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Your Complete Guide to Email Marketing Analytics: 5 Key Metrics

Rob Browne
Rob Browne  |  May 7, 2019

You’ve taken all the steps to building an effective email newsletter, from your email list to your drip campaign, Now what?

While you may have the elements in place for email newsletter success, how can you be everything is working the way it should? What should you measure to track how successful your email marketing campaign is?

Knowing which metrics to track is the key to your email newsletter success. Don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve outlined  five key email metrics allow you to analyze your email campaign on a quantitative level and identify trends that will allow you to better craft your campaign to your readers.

5 email marketing metrics you can use to evaluate your campaign

Below are the five key email metrics essential to a successful email marketing campaign. Use these metrics to evaluate the success of your campaign and learn what adjustments you can make to bring engagement from your subscribers up to the next level.

1. Open rate

While the content of your email provides the opportunity to highlight the value your brand can deliver and why your readers should stay subscribed to your emails, your open rate depends purely on the strength of your brand name and your subject line.

These are the only two visual elements of an email in your subscribers’ inboxes before it is opened and their quality will determine your open rate.

What is email open rate?

Email open rate is a metric that measures what percentage of your subscribers opened an email over a given period of time.

Why is email open rate important?

In terms of email metrics, it’s easy to merely focus on numbers such as conversion rate or click-through rate, which are more directly tied to actions that drive revenue. However, achieving good results with these metrics is only possible if your open rate is high in the first place. A “good” email open rate can depend on your industry and the end goal of your email, however a solid range to shoot for is about 15-25%.

How do I calculate email open rate?

Here is an example of how to calculate the open rate for 404 opened emails out of 2,020 emails successfully delivered:

how to calculate open rate

Your email open rate is the most important metric for one simple reason: if nobody is opening your email, nobody is reading it. You need to focus on getting your email opened before focusing on anything else.

2. Unsubscribe rate

Looking for a way to measure the quality of your email marketing campaign? Look no further than your email unsubscribe rate. If you suddenly see a drop off in the number of people subscribed to your newsletter, you might have an unsubscribing problem!

What is email unsubscribe rate?

Email unsubscribe rate is a metric used to determine the rate at which members of your email list have unsubscribed from your email campaign. It can be a telling barometer of how well your subscribers are responding to your email campaign.

Why is email unsubscribe rate important?

Where the unsubscribe rate comes into play is if you notice a spike in unsubscriptions or a particular pattern. A spike in unsubscriptions can be a helpful sign from which you can gather what types of emails and campaigns are working for your brands and which aren’t.

A “good” unsubscribe rate may vary by industry and the types of campaigns you are trying to push on your email list. However, if your unsubscribe rate is under .5%, you generally have nothing to worry about.

TIP: Learn more about the email marketing industry here!

How do I calculate email unsubscribe rate?

You can calculate unsubscribe rate by dividing the number of readers that unsubscribe over a certain period of time by the number of emails delivered in that same period of time and multiplying that quotient by 100. Here’s an example below from a campaign in which 3,050 emails were delivered and 122 readers unsubscribed:

how to calculate unsubscribe rate

3. Click-through rate

Anytime you send an email, you of course want to know how your recipients are reacting to it. Click-through rate is a helpful metric for analyzing this engagement.

What is email click-through rate?

Email click-through rate is a metric through which we can see how many people clicked on a given link within a particular email. This link could be one that redirects viewers to your website, signs them up for a newsletter, or any other given call-to-action.

The click-through rate is a broad measurement of email engagement, and thus has a few factors that can impact it. The number of links that your email contains will impact the click-through rate. This will vary based on the number of actions you want your readers to take. It also may depend on how much tracking you are capable of.

Why is click-through rate important?

The majority of click-throughs that go into calculating the click-through rate will come from a small percentage of your subscribers. These subscribers are the readers that are most interested and thoroughly engaged by your emails. A key to a high click-through rate is understanding which of your subscribers make up this small, thoroughly engaged chunk, and what incentivizes them to click.

