Email marketing is one of the more easily measured marketing tactics because most email platforms enable you to track who opened and clicked your messages. More important, however, than knowing who opened and clicked your messages, is understanding how to use these metrics to measure your efforts and hit your goals.

First, you’ll want to think about what the goal is for your email marketing campaign. Do you want to grow your subscriber database? Maybe you want to focus on lead generation? Once the goal is established, you’ll know which metrics can help you track your progress.

Now, we know email metrics can be confusing, but we’re here to help! Below, we broke down five key metrics we look at when analyzing email marketing campaigns.

Open Rate

What is this?

The open rate is the percentage of email recipients who open an email.

How is this calculated?

(Total number of emails opened / Total delivered) x 100 = %

Why is this valuable?

The open rate can help you determine the engagement of your subject line. Higher open rates mean your subject line resonated with your audience.

Now here's a curve ball: An email is only counted as “opened” if the recipient has their images turned on in their inbox. This means if someone has image-blocking enabled for their email, and they open your email, it won’t be included in your open rate. Therefore, open rate under-reports on true numbers, as many people do have image-blocking enabled.

So, how is this valuable? Open rate is valuable as a metric if you use it to compare to previous subscribers on the same list. This means that it can show how your subject lines are performing with that particular audience since the variables are controlled in that instance.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

What is this?

The click-through-rate is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on one or more links in an email measured against the total number of emails delivered.

How is this calculated?

(Unique clicks / Number of delivered emails) x 100 = %

Why is this valuable?

Click-through-rate, or CTR, measures the percentage of recipients who clicked through to your website. It is a percentage that tells you how many emails successfully achieved one click from a subscriber.

Why do you need to look at this metric?

This metric gives marketers a direct look into how many people on their list are engaging with their content based on the email as a whole: keywords, subject line, time the email was relayed, sender name, etc.

Click-To-Open Rate (CTOR)

What is this?

The click-to-open rate is the percentage of subscribers who clicked on the email as related to the total number who opened it.

How is this calculated?

(Unique clicks / Unique opens) x 100 = %

Why is this valuable?

Click-to-open rate, or CTOR, is a leading indicator of how valuable the content is that you’re sending. It indicates how effectively the email message, design, and content performed, and whether it created enough interest in the recipient to take action. It helps separate the performance of your content from other factors that might otherwise affect the stats, like the “from” name, time of day the email was sent, and subject line.

How is click-to-open rate different than click-through rate?

Unlike click-through rate, click-to-open rate is the number of clicks out of the number of opens (instead of the number of delivered emails). Again, this gives you a better gauge of how the content of the email resonated with your audience, since these clicks are only from people who actually viewed your email.

Unsubscribe rate

What this is?

The unsubscribe rate is the percentage of subscribers who choose to opt-out of receiving any more emails from your company.

How is this calculated?

(Number of unsubscribes / Total emails delivered) x 100 = %

Why is this valuable?

Evaluating unsubscribe rates allows marketers to see if their content and sending frequency matches the expectations and desires of their audience. Striving for an unsubscribe rate of less than 2% is standard across most industries.

Deliverability rate

What is this?

The deliverability rate is the overall rate at which your emails are being delivered to their intended inboxes.

Why do marketers look at this metric?

Looking at this number can help marketers gauge how likely it is that their email campaign will reach their subscribers related to delivery factors like bounces or spam issues.

What can hurt email deliverability?

Elements that hurt deliverability can include:

  • Sending an email without domain authentication
  • Using a single opt-in procedure for new subscribers
  • Sending from a free domain email address
  • Making it difficult to unsubscribe
  • Using URL shorteners (e.g., bit.ly links)
  • Lack of engagement

How can you ensure a healthy deliverability rate?

To ensure a healthy deliverability rate, it’s key to maintain good list hygiene. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Keep an eye on inactive subscribers. Consider a re-engagement campaign, and ultimately remove those from your list who do not engage to improve the hygiene of your list.
  • Implement Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Sender Policy Framework (SPF) to authenticate your domain.
  • Use double opt-in rather than single opt-in for new subscribers.
  • Make unsubscribing very easy.
  • Monitor your KPIs to ensure you’re sending the right content to the right people at the right frequency.
  • Lastly, never use URL shorteners.

Next Steps: Optimize Your Email Strategy

By tracking the metrics listed above, you should have a good sense of how well your email campaigns are performing and identify areas of your strategy you can optimize. If you need help putting together or optimizing an email marketing strategy, or measuring the success of your campaigns, let us know! Aztek has multiple email marketing partnerships and a team of certified email marketing experts with years of proven success.

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