Email Marketing Metrics to Gauge Campaign Success

Regularly reviewing your email marketing metrics is good practice.

It allows you to properly target your efforts and ensures you get the best possible ROI from your program.

Taking the time to review email marketing metrics before your next campaign can help ensure that your message and brand is truly resonating with your chosen audience.

You launch an email marketing campaign, and a few months later, you notice more people are visiting your website.

commerce reporting email marketing delivra

So that means your email marketing campaign was effective, right?

Not necessarily.

It’s easy to infer a cause-and-effect relationship, even without evidence to support that conclusion.

In order to determine the success of your efforts, you need to design an email campaign with factors that can be measured.

Defining measurable goals tied to your email marketing metrics

A subscriber can react to an email newsletter or offer in a number of ways:

Read it, ignore it, skim it, forward it to a friend or click on a link in the email.

While most of those actions would be classified successes, marketers need to narrow their focus before analyzing their campaigns.

email marketing metrics and insights

Successes can be measured incrementally…

…and that’s why tracking your email marketing metrics is important.

So, let’s say you want to first examine how many people are opening your emails.

That’s a pretty easy statistic to measure–you’ll use software to measure open rates.

But if success is defined as the number of people who click an emailed link to reach your homepage, that’ll take a bit more effort.

The first step in creating your campaign is to set solid, measurable goals.

For example, let’s say you want to raise brand awareness.

You can’t really measure general awareness, but you can measure whether people forward your emails and share your social media posts.

Both of which are actions that increase brand awareness.

Filling your blog with quality content can also help raise brand awareness.

If you’re a B2B company, a blog that offers relevant industry-specific news can position you as an authority on the topics you write about.

If you aim to raise brand awareness with your blog, set up an action you can measure, such as the ability to subscribe by clicking on a button.

Study the steps of conversion

Break down each component of conversion goals.

email marketing metrics conversion funnel

For example, if your goal is to increase the volume of online purchases, what incremental goals can you measure that will help you get closer to your ultimate objective?

The first step in increasing sales is getting people to land on your website.

So you might start off with a goal of getting people to click on a call-to-action in a marketing email, and you can use Google Analytics to track how many people arrive at your website via that CTA.

If you accomplish the initial goal of driving more website traffic but find sales aren’t increasing, you might be missing a piece of the puzzle.

Email marketing metrics can go outside our email marketing dashboard.

Study your email analytics to see where you’re losing people.

Maybe your search function isn’t working properly, or you’re not providing adequate product information.

Email marketing metrics that matter, period

Bounce Rate

Your bounce rate, or the recipients who did not get your messages at all, is caused by anything from a full mailbox, invalid email or an email with a typo.

A high bounce rate is an indication that your email list could use some cleaning up.

If you’ve recently run a contest, you may see an increase in your bounce rate – some people use throwaway emails for contests and other submissions.

While bounce rates vary, if yours is more than 1% or so, your list needs attention.

A sudden increase in your bounce rate could be an indication of a problem with your database or intake methods, too.


The note that most of us dread; this metric reveals the number of users who have chosen to opt out of receiving your content at all.

Your unsubscribe rate reveals how relevant your content is and how effective your signup opt-in is – a higher rate means your emails may not be as relevant or interesting as your prospects would like.

industry email marketing benchmarks unsubscribe rates by sector

Unsubscribe rate metrics give you a reason to examine your approach.

Are your subject lines really intriguing, and does your content deliver as promised?

Even the frequency of your mailings could trigger prospects to unsubscribe.

Send too many emails, too frequently or send out the same message again and again and people will begin to opt out of receiving your emails at all.

List Growth

How fast is your email list growing?

Simple math can help you find out; subtracting the number of bounces and unsubscribes from the total amount of new subscribers, then dividing this result by your previous number of subscribers reveals your growth rate.

A steady rate of growth ensures your list stays healthy can that your email program is targeted and effective.

A focus on quality over simple quantity ensures that your campaigns will continue to be relevant to your subscribers.

Click Through Rate

How many times were the links in the email you sent clicked?

industry email marketing benchmarks click rates by sector

If you’ve come up with a relevant and useful piece for your prospects, they’ll reward you with a better than average click through rate.

Using this metric in conjunction with your open rate can also give you an idea of how well your content is performing.

If a lot of readers are opening your emails, but not clicking the links, you know you are good at generating interest, but need a little more work on creating compelling content.

Delivery Rate/Spam Complaints

Deliverability is one of the most critical email marketing metrics.

Delivery rate will tell you the percentage of emails that were properly delivered to your contacts.

Ideally, 100 percent delivery rate is what you want.

Anything over 95 percent is usually good enough to not worry too much about.

The lower your delivery rate the more likely your ESP will reach out and investigate your lists.

A low delivery rate can also show signs or spamming and receiving spam complaints.

The more spam strikes you receive you run the risk of being black listed and shut down from sending.

Social Engagement

Which users loved your content so much they shared it with someone else?

This is a key metric to explore because it measures organic growth.

Serving up more of the content that was shared willingly with others can help you grow your list without spending any extra cash.

Shared content is also like a personal recommendation; someone who shares your email is basically recommending your business to a friend.

Your forward and share rate reveals the effectiveness of your content and message and should be examined as you work on your content calendar and planning.

Knowing what resonated with users so well that they shared it is a powerful piece of information that can help you create compelling content in the future.

Conversion Rate

The bottom line and the most important result; how many of the users you emailed opened, read, clicked and actually completed a purchase or sign up?

Your conversion rate is your main way to measure overall success and can help you identify how well your overall email marketing strategy is performing for you.

Define what you consider a successful conversion – is it an actual sale, a new subscriber or some other result.

Once you know what you consider a conversion, you’ll be able to use this metric to get an idea of how successful you are.

Overall Email Marketing Campaign ROI

You’ve calculated the revenue generated by your campaign, but this metric looks at the overall effectiveness.

You had to spend money to generate that revenue and looking at your overall campaign ROI ensures you are spending your budget in the right place.

To determine your campaign ROI, you’ll need to break out the calculator and plug in the following numbers:

(Revenues generated by campaign) – (dollars invested in campaign) divided by (dollars invested in campaign) X 100 = ROI

Calculating the ROI for each of your email campaign efforts gives you the data you need to pinpoint the approaches that resonate best with your followers.

With this information in hand, you can ensure that you are taking the correct approach and getting the most from your investment.

Other Helpful Email Marketing Metrics

Depending on your business model, these metrics may also be useful:

Inactive Users

How many recipients have not opened your emails in a year or more?

They may have moved on; subscribers could grow out of needing your product, become interested in other things or even change email addresses.

Your inactive users can be targeted directly with a “come back” email campaign or purged to create a leaner, more effective email marketing strategy.

Either way, being able to identify inactive users can help you improve your email marketing metrics.

Click/Heat Maps

What topics are resonating with which demographics?

email marketing clickthrough heatmap

This metric can give you some insight into how effective and compelling your campaigns are with specific users.

This is a visual way to determine the effectiveness of your strategies and may come in handy when you are planning.  

Segmented Activity

You’ve carefully segmented your list to target specific prospects; viewing the performance metrics for specific populations can help reveal how well you are doing.

segment email subscribers email marketing

Are you really targeting your messages correctly or is it time to take another run at list segmentation?

Reviewing this data periodically lets you know how well you’ve set things up and ensures that you are correctly targeting your efforts.


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