Should you use email marketing analytics to track your campaigns? Tough question, we know. Maybe you use some email marketing KPIs like open rate and bounce rate, but not much else. Maybe you're not paying attention to any of that at the moment because you have a lot to do already.
In this article, we'll show how important email marketing analytics are for your email campaigns to be extremely successful. If you don't measure your email marketing KPIs, you'll never know why you are not getting the expected results.
Email metrics help you re-think your strategy and change what isn't working, trying different approaches until you reach the perfect content within the perfect email sequence. They will also help you understand why only a few people are clicking through your newsletters and also test new ways to improve your copy and content picks.
5 Email Metrics Every Marketer Should Include in Their Email Report
In email marketing analytics, there are five KPIs that should always be in your report: open rate, click-through rate, deliverability rate, conversion rate, and bounce rate. We'll go through how to calculate each of these email metrics, what they mean and what to do when they're low in comparison to industry standards.
Read on to learn more about these five email marketing metrics!
This is the most commonly used rate among email marketing KPIs to assess the success of email campaigns and the one that leads to a lot of questions when measured. The open rate calculates the unique number of users who have opened your emails in a percentage, which means that you divide the number of opened emails by the whole amount of emails sent.
It's obviously important to know how many people have opened your emails to measure how good your email strategy is. First of all, if you are sending thousands and thousands of emails every month and they aren't even open, you're wasting time and money on a campaign that needs to be changed.
Other than that, people who have not opened your emails might have marked your emails as spam, which is a frightening perspective when you know that 0.2% of your recipients marking your emails as spam is all it takes for you to be reported as a spammer. So, landing in the spam inbox is something you want to really avoid at all costs.
Coming back to open rates, there are some other things you should know about it. The thing is, it's not that easy to determine your open rates with certainty because your users need to have images enabled on your sender for their emails to be reported as opened. This happens because the pixels that track your number of opened emails are usually inserted in your email images.
Also, some providers only consider emails to be opened if people have clicked on them, which makes things even more difficult. Usually, these requirements are not used concurrently – either one of them is usually sufficient for your email to be considered open by your ESP (email service provider).
So, with this in mind, let's say you usually have an average open rate that suddenly drops down. What should you do if this happens?
Let's remember that the average open rate across all industries is 20.81%. However, it is usually considered that anywhere between 15 and 25% is a good open rate. Nonetheless, your industry might determine what's the average to be expected, as we'll discuss further in this article.
If you have an unusually low open rate, there are a few steps you could take to try and improve your situation. First of all, clean your contact list. Even if you only use contacts that have been obtained through an opt-in form on your website, there might be typos on them or they may no longer be active.
Studies show that 8.4% of data entered on webforms is invalid. That's a really high percentage, and one of the reasons why you should always validate emails before adding them to your list. You should also do periodic cleaning: every now and then, delete contacts that haven't opened your emails in a while, or who bounce back constantly (we'll discuss bounce rate later on).
A list that is not cleaned often enough will also affect your deliverability (more on that later) and your reputation as a sender. Your sender reputation can affect your ability to send any email marketing campaign at all or keep your emails from being delivered, landing you in the spam inbox.
Having a double opt-in, which you can set up in Platformly easily, is a great way to make sure your open rate will improve since your recipients' disposition to read your email is confirmed by the recipients themselves. In a double opt-in, users get an email asking them to click a link to confirm they have subscribed to receive updates from you.
You should also personalize and segment your emails according to user data. How do you get that data? Either by sending them surveys or by collecting some information on your opt-in form straight away when you ask for your prospects' email address.
This data will allow you to send messages that are targeted according to each of your segment's goals and interests within your product or service. And last but not least, you need to really work on your email content.
The first thing to focus on to improve your open rate is your email subject. That's the first thing users will see, which will decide whether they open your first email or not. Test out different tones with different segments, be enticing, and be open to keep on testing different tactics over time.
But that's not all when it comes to content. For recipients to keep opening your emails, your email text needs to be well thought out, simple, using short paragraphs and just the right rate of images to text. That rate will be determined by your users. Once again, keep on testing different tactics as this is key in helping you work out what contents your users like to see.
Another tip for improving your click-through rate has to do with content again. Have you nailed your subject line? Does it trigger the fear of missing out (FOMO)? Does it make your recipients curious? If the answer to these two questions is yes, you're already one step ahead.
Also, keep your subject line short and sweet, optimized for mobile; and, if you think it suits your message, don't be afraid to use emojis and symbols to stand out among the all-text email subjects in your recipients' inboxes.
Our last tip is related to your sender: use a sender that is personal, preferentially using both your name and your company instead of just the company email. This will help you seem closer to your recipients and increase open rates.
CTR (Click-Through Rate) is used to measure engagement with your emails. Since you want recipients to respond to your emails in some way, it's highly important to measure who clicks on the links of your emails.
Other than measuring link clicks against the whole number of emails sent, CTR is measured in a percentage by dividing the number of unique users who clicked by the number of emails actually delivered in a batch (excluding the bounces).
This email KPI is one of the key metrics in email marketing analytics, as it shows how many users are actually interested in your content enough to click to read more or perform the action you request in your email campaign.
