Email Marketing Key Performance Indicators

Email marketing is all about the numbers. It’s one of the most quantifiable channels of digital marketing, which is fantastic news for you and your business.

Unfortunately, if you aren’t sure how to approach all of the information available, it can seem like there are almost too many numbers, stats, and metrics available. You have to be able to cut through the fluff and keep your eye on the key performance indicators (KPIs) that really matter.

Call 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about email marketing plans from WebFX, or keep reading for 4 KPIs you should be tracking (and 2 to track with caution).

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KPIs that matter

Here are some of the most important KPIs for email marketing, how you measure them, and why you should care about them in the first place – in no specific order.

1. Conversion rate (CR)

You absolutely need to be tracking your conversion rate across all channels of your digital marketing efforts. Without an accurate conversion rate and proper attribution to specific marketing channels, you can only guess what works and what doesn’t.

In terms of email marketing, your conversion rate is the percentage of email recipients who opened your email, clicked on a link in your email, and finally completed whatever action you define as a conversion. It could be a sale, filling out a contact form, or any other end goal that affects your business.

In order to successfully distinguish between conversions via emails and conversions via your website or other marketing campaigns, you should implement unique URLs for all links in your emails. These tracking URLs allow you to quickly and easily identify the source of a conversion.

2. Clickthrough Rate (CTR)

A step before your CR, you also need to track your clickthrough rate.

The metric is a measurement of the percentage of your recipients that clicked on a link within a specific email. It’s one of the most referenced metrics in email marketing because it lets you quickly and easily compare performance across email blasts, between A/B tests, and so on.

Achieving and maintaining a solid CTR is pivotal in truly benefiting from an email marketing campaign.

3. Overall return on investment (ROI)

This metric provides a good, quick answer to the question “is my email campaign working?”.

To calculate ROI specifically for your email campaign, the general formula is: [($ sales attributed to email – $ invested in the email campaign) / $ invested in the email campaign] * 100.

If you’re not tracking the sales results of your email campaign but rather leads, signups, or downloads instead, you can still calculate your ROI. You just need to have an idea of what each lead, signup, or download is worth to you.

It’s important to contextualize ROI within your greater marketing strategy, and to use it in conjunction with other metrics to analyze your overall results.

4. Bounce rate

It’s critical to meticulously track your email bounce rate if you want your campaign to remain healthy and in good standing.

A bounce is simply the failed delivery of an email, and your bounce rate is the number of bounced emails divided by the total number of emails sent, multiplied by 100 to get the percentage.

There are two types of bounces: A true bounce and a soft bounce. A soft bounce tells you that a recipient’s inbox was full, their provider was having technical issues, or something along those lines. A true bounce, on the other hand, means you tried to send your email to an invalid or otherwise non-existent email address.

You should immediately prune email addresses associated with true bounces from your mailing list, because many ISPs use bounce rate as part of their methodology for identifying and penalizing email spammers.

KPIs to track with caution

You really can measure just about anything when it comes to email marketing. But just because you can measure something doesn’t mean you should focus on it – or even worse, base important campaign decisions off of it.

1. Open rate

Many marketers use open rate as the go-to KPI for email marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, it’s an unreliable metric at best. Here’s why:

  • Because most open rates are based on pixel tracking, an email only counts as being “opened” if the image – and subsequently the tracking pixel embedded in the email – loads as well. Many email providers block image loading by default, and many people don’t care enough to switch that setting, or they simply prefer leaving it on.
  • There are several large email providers out there that automatically “open” emails as a user scrolls through his or her inbox. This artificially inflates your open rate because you don’t know if the user actually looked at your email or not.

That being said, it’s entirely reasonable to use open rate as a relative metric. For example, comparing the open rates of email blasts sent out to the same exact list can provide you valuable insight on subject line performance.

2. Unsubscribe rate

You have to be careful when measuring unsubscribe rate because many users will just stop reading or opening your emails instead of actually going through the unsubscribe process.

You should still check into unnaturally high unsubscribe rates because that may indicate an issue with how you’re sourcing your email list, but unsubscribe rate in general isn’t the best indicator of your campaign’s health.

Optimize your email marketing today

Email marketing can be hard to nail down, but is incredibly profitable when done right.

At WebFX, our team of expert Internet marketers has years of experience crafting and sending the perfect emails for our clients. If you’re looking for a professional touch with your email marketing, we’d love to help!

Contact us today for more information or a free quote.