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Essentials of Email Marketing Metrics: The What, Why and How About it

Determining the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns requires you to be aware of email acquisition costs and metrics such as open rate, cli...

Determining the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns requires you to be aware of email acquisition costs and metrics such as open rate, click-through rate, and average revenue. Unless you understand the value of this information, you will not be able to present a strong case for additional investments in strategizing your email marketing programs. A detailed approach to decipher these metrics can mirror the calculations for customer lifetime value and make the necessary amendments to optimize your campaigns.

To unravel the nitty gritties of email marketing metrics, we got in touch with Michal Leszczynski, Content Marketing Manager at GetResponse Blog.

Let’s walk through the insightful conversation we had.

Which are the main email metrics that any marketer should consider?

There are plenty of email marketing metrics that one could measure and to make things easy, you can divide these metrics into two separate categories, namely vanity and actionable metrics.

  • Vanity metrics: Metrics that do not help you determine the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns are known as vanity metrics. They are very nice to look at, but they do not let you know whether you have generated any revenue. For example: An open rate of 20% does not really let you know anything about the email revenue or conversion rate.

However, it is important to understand that if you are trying to optimize the email campaigns for reach, open rate will no longer be called as vanity metrics but actionable metrics.

  • Actionable metrics: Metrics through which you can decide whether the email campaign is effective or not are known as actionable metrics. If you want to take a business centric approach, these are the metrics you should consider. It will give a direction to your email campaign strategy by letting you know whether your campaigns are successful. Click-through rate and number of email conversions are examples of these actionable metrics.

Another classification divides the metrics into campaign specific and channel specific.

  • Campaign specific metrics are those metrics that we can analyze after sending a specific message. This category includes metrics like open rate, CTR, unsubscribe rate, and bounce rate.
  • Channel specific metrics come into picture when you want to know the ROI of your email marketing or the size of your subscriber list.

This is specific to your entire email program rather than just a single campaign.

Which are the most important metrics for a business to track?

Let’s put it like this: You could spend your entire time looking at your email analytics report as there are numerous metrics to look at. However, it is recommended that you consider both the vanity as well as the actionable metrics.

  1. If you want to see how your email campaign performed, look at the open rate and the click-through rate. Also, check if there is a rise in your email bounce rate. In case you find a dip in your email delivery, it is likely that you have got your email campaigns blocked or IP address blacklisted. Do not panic if that happens. Just figure out what could have gone wrong and get the issue resolved at the earliest, lest it hampers your email strategy.
  2. To determine the profitability of your email campaigns, you should consider factors such as time taken to deploy an email campaign, cost of producing the items you sell, and revenue generated. For example: You would have hired a graphic designer and developer for your email campaigns, right? Consider this and subtract the revenue generated from your expenditure. This will give you the information on how much profit did you yield.

Conversion rate is probably the easiest way to measure profitability of your email campaigns and the maximum information that you can get from actionable metrics. So, you must always look at the quick metrics and conversion rate to get an idea on how you are heading towards your business objectives.

Note that conversion has a different meaning for different people. It depends on the kind of business you are running. Nonetheless what remains constant is that your list size should keep increasing along with the turnover rate.

What are some common mistakes that marketers make when approaching email analytics?

1. Looking at the wrong type of metrics is the most common mistake that marketers make. Novice email marketers often focus only on open rates which is not a good practice. Industry benchmark for email metrics is different for every business. The same type of message gets variable response, according to the industry, business type, and location.

Let’s understand this concept with an example.

If your email campaigns are bringing an open rate of 20% in USA & Canada, your strategy would be considered high-performing. On the other hand, if your target market is based in Germany, the open rate is around 30-40%. This is because of the execution of strict laws like GDPR in EU.

2. Secondly, marketers miss out on comparing their email campaign performances across different markets and that’s where they are missing out on an opportunity. It is imperative to capitalize your strategy on every front if you want to overcome the bottleneck in competition. If you can get a 40% open rate in a market with an average of 20%, you can definitely invest more money into your current strategy.

3. Another common mistake is believing that a specific trick impacts the performance of your email campaign. For example: It is a misconception that sending a message at a particular time has made the difference in the metrics. Also, using the word free, bonus or discount does not have that big an effect on your open rates. It is important to build a relationship with your audience to entice the subscriber to open your email. Moreover, work on your subject lines and convey the purpose of your email through it.

What are the best practices when it comes to email analytics?

In the beginning of every month, dedicate some time to retrospect and check the past metrics to see what’s working. See the trends that are working in your favor and bringing the desired results. If you notice that your open rates are dwindling, you might have sent the email at the wrong time. It is also possible that your subject line did not connect with the audience.

This also applies during the holiday season when everyone is sending a huge number of messages. As an implication, the average conversion rate will drop owing to the intense competition. In addition, it is important to take into account environmental factors like bad weather or power cut whenever you are sending an email. Do not always blame the quality of your message when you do not get the coveted metrics. Think beyond that.

