8 Key Email Metrics You Should Be Tracking

Avatar for Nikita Kukreja Nikita Kukreja
Avatar for Nikita Kukreja Nikita Kukreja

September 10, 2021

7 min read

8 Key Email Metrics You Should Be Tracking

There is a lot to plan when it comes to crafting a robust email marketing strategy for your company, but what is the point of it all if you are not tracking key email metrics?

Email marketing is a valuable resource in your digital marketing tool belt, but it takes time to master, by overcoming common mistakes and optimizing emails for improved engagement.

However, it doesn’t matter how perfect your email campaign is if you can’t see the results of your efforts. You need to make sure that you are tracking key email metrics, and that your efforts are helping further your goals.

Email metrics to track

So, where to start? Before sending off your next campaign, spend time thinking over and defining your goals – your overall goal and also for each campaign.

Each campaign can serve a different purpose, but to measure its success, you will have to define its goals.

Once you have done that, you can track email metrics that are relevant to a specific campaign. Read on to find out more about the essential ones.

1. Open Rate

This one is probably the most talked about and for the right reasons. Open rate is the number of recipients that opened your email, as a percentage of the total emails sent.

This is a vital email metric because it gives you an indication of how well your campaign is doing. The bottom line is: if the emails are not opened, they are not going to be read.

Most email campaigns have an average open rate of approximately 22.3% in the retail and e-commerce sector. How do you compare? If you have open rates higher than the number given above, you know you’re doing something right!

However, if you feel like you need some improvement, don’t fret – read this article on 11 ways you can improve your email marketing open rates.

While open rate is an important KPI, please keep in mind that it won’t give you a precise picture of your campaign performance on its own. You need to measure it along with other email metrics such as clickthrough rate (more on it below).

Keep in mind the open rate can sometimes be a misleading metric. An email is only counted as “opened” if the recipient also receives the images embedded in that message. Many users are likely to have image-blocking enabled which means that they won’t be included in your open rate, making it inaccurate.

2. Clickthrough rate

Clickthrough rate (CTR) is another common metric that will help you gauge how well your email campaign is performing.

CTR is the percentage of people that click on the links in your emails. For example, if your email had a promotional offer, your CTR would measure how many people click on “Redeem Your Offer”.

In order to improve your CTR, craft an eye-catching call-to-action, and don’t hesitate to place it more than once if your email is long.

You can try multiple call-to-actions in different places in the email, and can then perform A/B tests to see which version of your email gets higher clicks.

CTR is one of the most important email metrics as it tells you how many of your recipients are engaging with your content and offers. Clickthrough rates are typically lower than open rates, and average at 2.5 – 4%.

Measuring email success will always matter when determining areas of improvement for future campaigns. Consider using CTR in combination with your other email metrics (e.g. open rate, conversion rate, etc.) for best results.

3. Conversion rate

Your email marketing conversion rate is the percentage of subscribers who complete an action after reading your email. This is an important metric for most marketers, as it shows how effective your email marketing is and determines your return on investment (ROI).

For example, if you included a link in your email for your subscribers to participate in a Black Friday sale, the conversion rate would tell you what percentage of the people who clicked the link made a purchase.

The conversion rate can sometimes be confused with the clickthrough rate. But you must be careful because they are actually very different. While CTR measures how many leads clicked on the link in your email, conversion rate measures how many of them closed a deal.

Even though every email won’t lead to sales, you’ll still have goals and conversions to measure. It’s important to remember that while you will have a goal for every email you send, every email should deliver direct value to your subscribers.

4. Bounce Rate

Let’s say you sent an email campaign to 100 users, but only 83 received them. It means that the other 17 returned to your inbox with a message that the email cannot be sent.

There are several reasons why this might happen. To identify them, you should firstly know your bounce rate: the percentage of sent emails that are returning to your inbox. In our example above, the bounce rate would be 17%.

Measuring your bounce rate and comparing it with the open rate will give you a good idea of the quality of your mailing list.

