Understanding which email marketing KPIs to monitor can make or break your campaigns. We’ll cover everything you need to know about email marketing KPIs and metrics in this guide.
Monitoring the most important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for email marketing is essential if you want your campaigns to achieve better results. Without following this, you won’t ever be able to optimize your email marketing efforts.
So, which metrics should you be monitoring? And how do you know what to do with these KPIs?
We’ll reveal it all in this straightforward guide.
What are KPIs in Email Marketing?
Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, are different ways that you can measure the performance of your email marketing campaigns.
Each time you deliver an email campaign, there are many different metrics that you can follow. This mainly comes down to who opened your email and what they did after opening it. However, email marketing KPIs can reveal so much more than just this.
Any good email marketing software should offer insights into the KPIs that matter. By monitoring these marketing KPIs, you will be able to optimize your email campaigns and achieve better results with every email sent.
Why Do Email Marketing KPIs Matter?
Understanding the right email marketing KPIs is essential for knowing how effective your email strategy is, and finding ways to optimize it.
You can use these metrics to understand successes in your campaigns and discover trends within your subscribers and their activity. This will help you modify the approach you take with each future email campaign you put together.
Without monitoring email marketing KPIs, you’ll be lost in the dark, blindly creating email campaigns that won’t ever achieve better results than the last one. But, by monitoring the right KPIs and adjusting your strategy to meet them, you’ll consistently improve your email marketing.
So before you start tracking KPIs, know why you’re tracking them. It’s important to have the right strategy in place first to ensure each metric you track helps you achieve better marketing results.
Top 11 Email Marketing KPIs You Need to Be Tracking
While most people only monitor about three KPIs with their email marketing campaigns, there are actually 11 important email marketing metrics to keep in mind. We’ll break these down below.
- Number Of Emails Deliered
- Inbox Placement Rate
- Emails Opened
- Click-Through Rate
- Click-to-Open Rate
- Unsubscribe Rate
- Bounce Rate
- Spam Reports
- Social Shares
1. Number Of Emails Delivered
First of all, check the number of emails that your campaign delivered. Just because you have 1000 subscribers on your list, it doesn’t mean your campaign was sent to 1000 inboxes.
A 100% deliverability rate is actually very rare.
Understanding deliverability is an incredibly important part of running and optimizing successful email marketing campaigns.
After your emails have been sent out, check the deliverability score. You might find that out of 1000 names on your list, only 900 emails were actually sent. There are a couple of reasons why this could be the case.
Some email addresses in your list might have been deleted or misspelled. And in some cases, marketers and businesses can be blacklisted by an ISP. This is often the case if you’re using a shared IP.
When looking at this email marketing KPI, it’s important to understand that emails delivered don’t necessarily end up in a subscriber’s inbox. An email can still be delivered straight to a spam folder. But when you see emails that weren’t delivered, this means that no email was sent out at all.
Understanding your email deliverability could help you discover critical issues with your email marketing platform, your email address, or your email list.
2. Inbox Placement Rate
Inbox Placement Rate (IPR) has become an increasingly important metric for marketers to use.
As we mentioned in the point above, not all emails that are delivered actually end up in the recipient’s inbox. Many will be directed straight to their spam folder.
IPR measures the percentage of emails delivered that do end up in the inbox. Essentially, these are the only emails that your subscribers will actually see.
Let’s say you have 1000 email subscribers on your list, and you get a 90% deliverability rate. This means 900 emails were delivered. Then of those emails delivered, let’s say you get an IPR of 70%. This means only 630 emails out of your 1000 subscriber list actually ended up in an inbox.
You can then use the figure from your IPR to more accurately monitor the email marketing KPIs that follow.
Knowing your IPR can help you understand how much of your email content is actually seen by email recipients, giving you a good starting figure to measure your campaigns.
3. Emails Opened
Now you know how many emails landed in inboxes, but this isn’t enough on its own. You need to know how many of these emails were actually opened.
The open rate of your emails is an essential factor in understanding how interesting your email content is, how well-written your subject lines are, and whether your email recipients are interested in receiving communications from you.