It is inevitable to A/B test and optimize your campaigns to understand what resonates the most with your target audience. Quite often, marketers use the same styling, graphics, and template layout in all their emails. Doing so would get the subscribers bored and ultimately, your email strategy will not work. Always A/B test your subject line, from name, send time, and your template layout. Try to incorporate something new in every email and strive to design better emails. If you are unable to make up your mind on which design elements to use, follow the best practices or simply ask your target audience, especially the new subscribers. Get information on what type of content are they interested in. That will surely help you out.

It is advisable to send tailormade messages to every market to make the most out of your email strategy. Experiment with the CTA buttons and content copy and keep optimizing the campaigns for best results.

What is the best time to send your email? Is there any process that needs to be followed to determine this?

The safest bet to determine the best time of sending your emails is checking the latest benchmark reports. Two time slots, namely 9 AM to 11 AM and 3 PM to 5 PM, are assumed to work the best. But, this does not hold true for every market or industry. The easiest way is to use a tool with an inbuilt algorithm that can adjust the time of sending the messages for you. Let’s say you are an email marketer for an ecommerce store and you want to send an email to a new mother. The best time to send her an email would be after 7 PM when the baby has probably gone to sleep. You can assume different scenarios and A/B test the send time for such a target audience.

Another important point to consider is whether you are giving the recipient enough time to ‘act’ on your email. Suppose you have a limited time discount offer at your supermarket chain till Tuesday. In such a case, it is important to send an email at least a week prior so that the customers have enough time to work on their busy schedule and travel to the store. In addition to all these ideas, two tactics that remain constant are -Talk to your customers and A/B test for every email campaign.

Is it possible to use Google Analytics to monitor the performance of your email marketing campaigns?

To use Google Analytics to figure out the performance of your email marketing campaigns, you simply need to add the UTM parameter to every link in your email. This will give you access to the number of visitors coming to your website through the email campaigns. You can also create a separate segment of the people who clicked on your email campaigns. This will give you an idea about the behavior of people and send better emails in the time to come. If someone makes a purchase through the email, the information is stored in Google Analytics and you can get a clear picture about the monetary value of your email marketing channel.

Which metrics should a marketer track in Google Analytics?

As mentioned earlier, it all depends on the type of industry you are in and what you have got to offer. If you are in ecommerce business, sales revenue is the best metric for you. On the contrary, if you are in the content marketing business, your goal could be the number of downloads and time spent on any specific page. You could even track the number of visitors who watched the video and the time they spent in watching it. Usually content marketers consider only the traffic on their website, the number of keywords that rank, and the backlinks. It is strongly recommended that you have the page value in Google Analytics like the number of clicks on social sharing buttons or comments received on an article.

A personal recommendation is to read Avinash Kaushik’s blog as he has shared extensive insights into the world of marketing analytics.

What are the things a beginner should consider while building the email analytics?

Let’s say you are the only person working on email marketing campaigns in the company. In such an instance, you would probably remember all the tags and UTMs that you created. That’s not the case in a bigger company, where it is quite obvious that there would be a lot of tags and minute details to take care of. As an implication, you will have to maintain a documentation of all the statistics, tags, and UTMs or for that matter, every little detail that you have used for your email campaigns. By doing so, anyone will be able to take up the responsibility of the email campaigns and it will be easy to study how it affects the audience engagement.

Are there any other tools that can be of help for email analytics?

You can check the kind of metrics available in your email marketing tool or email service provider. No matter which program you are using, you should be able to retrieve basic information like open rate, CTR, unsubscribe rate, and bounce rate. You can even take help of tools such as Litmus and Email on Acid to check what the emails look like before hitting the SEND button. You should also use spam checkers like “IsNotSpam” to ensure a good email deliverability.

Has GDPR affected email metrics?

The most interesting repercussion of GDPR execution is on email metrics. In the last two quarters of 2018, I have noticed that the results have slightly improved. With the implementation of GDPR, it has become inevitable to have a double opt-in strategy. This has improved the quality of email list. Only those subscribers who are genuinely interested to hear from you will stay subscribed to your brand and rest will just unsubscribe. This will not only cut down the email marketing expense but also enhance the performance of your email campaigns. You, as a marketer, will able to target them with more personalized and relevant emails. All in all, GDPR has been a boon in disguise for every email marketer throughout the world.

Wrapping Up

Email marketing metrics include information that enlightens you about how to carry out your email strategy. Look at these metrics and you will be able to fulfil the marketing triad of sending the right message to the right person at the right time. Just build a well thought out email campaign, A/B test for best results, and keep a close eye on your metrics – that’s our ultimate mantra.

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As Content Marketing Manager, Michal is responsible for coordinating content marketing projects at GetResponse. His main mission is to provide valuable and educational content for marketers - those just starting out as well as already rocking in the online world. You can follow Michal on Twitter @mrleszczynski.

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