Your bounce rate will be affected by deleted email addresses, people who switched companies, or full inboxes. For that reason, you should keep your mailing list clean, or your bounce rate will rise and your email reputation will fall. A low email reputation will put you in the sights of the spam filter, which creates a cycle of non-engagement.

That is why using an email verification tool is essential to identify these cases. Read our post about ‘signs you should be using an email checker’ to find out more.

There are 2 types of bounces – hard and soft. Hard bounces are permanent delivery failures and soft bounces are temporary. There are different reasons why soft bounces occur, but by maintaining list hygiene and only collecting emails through opt-in methods, these can be avoided.

A bounce rate of 2% average is the industry standard, so if your rate is higher you know you need to re-evaluate your strategy.

5. Unsubscribe Rate

This is one of the key email metrics and it is a number that no marketer should overlook.

Ideally, you would like your unsubscribe rate to be 0, but as we know, not everything is perfect. Don’t take it personally and remember to track how many people unsubscribe from your email list.

Do not despair if your unsubscribe rate is high. Many experts believe that a high rate allows you to optimize your mailing list, leaving only interested people in your company.

However, be careful! A high unsubscribe rate may also indicate that your messages are not being appreciated by your audience or that they are no longer relevant to them.

That is why we recommend placing a quick survey on the ‘unsubscribe’ page so that users can inform you why they are leaving your mailing list. For example, this can include things like if the emails sent were too frequent or not (you’ve probably replied to one of these surveys yourself!).

6. List the growth rate

List growth rate (as the name suggests) is an email metric that tracks your mailing list’s growth. You can calculate it by taking the number of new users, subtracting the number of unsubscribes, dividing by the total number of email addresses in your list, and finally multiplying by 100.

It is normal to experience some wear (and see your list shrink at certain times), so focus on ways to grow your list organically and find new loyal subscribers who will stay with you no matter what.

Believe it or not, there’s a natural decay of your email marketing list, and it expires by about 2% every month – which means that it’s more important than ever to pay attention to growing your subscriber list and keeping it at a healthy size.

7. Spam complaints

It can be very discouraging for your emails to get marked as spam. You may prefer to ignore these but it is important to pay attention to spam complaints.

Your spam complaints have a direct impact on your sender reputation. In other words, the more complaints, the worse your reputation with ESPs will be, which means that your messages will not reach those who should receive them.

Usually, your email server tracks this email marketing metric. However, you will want to monitor it closely to avoid it being too late to take corrective action.

A good way to avoid your emails being marked as spam is to make sure you have an ‘unsubscribe’ button on your emails.

8. Overall ROI

Overall ROI is arguably the most important metric since it provides you with an assessment of whether your time and money have been “worth it”.

You can calculate this in the following way: [($ in additional sales made minus $ invested in the campaign) ÷ $ invested in the campaign] * 100.

Any positive ROI is a good sign for your campaign, but overall, you want to be trending upward (and the higher this climbs, the better).

Email marketing can be an investment but it also has the highest ROI out of any digital marketing strategy – a very satisfying $42 for every $1 spent. If you’re not quite there yet, consider setting up a lead scoring system to identify and nurture your highest quality leads.

It’s probably a good idea to take a closer look at your other email metrics too, as they’ll give you some insight into your weaker areas.

Impact of email verification on email metrics

Email verification allows you to have better campaign performance and efficiency. How, you ask?

Bounce rates, open rates, unsubscribe rates, click-through rates etc. give marketers insight as to how people react to and engage with their emails. Monitoring these email metrics over time reveals trends in audience activity and engagement.

Your post-campaign analysis may not give you a correct picture if you did not validate your lists, to begin with.

For example, your bounce rate might be higher, whereas your open and click-through rates are bound to be lower. Having a list with only genuine contacts ensures that your email metrics give you a true picture of your email campaign results.

Try our email checker for free (if you haven’t already), and see this for yourself!

Wrapping up

Now you know the 8 key email metrics, and why they are important. Keep in mind that not every metric will be relevant to every campaign, but it is always good to have these at hand.

Email remains the most powerful communication medium in today’s business world, and learning how to master it by scrutinizing the most important email metrics is a good strategy for success.

If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch!

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