Executing an email marketing campaign without tracking KPIs is like driving a car with a flat tire. It won’t get you anywhere. You won’t know where to improve if you don’t track the metrics. Monitoring the email marketing KPIs will let you know how your emails perform. Then, you can optimize your email campaigns based on these figures.
So, let’s highlight essential email marketing metrics that every marketer should track.
1. Open Rate
The percentage of subscribers who open an email is called the open rate.
Open rate is the gateway to click-throughs and conversions. It’s the first thing email marketers think about after sending an email marketing campaign.
But, most email marketing software consider an email ‘opened’ only if the user downloads the images. If email recipients have disabled images on their email client, it won’t be recorded as an open or included in the opens. So you won’t get an accurate result. Also, as Apple has introduced Mail Privacy Protection (MPP), users can hide their personal information. Marketers use invisible pixels to track the opens, the device used to access the email, and its location. But with MPP, Apple Mail preloads these tracking pixels for all recipients, including those who didn’t open the email. As a result, open rate tracking is inaccurate for Apple users.
Look at how the open rate is displayed in an email analytics dashboard.
Open rate is valuable for comparing email marketing campaigns. Compare the open rate of emails sent in the previous week, and this week will give you a direction on trends and how your email subject line and topics drive interest.
Writing compelling subject lines is the best way to boost open rates. It also helps to use a recognizable sender name and optimize the preview text.
2. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Click-through rate is the percentage of subscribers who clicked on the email links.
Click through rate = (Total clicks or unique clicks/Number of delivered emails) x 100
For example: If you have sent emails to 10,000 subscribers with 100 unique clicks, the click-through rate is 1%.
(100/10000 x 100)
Your email analytics dashboard will look something like this in HubSpot. It gives you all details into total clicks, unique clicks, and the devices used to access these emails.
You can either use total clicks or unique clicks to calculate this metric. But follow the same rule each time.
Your click-through rate is directly correlated to subscriber engagement.
You can increase the click-through rate by following the steps below:
- Segment your subscribers.
- Personalize your email messages and send relevant content.
- Add attractive visuals to promote your products.
- Include a CTA.
- Optimize your emails for all email clients and devices.
3. Conversion Rate
Conversion rate is the percentage of email recipients who take action after clicking on an email link. If your email campaign aims to get webinar registrations, the conversion rate is the percentage of registrants out of all emails delivered.
Conversion rate = (Number of people who completed the desired action / Number of emails delivered) * 100
For example: Suppose you sent an email to 1000 subscribers. If 100 people took action, the conversion rate is 10%. (100/1000) * 100
Create UTM codes for every email link to track accurate conversion rates. Use Google’s Campaign URL Builder tool to add campaign parameters (UTMs) to the URLs. It will let you track them through Google Analytics.
You can increase the conversion rate by:
- Setting the right expectations
- Writing persuasive copy
- Using the power of storytelling
- Delivering value through emails
Let me share an example with you. Dean Jackson’s nine-word formula works wonders for your re-engagement email. He asserted that you need two things to write an engaging email.
i. An email subject line with the recipient’s name
ii. Email body with a one-line question
4. Click to Open Rate
Click to open rate (CTOR) represents the number of subscribers who clicked an email link out of those who opened it. This metric gives you a clear picture of the email’s performance. It’s a valuable email marketing KPI as it helps you understand how your emails perform for those who open them.
5. List Growth Rate
List growth rate is the number of new subscribers you get subtracted by the subscribers you lose.
List growth rate = ([(number of new subscribers) – (number of unsubscribes + email/spam complaints)] / total number of email addresses on your list]) * 100
Suppose you get 10 new subscribers with 2 unsubscribes or spam complaints. You have 8000 email addresses on the list. So, the list growth rate will be 0.1%.
Keep close tabs on the list growth rate as it determines how your email audience grows. Track the number of leads through the marketing channels you use. For example, social media, SEO, PPC, and website landing pages.
Follow these three tips to optimize the list growth rate.
- Build short sign-up forms with only necessary fields.
- Create exciting landing pages that leave an impact on the reader’s mind.
- Incentivize the subscribers with an attractive offer.
Related Read: 101 Ways To Grow Your Email List Today
6. Bounce Rate (Hard and Soft)
Bounce rate is the percentage of emails that don’t get delivered to the recipient’s inbox.
