5 email marketing metrics that are the most important to measure

Any digital marketing strategy is worthless unless you track its performance. Here are email marketing metrics that are the most important to evaluate.

Ready to learn five email marketing metrics that every business owner should know?

1. Click-Through Rate

Definition: The percentage of recipients who click on one or more links inside the email

How it’s calculated: (Total clicks ÷ Total number of emails sent) x 100

Why it’s important: CTR measures engagement. Just because someone opens your email, it doesn’t mean they like the content. However, anyone who clicks a link is interested in finding out more. Average CTR rates vary from 2 to 5 per cent depending on industry. To improve CTR, use A/B testing to find a more compelling way to write your call-to-action (CTA), and also test the size, colour and placement of your CTA buttons.

2. Conversion Rate

Definition: The percentage of recipients who click on one or more links inside the email AND complete the desired action (e.g. purchasing a product, downloading a file or filling out a survey)

How it’s calculated: (Number of subscribers who completed desired action ÷ Total emails delivered) x 100

Why it’s important: Every email sent should have a specific purpose or action that you wish the prospect to take. The conversion rate differs to the click-through rate because people may click on a link, but not follow through. Failure to complete the transaction can mean that the process of completing the transaction is too ambiguous, complicated or time-consuming. Perhaps a technical error is causing users to abort the process. You may need to give a more compelling reason to act, such as a coupon, giveaway, or explain the benefits more clearly. 

3. Email Bounce Rate

Definition: Percent of emails that are unsuccessfully delivered

How it’s calculated: (Total number of emails that bounce back ÷ Total emails sent) x 100

Why it’s important: It’s impossible to achieve conversions if your emails aren’t reaching their recipients. There are two types of bounces: hard and soft bounces. 

Hard bounces can be because you have entered a contact’s email address incorrectly, have been given a fake email address, or your emails are being marked as spam by the ISP. Soft bounces are usually the result of an email server technical difficulty (e.g. when a client’s mailbox has reached its capacity). All email addresses that are consistently bouncing should be removed from your list, as they can compromise your business’ reputation and delivery rates. If your email list is old (or if you have bought an email list – do not ever do this), your bounce rates will be high.

4. List Growth Rate

Definition: The rate at which your list of subscribers is growing

How it’s calculated: (Number of new subscribers – Number of people who have unsubscribed) ÷ Total subscribers x 100

Why it’s important: You should always be aiming to expand your list, especially when you consider that the average email list loses 25 per cent of its subscribers per year.

New subscriptions: make sure you have a subscription box and embed contact forms on your website, and use pop-ups on your blog. This is a great way to increase your list growth rate.

Minimising unsubscribe requests: ensure that your emails are meeting the recipients’ needs. Sometimes this can be achieved through list segmentation. For example, if you sell both coffee and tea products, consider creating two separate lists: one for coffee drinkers and one for tea drinkers so that you can send more personalised emails. 

5. Unengaged Subscribers

The final thing to look for is unengaged subscribers. Many experts will tell you to track your unsubscribe rate, but it doesn’t tell the full story. Average open rates depending on industry vary between 14 and 22 per cent. However, the open rate is a misleading metric. Many email users have image blocking disabled and emails are generally only counted as “opened” if the images are displayed. This is why some companies send text-only emails with a link near the top for users to click on.


Luke Chaffey is a Digital Marketing Specialist with KBB Digital. For advice on Digital Marketing, including SEO services and Digital Strategy, visit www.kbbdigital.com.au.

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