Denise Chan


Ask us what of the biggest trend in email marketing is, and we probably won’t name a piece of software or describe a type of campaign. We’ll talk about metrics. Most digital marketers these days approach email scientifically — measuring the success of their email campaigns through numbers. But there are endless ways to slice this data. The question often arises: …Am I collecting the right numbers and how do you read them correctly?“

Flight School Friday- Email Marketing KPIs you should be measuring


Truth is, there is no one size fits all solution to measuring data. Before diving into the numbers, take a step back to review your company’s business goals and your customers’ needs. This top down approach will help you get better clarity on what type of content to produce and how to measure success. For example, if your goal is exposure, you may want to measure shares, if you’re working on deliverability, you’ll want to track open rate and bounce rate.

The metrics you end up narrowing down as important to measuring business performance are called KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Here are some common KPIs to get you started:

Open Rate

Total Number of Opens/Total Number of Emails Sent
Goal: High Open Rate

The open rate gives a good indication of how effective your subject line was. Adding a call to action, numbers or personalization to your subject line can entice customers to open your email. Test subject line length across multiple ISPs (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail) and across devices (web, mobile, tablet)

Click-through Rate (CTR)

Total Number of Click-Throughs/ Total Number of Opens
Goal: High Click-through Rate

Click-through rate gives a better picture of how engaged customers are with your email creative. This is directly tied to the open rate because the more customers that open your email, the more that trickle down to click through your creative and visit your site. Be sure the email body is consistent with what was promoted in the subject line. It’s also important to keep mobile users in mind here. 38% of all emails are opened on a mobile device, which means a majority of readers are looking for mobile responsive designs.

Bounce Rate

% of Email Addresses on your Contact List That Did Not Receive The Email
Goal: Below 5%

You actually want to keep the percentage low for this KPI. A high bounce rate can put you at risk of being flagged as spam or blacklisted. Industry standards recommend keeping your bounce rate at below 5%. If you do find yourself with a high bounce rate, clean your contact list of inactive email addresses — contacts who have not clicked or opened emails in the past few months.

Revenue Per Email (RPE)
Total Revenue/(Total Number of Emails Sent – Number of Bounces)
Goal: High RPE

The most straightforward of the bunch, RPE helps us determine which type of campaign drives more revenue and how email as a channel compares to other marketing vehicles. We recommend using Google Analytics to keep track of where your revenue is coming from. Track RPE across individual email sends, audience and/or on a monthly basis.


# of Contacts That Unsubscribe From Your Contact List
Goal: Less Than 1%

While it’s rewarding to see the number of new subscribers climb, unsubscribes tell us about what type of content to stay away from. Having a high number of unsubscribes can put you at risk of being flagged as a spammer. Generally speaking, you’d like to keep your unsubscribe rate below 0.5%. Remember to test the frequency of your email sends to find the optimal cadence to communicate with customers.

Always Benchmark & Continue to Test

Remember that KPIs can change over time as you gain more insight into customer behavior and as your business grows. Keep an open mind when analyzing your email data and allow for this change. Benchmark against past sends and set goals to break your open-rate and click through rate records. Looking up the average email KPIs for your industry can also be a great resource. Above all, keep testing new subject lines, new creative templates and different ways to integrate email.

How does your company define success? What KPIs do you track and how do you adjust your goals over time? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

[ Posted Fri, 11 Jul 2014 16:24:36 ]