, which, in turn, should be in direct correlation to the overall goal of your marketing campaign.

Understanding Bounce Rate

The bounce rate of an email marketing campaign is simply the percentage of emails that were sent out that did not successfully reach the intended recipient’s mailbox for any reason. You can calculate this number by taking the number of bounced emails divided by the total number of emails sent and then multiplying the result by 100. You can separate the bounced emails into two categories. Soft bounces are emails that were not received because of a temporary problem like a bad email address or server problem. Hard bounces are emails that were not received because of a permanent problem like closed, invalid or otherwise non-existent email addresses.  

Make it a regular habit to clean out all hard-bounced email addresses from your list so the issue does not persist. Companies like Constant Contact and MailChimp do look into clients with large bounce rates and may place restrictions on your account because they think you’re spamming your network. You’re also paying for names on the list with services like Mailchimp, so you’ll save money with a clean list.

Understanding Growth Rate

The growth rate of an email marketing campaign lets you know the rate at which your email list is growing. You can calculate growth rate by subtracting the number of unsubscribes and spam complaints from the number of new subscribers and dividing that number by the total number of emails on your list and multiplying that total by 100. Although you do want your growth rate to increase, it is natural for it to decrease at times. But, always make sure you are working at expanding your email list to keep it at a healthy number.

With Stitchcraft clients, we typically see attrition (or churn) rates of around 5%-7%.

Not all email metrics are created equal. If the metrics we have already discussed are the most important ones to study, the following are the few that are the least necessary to track:

Open Rate

The open rate for an email marketing campaign is the percentage of recipients who open an email. Unfortunately, the open rate can be a misleading statistic. For example, for an email to be considered “opened” the recipient needs to have received the embedded images that were included and many recipients have image-blocking enabled on their email systems. So, those emails will never count as being opened. Although it is important to have a strong subject line that will entice people to open the emails you send, it is far more important to track your click through rate.

Unsubscribe Rate

The unsubscribe rate is another unreliable statistic that you do not need to pay close attention to. Often, people tire of receiving emails from a particular company, but do not want to bother officially unsubscribing. Instead, they opt to simply not open emails they receive. So, your unsubscribe rate is not a true measure of people who are not interested in receiving your emails any longer. A better option is to be on the lookout for unengaged subscribers.  

If you’re interested in starting an email campaign, or evaluating your current campaign’s email metrics and making improvements for the future, please contact Leanne to get started today!

Leanne Pressly
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