Monitor your open rates with every email campaign you send out to determine a benchmark figure. You might find that the open rates of your emails can vary dramatically.
The number one thing that affects open rates is your email’s subject line. If you’re getting high inbox deliverability but low open rates, that’s a clear sign your subject lines need improving. Remember, it’s the subject line that entices recipients to click on the email and read it further.
A good strategy is to A/B test your emails with completely different subject lines. See which version gets better open rates, and then try to use this type of subject line for future email campaigns.
Follow our detailed guide on how to write marketing emails to help you fine-tune your subject lines.
4. Click-Through Rate
Once your emails have been opened, the next step is to measure how many people clicked on a link in the email.
Any good email marketing campaign should have a clear call to action, prompting the recipient to do something. Usually, this is clicking on a link inside the email. Your click-through rate indicates how many people opened your email and then clicked on the link. This is one of the most important marketing KPIs for evaluating the success of email marketing campaigns.
Many emails contain more than one link, so your click-through rate isn’t only about how many links were clicked, but where those links were located.
You could use your click-through rate to measure if the clicks are above the fold (passing the blink test), or below the fold.
Again, a good strategy is to A/B test two different types of link placements. You could offer the same link in the same email, but change the anchor text or the type of button the link is placed over. You might find that a blue button gets you a far higher click-through rate than a red button.
When monitoring your click-through rate, also try to monitor what link was clicked, and not just how many times a link was clicked. Your email analytics tool will likely count clicking on the unsubscribe link as a click, and this is a bad thing.
Understanding your click-through rate should help you optimize your email content and your call to action.
5. Click-to-Open Rate
A Click to Open Rate (CTOR) is displayed as a percentage of the number of people who an email campaign and click on a link within that campaign. Basically, this email marketing metric compares the number of unique clicks with the number of email opens.
Your CTOR is determined by dividing the number of clicks by the number of opens and multiplying that by 100.
You should aim for at least a 20% to 30% click-to-open rate. If yours is lower than this, then consider segmenting your list and personalizing the type of email content that you send. This can help you ramp up engagement.
Above: A basic depiction of an email funnel, covering five major KPIs, However, there are various other metrics to monitor in-between these. (Image: digitalaladin)
6. Unsubscribe Rate
Your unsubscribe rate is an essential KPI for understanding your email marketing success.
A high unsubscribe rate shows that subscribers weren’t interested in your email content. Having a high unsubscribe rate is better than being marked as spam because it means the recipient didn’t mind your email content, but they just didn’t want to receive it.
Maybe this is because you sent the wrong type of message to the wrong subscribers, or because you send out too many emails to this list.
It’s important to look out for any trend you might see in your unsubscribe rate each time you send out an email marketing campaign.
Your unsubscribe rate could increase if you change your email template design, use a new kind of image, or send your email to a different segmented list. If the unsubscribe rate spikes up after a change like this, see it as a sign that the change probably wasn’t a good idea.
People who unsubscribe don’t want to be on your list anymore and receive any more email content from you. If you see this rate increase, it’s time to change something.
7. Bounce Rate
Your email bounce rate is the number of email addresses that your campaign could not be delivered to. When considering email marketing KPIs, there are two different types of bounce rates to consider.
A hard bounce is permanent, while a soft bounce is temporary. Hard bounces could happen if an email address on your list is spelled incorrectly, or if the email account is canceled. Soft, temporary, bounces are less critical. They could happen if the receiver’s server is down if their inbox is full, and more.
Soft bounces are caused by the email recipient, so there’s nothing you can do about them. Hard bounces, on the other hand, could be your fault.
If you have a high hard bounce rate, it might be because you don’t cleanse your email list enough, or because your opt-in process isn’t up to standard. Implementing double opt-in is a good way to verify email addresses.
Always remove any hard bounce email addresses from your system.
Follow our complete guide to email bounce backs to learn more about bounce rate and how to improve it.
