With email continuing to be one of the most successful channels for marketing, there is a lot to say and do when it comes to ‘how to execute an email marketing campaign well’. There are a gazillion examples of email marketing done right by brands and even those of campaigns that were a complete disaster.

Businesses and marketers are now focussing on implementing every trending tactic to optimize their email campaigns. But at the end of the day, what’s important is measuring whether these efforts are adding any value to the end goal of the business.

Yes, before setting up your next email campaign, it is important to think over what your business goal is, how executing this campaign is going to help you achieve it, and how you’re going to measure its effectiveness – what KPIs matter the most to you.

Here’s what an ideal email marketing pyramid looks like:

email marketing pyramid

While the metrics that a business needs to measure might vary for each campaign, it is important to understand which of the data collated is unreliable and which needs to be kept a close eye on. Here’s taking a look at the metrics you should measure for optimizing campaigns and those that are not so reliable for the same.

Email Marketing metrics you should not rely on

Instead of starting off with a list of metrics that your business should measure, here’s taking a look at the ones you’re most likely measuring – but should not pay that much attention to:

1. Open rate

Open rate is defined as the percentage of email recipients who opened the email you sent them.

Most marketers focus on optimizing their email subject lines for higher open rates – be it trying a question, something that peaks the recipient’s interest or simply a straightforward offer. While a high open rate definitely has a positive impact on the campaign, marketers need to measure metrics that are beyond that and add to conversions.

An open rate doesn’t necessarily mean that the recipient has read through the email, clicked on the CTA or converted in any manner. To make things worse, an email is considered ‘open’ even if the recipient has only received the images sent in the message. Hence, the metric doesn’t speak of how or whether the message has been consumed by the recipient.

Tip: Measure your open rates only as a comparative metric between email campaigns. This will help you understand which of your subject lines or what nature of them drive action.

2. Unsubscription rate

Another metric that doesn’t really add value to an email campaign’s measure of success, is the unsubscribe rate. It is defined as the percentage of people who opt out of your email list after receiving your message.

But let’s get one thing straight here – internet users don’t really have the time to go through an entire unsubscription process. They’d rather just stop opening the emails, reading them or directly trashing them.

Hence, thinking a low unsubscription rate means your email campaigns are successful, is a wrong approach to analytics and optimizing. Instead, the marketers should focus on engaging the recipient.

6 email marketing metrics you should measure

Now that you know what metrics don’t define your success, here’s taking a look at those that do:

1. Click through Rate

The click through rate is defined as the percentage of email recipients who have clicked on one or more than one inks included in your message. Mathematically, it is the total number of clicks divided by the number of emails delivered (multiplied by 100 for %).

This metric enables the marketer to calculate the performance of every email you send in a campaign. It is commonly used by marketers to compare A/B test results for finding better ways to make emails convert.

CTR is the metric that gives the marketers a direct insight about how many of its campaign recipients are engaging with the emails and in what manner.

2. Conversion Rate

The end goal of an email marketing campaign is to drive conversions. The conversion rate is defined as the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link in the message and completed a desired action that aids to the business goal. It could be signing up for a free trial of a product or a lead generation form depending on the objective of the email.

After a link embedded in the email is clicked through, the immediate next goal is to make the recipient convert into a customer – this could a micro or a macro conversion. The definition of a conversion depends on the CTA of the email and the CTA of the email is dependent on the objective of your campaign.

In order to measure the conversion rates of your email campaigns effectively, it is important to use robust marketing automation tools provided by companies like Wigzo. It not just helps measure your success more closely, but also makes personalization a possibility using machine learning.

3. Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of the total emails sent, but not delivered to the recipients. There are 2 kinds of bounces that usually occur in emails – soft and hard.

Soft bounces are caused by issues on the recipient’s server – like a full inbox (exceeding the capacity provided) or a network issue. In such cases, the email gets delivered in a few days after the issue is resolved or you could alternatively re-send it.

A hard bounce on the other hand, is caused by an invalid email address of the recipient – these emails never get delivered. In such cases, it is advisable that you identify the emails that are constantly being bounced off from and remove them from your email list. This will help you keep your email list clean and save you from losing reputation in the eyes of the internet service providers.

4. Growth Rate

The growth rate is defined as the pace at which your email list is growing. It is important that marketers track how many people willingly opt in to an email list and how many people are opting out post marketing campaigns.

The expanse of your email list determines the reach and your positioning in the industry/market. While growing an email list organically can take a considerable amount of time, marketers and industry specialists have found hacks for the same. You can read some of them here.

5. Forwarding Rate

Forwarding rate is defined as the percentage of recipients who shared or forwarded your email to those in their circles. This could either be the entire email or some content from the message. While this metric may not seem significant, the truth is that it expands the reach of your message.

This will help you generate more leads and grow your email list. But it is important here to encourage your existing recipients to do so. The message needs to stimulate an action, if not drive a conversion in the first go.

The only thing that you need to ensure for achieving a high forwarding rate, is sharing quality content. The message and content offered needs to add value to the recipient in some way or the other.

Also read: 7 ways to personalize email marketing campaigns instantly 

6. ROI

The last but the most important metric every business marketer must measure, is the ROI (return on investment). It is important to understand that the resources allocated to email marketing can also be utilised for other marketing efforts. There needs to be a concrete reason behind why they should be continually invested in a particular tactic.

While email marketing is said to have an ROI of 3,800% (DMA), the results may also vary because of the strategy and execution done by the business. Hence, the overall ROI from email marketing campaigns should be closely measured.

Over to you

It is important that businesses and marketers lay down their goals before the strategizing as well as execution of an email marketing campaign. There is a lot of data that is available for analysis owing to the technological advancements in the industry, but that doesn’t mean you need to measure or collate it all.

Be smart about what needs to be tracked for each of your email campaigns and make sure you do so effectively!

Side note: Unless you’re planning to lose a few conversions, ensure that all your email marketing campaigns are well optimized for mobile devices. 

What are the most common metrics that you measure for your email marketing campaigns?