10 Top Email Marketing Metrics To Track

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Email marketing is one of the most powerful and consistent weapons available for your digital marketing arsenal. Year in and year out it provides some of the highest returns on investment in the industry. You can almost set your watch to a minimum of a 20% open rate and a 2% click-through rate with a low cost. With the right expertise easily double or triple those numbers. 

These days email marketing is taken for granted by a lot of companies. It's ignored for the newer and flashier mediums such as social media and mobile apps. But there's one truth that can't be debated: nearly everyone has an email address and they need to check it regularly.  

Email marketing is a valuable tool for bloggers, ecommerce sites, marketers and pretty much any other business owner under the sun. There are countless high-quality email marketing platforms that cost little to nothing depending on your subscriber count. Anyone can start building an email list and putting together e-newsletters or promotional blasts. The right email campaign could end up generating thousands of dollars or more and change the trajectory of a business. 

So how do you track the email marketing results that matter most to your business? How do you know that your email advertising is getting the results your company needs? What is the ROI of your campaigns?

With so many different aspects of email analytics to consider, it can be tough to know which numbers really matter. To help make things simpler, we have gathered 10 top metrics every email marketer needs to track. 

1. Open rate 

Open rate has long been one of the simplest, and most universally used metrics by email marketers. Tracking the percentage of subscribers who open a specific email, open rate gives us insight into how engaged our subscribers are, as well as how effective different subject lines are. That said, when Mail Privacy Protection is made publicly available by Apple, the feature will effectively disable open-tracking for users who opt in to using it, making open rate a relatively unreliable metric. And with more inbox providers set to follow suit, open rate will only become more and more unreliable.

2. Click-through rate (CTR) 

CTR is another common metric that can help you determine how well your campaigns are performing. CTR measures how many people clicked on the links in your email. For example, if you included a link to redeem an offer, the CTR would measure what percentage of subscribers clicked on your links. When crafting an email, there are a few ways to increase click-through rates. For instance, include links throughout the email in appropriate places and add an eye-catching and conspicuous call-to-action button that subscribers can click on to redeem your offer. Click-through rates are typically much lower than open rates. The average click-through rate for most campaigns is slightly over 2%.

3. Conversion rate 

Your click-through rate measures how many people clicked your link, while your conversion rate will assess how many people clicked on the link and then completed a specific call-to-action (CTA). 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. Conversion rates give you unique insight into your return on investment. When you know how much you have spent and how many subscribers are converting, it’s easier to determine whether or not the money you are putting into your campaign is paying off. 

4. Bounce rate 

When sending an email campaign, you also want to track the bounce rate. Bounce rate measures how many subscriber email addresses didn’t receive your email. Soft bounces track temporary problems with email addresses and hard bounces track permanent problems with email addresses. Measuring bounce rates against open rates will give you a more solid idea of the quality of your subscriber lists. If you have a high percentage of hard bounces, your list may be full of fake email addresses, old email addresses, or addresses with mistakes in them. You can preemptively decrease your bounce rates by requiring a double opt-in, which asks subscribers to verify their email address and confirm that they want to receive emails from your brand. A double opt-in requirement is a great option to help ensure higher quality email lists and lower bounce rates. 

5. Number of unsubscribers 

Measuring unsubscribes is very simple. Any email provider will tell you how many people unsubscribed upon receiving an email from you. This email metric can usually be found in your main dashboard or your metrics dashboard. A high number of unsubscribes can be discouraging. However, email marketers prioritize this email marketing metric and often view unsubscribes as a good thing because they indicate that you are fine-tuning your subscriber list. Additionally, clearly giving subscribers the opportunity to unsubscribe lets them know they have a choice as to what kind of content they will receive from your brand and when, which helps to build trust. 

6. List growth rate 

List growth rate is the metric to track the rate at which your list is growing. You can calculate this by taking the number of new subscribers minus the number of unsubscribes, then divide that by the total number of email addresses on your list, and then multiply it by 100. It’s natural to experience some attrition, so focus on ways to continually grow your list, engage subscribers, and find new loyal subscribers. 

7. Spam complaints 

It can be very discouraging for your emails to get marked as spam. You may prefer to ignore these instances but it’s important to pay attention to spam complaints. Email service providers want to ensure quality and track spam complaints. If this rate gets too high, it’s possible your email service provider will take action against you and block your account. Your email service provider will likely track this number for you, but you may want to keep an eye on it yourself to make sure that nothing is technically wrong with your emails and that your copywriting meets your desired standards. Avoiding spam filters is an important part of maximizing the opens, clicks, and conversions you get from your email campaigns. 

8. Forwarding rate and email sharing 

Forwarding rate/email sharing measures the percentage of recipients who either shared your post via social media or forwarded it to a friend. Forwarding rate or sharing is a helpful metric to track because it gives you an idea of how many brand advocates you have. It tells you what percentage of subscribers are recommending your emails to others. Developing brand advocates through email marketing is a great strategy, especially considering 81% of consumer’s purchasing decisions are influenced by friends’ social media posts. 

9. Engagement over time 

Tracking engagement over time will give you information on the best times of day to send messages. You can utilize automation in your email service provider to send emails based on customer behavior or trigger, but tracking engagement over time will tell you when you get the highest click rates for emails that are not automated. Over time most email lists that aren't updated, segmented, cleaned up, and grown tend to decline each year. So make sure you master maintenance to keep your email marketing list effective.

10. Overall ROI 

Overall ROI is an email metric every marketer should track. It tells you the overall return on investment for your campaigns. You can calculate this by taking the money you made in sales from the campaign minus the money you spent to execute the campaign, divide that by the money invested in the campaign, and then multiply that by 100.

Email Excellence

Email marketing can be an investment but it also has the highest ROI out of any digital marketing strategy. Keep those emails coming and excelling!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about the top email marketing metrics that all digital marketers should master.

Interested in more articles about email marketing strategy?

Read Related Resources:

How Email Marketing Can Level The Playing Field

The Top Email Marketing Platforms To Consider Using

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