How do I calculate click-through rate?

Click-through rate is calculated by dividing the total number of clicks on the links in your emails by the total number of emails that were successfully delivered. Here’s an example of how to calculate the click-through rate on an email that had a link that acquired 140 clicks out of 970 successful deliveries:

how to calculate click-through rate

4. Conversion rate

Every email in your newsletter carries an end goal. If it didn’t, you wouldn’t be pouring so much time and effort into setting up a killer email newsletter. Conversion rate is a metric through which you can measure just what percentage of your readers are reaching this goal.

What is conversion rate?

Conversion rate measures the percentage of your subscribers that complete a goal action. In most cases, the conversion goal of your email campaign will be purchase-related or at least quantifiable in terms of further engagement with your brand. Conversion rate stresses the importance of being able to directly correlate the success of email marketing efforts to a hard number.

Why is conversion rate important?

There is no established value or target range for what constitutes a “good” conversion rate. Conversion rates vary across industries and generally rely upon specific data points unique to your subscriber base. The highest average email conversion rates are usually in industries such as legal services, publishing, and sports and recreation. These conversion rates typically fall in the 11-14% range. The lowest average conversion rates are in industries such as retail, automotive, and financial services, and are around 5%.

How do I calculate conversion rate?

To calculate conversion rate, divide the number of subscribers that completed the email’s goal by the number of successful email deliveries, and then multiply that quotient by 100 to find your conversion rate. Here is a helpful visual to calculate the conversion rate of 250 conversions out of 970 successful email deliveries:

how to calculate conversion rate

5. Bounce rate

No one wants their time-consuming efforts in crafting an email newsletter to go to waste and not reach your subscriber base. One way to calculate whether your emails are reaching the greatest number of subscribers is through bounce rate.

What is bounce rate?

Bounce rate measures the percentage of email addresses in your subscriber list that didn’t receive your message because it was returned by a recipient mail server. But why would your message be “bounced” from a recipient’s inbox? There are a few contributing factors to an email bouncing. They can be sorted into two categories: hard bounces and soft bounces.

Why is bounce rate important?

Hard bounces are permanent delivery failures. A hard bounce occurs when an email is sent back to the sender undelivered and without having been accepted by the recipient’s mail server. A hard bounce can be caused by an invalid email address, an outdated domain, or an address that has fallen out of use and no longer exists.

Soft bounces are temporary delivery failures. They stem from temporary issues surrounding the receiving server, the recipient’s mailbox being full, a server being down when the email was sent, or the receiving server identifying an email as too large to receive.

hard vs. soft bounce

When a bounce occurs, a return-to-sender message will be sent back from the recipient’s mail server to diagnose the issue. You can use this diagnosis to determine whether the bounce was hard or soft, and whether there is anything you can do on your end, such as determine whether you need to obtain an updated email address from your recipient, to ensure success on a second try.

How do I calculate bounce rate?

To calculate bounce rate, divide the total number of emails that bounced by the total number of emails sent to get the total number of bounces per email. Multiply this bounce per email rate by 100 to obtain your bounce rate as a percentage. For example, if you sent out a total of 981 emails on Tuesday to different subscribers on your email list, and 11 of these emails bounced, you would calculate your bounce rate as follows:

how to calculate bounce rate

Start getting analytical

You may have unbreakable confidence in your copywriting and design skills, however these metrics will add a quantitative element to your analysis of your email marketing campaign and email marketing software.

See the Easiest-to-Use Email Marketing Software →

Diagnosing your email campaign via these metrics will give you a barometer from which you can track overall trends in how your subscribers are responding to your campaign, and thus allow you to make informed decisions about the direction of your campaign going forward.

Rob Browne

Rob Browne

Rob is a Content Marketing Specialist at G2 Crowd writing about all things marketing. Originally from New Jersey, he previously worked at an NYC-based business travel startup. (he/him/his)