8. Spam Reports
The last thing you want is for your emails to be flagged as spam. Too many spam complaints could prevent your email marketing efforts from reaching the right inboxes. This could have a drastic effect on how successful your campaigns are.
Always monitor your spam reports alongside your unsubscribe rate. If a user doesn’t enjoy your email marketing content, they will either unsubscribe or mark you as a spam sender. If both your spam reports and your unsubscribe rate shoot up, this shows you that you’re not sending the type of content your subscribers want to see.
Also pay attention to this email marketing metric whenever you try something new or make a change.
How many people forwarded your email to somebody else? Email forwards are an excellent sign of good quality emails. They show you that the recipient read your email content and thought it was useful enough for them to share with other people.
If you get a lot of email forwards, you’ll also increase your email marketing efforts and reach more people. And when people receive email forwards, they tend to be very receptive and engaged with them.
A good strategy to increase email forwards is to run a referral campaign. This could get your emails reaching thousands more people. With an email marketing and referral contest tool like Wishpond, running these campaigns is easy.
10. Social Shares
If you add social share buttons to your email marketing content, recipients can share this on social media. This is an awesome way to generate more brand awareness and get your content seen by more people, across different channels.
If your email newsletter offers helpful, interesting content, there’s a good chance your readers will want to share it with their circle. If readers have to manually navigate to our website and share this content by copying the link, they will probably skip out on the extra effort.
As an email marketing KPI, monitor your social shares whenever you send out helpful content. This will give you a good indication of what kind of content your readers enjoy, and what doesn’t interest them.
All of the email marketing KPIs we’ve covered are useful, but there’s ultimately one KPI that matters most – conversions.
A conversion is when the recipient of an email took the action you wanted them to. Most businesses would like this to be a direct sale, but in many cases, email marketing is only one of a few steps towards driving a sale. This means a conversion could be getting someone to register for your event, book a demo, download a piece of content, start a free subscription, or more.
If the recipient took the action that your campaign was hoping to achieve, then you can count this as a conversion.
Every email marketing campaign should have a clear goal. These goals can differ greatly between different businesses, audiences, and stages of the buying journey. Whatever kind of email you send, it’s important that you first have a clear understanding of what your goal is so that you can use email marketing KPIs to measure it.
How to Improve Your Email Marketing KPIs
A huge part of achieving great email marketing results comes down to using your KPIs properly.
First of all, before you send out any email marketing campaign, start with a clear goal. Know what you want the email to achieve, and understand what email marketing metrics will reveal a successful campaign.
Without having a clear goal in place, no email marketing metric will be worth tracking.
Next, use your email marketing tool to monitor these metrics. Check the results of your campaigns 24 hours after sending them, and record these results in a spreadsheet. Being able to follow each email marketing metric with each campaign delivered will help you find trends and continually improve the results.
Finally, always be testing. A/B testing your emails is an excellent way to gain more insights into which email marketing metric makes a better impression. The more you test and optimize your content, the more you’ll be able to increase your conversion rate.
Of course, there’s no point in monitoring email marketing KPIs if you’re not going to do anything with this information. Make sure you follow these metrics, find patterns in them, and understand what influences each metric. This will help you to produce better email content and increase your conversion rates.
Whatever type of campaign you’re running, and whoever your email service provider is, following the right email marketing KPIs will help you optimize your campaigns and improve your conversion rate.
There are many important KPIs to consider, and only monitoring one or two email metrics won’t give you enough insights to achieve better marketing results.
By understanding these KPIs and paying attention to them, email marketers will be able to get more revenue per subscriber and improve the results of all delivered emails.
Start Tracking Your Email Marketing KPIs
Paying attention to these KPIs with every email message is essential. To do this, you’ll need to use the right platform for sending out your email messages.
With Wishpond, you get an advanced email marketing tool that integrates with all the other marketing platforms you’re using. Each time you send out a campaign, you’ll be able to track the number of emails sent, the open rate of your campaign, your click-through rate (CTR), unsubscribe rates, delivery rate, and all other important metrics you’ll need to know for monitoring your campaigns.