Email Metrics that Matter

December 18th, 2009 | By Adam Holden-Bache | No Comments


“What is the average open rate for an email campaign? What is it in my industry? Is an 8% click rate good?”

The answer to every one of these questions is: “It doesn’t really matter.”

How well your competition is doing or the number of clicks someone else’s campaign generates are not the main indicators of success, not by a long shot. In the end, the only thing that really matters is business results: whether or not your campaign helps your business succeed. That can be measured in several ways, with the most common being:

  • Conversions (sales, leads, opt-ins, downloads, etc)
  • Page views (for advertising-based web sites)
  • Advocacy (reduced churn)
  • Awareness (exposing readers to additional products or services)


Perhaps the most overlooked metric in an email campaign is conversions. How many of you are tracking emails to conversions? How many track incremental sales? Probably fewer than those who track opens and clicks. Opens and clicks offer valuable insight into campaign content, but they don’t equate to business success.

Tracking conversions is usually a painless process. Set up the conversion you want to track, add a snippet of code to your web site and you’re ready to go. Once you add conversion tracking, you’ll open a new world of ways to analyze your campaign and determine success.

Clicks and Opens

Clicks and opens are good indicators of campaign response, but in most cases they don’t allow you to understand overall success. One click that leads to a conversion is better than an 80% click through rate if no one converts. So be careful how you measure success.

Use open and click metrics to help you see which parts of your campaign readers found useful. An increase in open rate may show you that you have a quality subject line or that you picked a good time to deliver your message. High click rates will show you what content or offers recipients found most valuable. These can all lead to conversions, but using this data on its own doesn’t provide much value to the overall success of your campaign.

Other metrics that matter:

  • Unsubscribes. A high number of unsubscribes shows that you hit a nerve. Most people unsubscribe because the content isn’t relevant to them. Are you giving your readers content they find interesting and information they can use?
  • Forwards and social media sharing. If you see a lot of forwarding or clicks on your social media sharing links, you’ll know you provided content that people wanted to tell others about. That can lead to additional exposure, awareness and ultimately, conversions.
  • Bouncebacks. Unclean lists can lead to hard bounces, and too many (or too high a percentage) of hard bounces can lead to deliverability issues. Keep an eye on your bounces, and clean your lists frequently to ensure the best possibility of reaching the inbox.

How do you measure the success of your campaigns? Are there additional metrics that matter to you? Leave a comment and let us know!

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Email Transmit Info Center – Email Marketing Blog is proudly powered by WordPress | Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).