Bounce rate = (Total number of bounced emails/Number of emails sent)* 100
If you send 1000 emails and 10 emails bounce, the bounce rate is 1%.
There are two types of bounces: hard bounces and soft bounces.
Hard bounces result from sending emails to non-existent or invalid email addresses. If a user mistypes their email address, it falls under hard bounce. Soft bounces suggest a temporary inability to deliver the emails because of full inbox or server-related issues.
Almost all the popular Email Service Providers remove the hard bounces automatically. They will try to resend the email to the soft bounces. If it still fails to be delivered, it will be treated as a hard bounce.
You must clean your email list often to maintain a low bounce rate.
- Use a double opt-in method to gather email addresses.
See how Udacity sends a confirmation email as a part of their double opt-in method.
- Clean the email lists at regular intervals.
- Re-engage the dormant leads and remove them if they still don’t engage.
7. Deliverability Rate
Email deliverability is the rate of how many emails get delivered to a subscriber’s inbox out of all emails sent. It can also be considered as the inbox placement rate.
Email delivery rate = Number of emails delivered / Number of emails sent
It will not cover the emails sent to the spam folder.
When the email servers accept your emails, you’ll have a good delivery rate.
8. Email Forwarding Rate
The percentage of email recipients who click on the “Forward to a friend” link in email is the email forwarding rate.
Email forwarding rate = (Number of clicks on a share or forward button/ Number of total emails delivered) * 100
If you have received 10 clicks on the forward or share button and 1000 emails are delivered, your email forwarding rate is 1%.
Include a “Share this” or “Forward to a friend” link in the marketing emails if you want to track this metric. It indirectly contributes to the list growth rate. The higher your email forwarding rate, the better your email list growth.
Make your emails visually appealing to enhance the email forwarding rate. And you can also incorporate gamification and interactive elements to boost this email marketing metric.
9. Unsubscribe Rate
The percentage of people who opt out of your emails is called the unsubscribe rate. This number reflects the users who’re not interested in getting your emails. On the surface, it looks like a sad thing. But if you think about it, unsubscribes are good for your email marketing campaigns.
If you sent an email to 900 people and 3 unsubscribed, your unsubscribe rate is 0.33%.
Take a look at this screenshot showing all the critical metrics, including unsubscribe rate.
Let the users set their preferences, making them less likely to unsubscribe. Also, send tailor-made content rather than generic blast emails. Too many unnecessary email campaigns can lead to unsubscribes.
10. Spam Complaints
The percentage of people who mark your email as spam is called the spam complaint rate. It’s the biggest nightmare for any email marketer. Spam complaints hamper the sender reputation, email deliverability, and overall performance of the email campaigns.
This is what the report on spam complaints looks like:
To keep the spam complaints under check, you must:
- Conform to the anti-spam guidelines like CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and CCPA.
- Always include an unsubscribe link in the emails.
- Follow email authentication protocols like DMARC, SPF, and DKIM.
Final Thoughts on Tracking Email KPIs
Email analytics involves careful tracking of key performance indicators like click-to-open, conversion, bounce, and list growth rates.
Here’s a curation of the tips to keep these metrics at optimum rate:
- Write short, engaging subject lines.
- Personalize the email copy to deliver maximum value to the readers.
- Make the emails visually aesthetic.
- Include an actionable call to action button that stands out.
- Use a double opt-in to build email lists
- Clean the lists regularly.
- Add an unsubscribe link in the email footer.
- Focus on lead generation efforts to get a steady flow of quality subscribers.
FAQs on Email Marketing KPIs
What are KPIs in email marketing?
KPIs in email marketing refer to metrics that help measure email campaign performance. How many people opened your email, clicked through the CTA, and how many converted — All these insights are included in email marketing KPIs.
How do you measure success in email marketing?
Email marketing is successful when you achieve the goal you have set for the campaign. Your event registration email is successful if it manages to get registrants for the event.
What metrics should you track for email marketing?
As a best practice, you must track open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, bounce rate, and unsubscribes. The rest of the metrics are somewhat secondary to judging email performance.
How do you measure engagement in email?
Clicks are the best representation of email engagement. If an email gets a higher click-through rate, it is said to have a high engagement rate.
Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, a fast-growing custom email design, and coding company. They craft professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion, free responsive email templates, email automation, campaign management, data integration, and migration services. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.