Now, what if your emails are being opened, but you don't have a good click-through rate? First of all, we need to define what is a good click-through rate. Several sources vary in that benchmark. Some people mention 10% as a goal, but most email campaigns never reach 10% of click-through from their recipients.
A good click-through rate can be anywhere from 1% to 5%, according to Mailchimp's benchmarks. We'll explain in more detail a few benchmarks for different industries closer to the end of this post.
So, what to do if your click-through is too low according to your industry's benchmarks or you suddenly notice a decrease? We'll go through a few tips on what to do to keep your click-through rate high.
First of all, there's formatting. This includes a few different aspects like making your email mobile-friendly – a lot of your recipients are going to read your email on their mobile phones, and you have to make sure that your design is responsive and every button stays in the right place to ensure click-through.
Make your emails easy to scan through with paragraphs, subtitles, and good design. Even though emails with a lot of HTML might seem less personal, sometimes they do appeal a lot more to your readers and make them click on your links.
Other than that, regarding formatting, remember to not hide important information to understand your email in images. Since many email platforms hide images for security, you don't want to give your recipients the extra work of a few more clicks to see your images. You've got to make clicking through easy.
The second thing to consider (though just as important as formatting) is how you structure your content. Use animated GIFs, videos and make your emails interactive. This will help your click-through rate immensely. You can also run surveys that will at once help you determine if your content is successful and help you gather more data to segment your contacts and tailor different messages.
You should also use data in your emails. Data and stats make people want to click to learn more. Bonuses and incentives, like offering something for free in exchange for some action you want them to take, is also a great way to improve your click-through, although that's not always going to work.
Social sharing buttons are also great to get clicks if your content is interesting enough to make your recipients want to share it. Offers and promotions together with social sharing buttons make a great combination.
The time and weekday when you send your emails can also be a factor in getting those desired clicks. According to Spaceship, no matter how weird it seems, between 8 PM and midnight is a great time for your emails to be opened and to get that higher click-through rate.
How you write and where you place your CTA also matters. Your call to action needs to be clear, and you shouldn't try to get your readers to do more than one thing on each email. Ask your recipients to perform an action in your email and it's likely they'll do it.
About CTAs still, Digital Doughnut realized their click-through rate was a lot higher if they placed it on the right instead of at the end of the email. Go figure.
Deliverability takes quite a lot of factors into calculating its rate. Starting from the beginning, deliverability measures the number of emails that landed in your recipients' inbox in comparison to the number of emails that bounced (were “returned” to the sender for lack of space in the inbox or wrong email address) and that landed on spam.
It's exactly what its name says. Deliverability is your ability to make your emails land in your recipients' inbox, and it starts with a clean contact list. We've already mentioned the importance of cleaning your contact list for increasing your open rate, so we won't go into that again.
What determines this ability, deliverability, is a combination of seven factors: authentication, sender reputation, cadence, timing, receiver engagement, email type, and content. So, it kind of mixes up a few things we have mentioned previously.
What to do when you notice your email deliverability is low? You take a look into the next factors we'll mention below.
About authentication, it involves SPF Authentication, DKIM Signatures, DNS/MX/A Records and DMARC. You can read more in our Email Deliverability Guide.
Sender Reputation is a different beast. It depends a lot on yourself, but also on your ESP. If you use Platformly, it ensures that its sender reputation as an email service provider remains high according to industry standards at all times.
However, the other half of what composes sender reputation depends on how well your emails are accepted. Do you have a history of being marked as spam? Or do readers open your emails and click through? That will impact your sender reputation. You don't really have it at the beginning of your email campaign history, but it's important to care about this factor straight from the beginning.
If your sender reputation gets tarnished, it will be really difficult to improve it all over again. So you need to really have a grasp of how to avoid all the traps that can make you seem spammy and prevent engagement from readers.
Cadence is about how often you send emails and the number of emails you send each time. It's important to start off with just a few emails in each new campaign to test the waters. If you send a lot of emails at once right from your first send, you'll probably seem spammy. Plus, you probably won't have gathered enough data to personalize your emails and place your recipients in segments, which will result in many people marking your carefully crafted content as spam.
We've already mentioned timing: it's about the time of the day you send emails and is closely related to cadence, as it depends as well on whether you send new batches of emails once a week, more often, or less frequently.
The right timing to schedule your next batch of emails will depend on your content, your product, your industry… In some cases, once a week is too much, in other cases, it might be ideal. It takes experience to figure out the right cadence and timing, but it is better to err on the side of caution than send too often and be regarded as annoying.
Receiver engagement depends not only on click-through rate but also on replies: do you use a do-not-reply email? Or can users reply to you directly through your sender email? The ideal action is to abandon do-not-reply emails and manage a closer relationship with your recipients. This will factor in your deliverability.
The type of email you send is also relevant for your email deliverability. Let's say you constantly send emails that are promoting your business without providing any extra information about anything else besides your product. Of course, you wouldn't like that.
The same goes for everyone. People want to receive updates from your brand, but you have to offer more than that. Be educational, be personal, tell stories, engage with the feedback you receive. Basically, be genuine and be interested in what makes your readers tick. That will earn you the respect of your recipients and improve your deliverability.
Last, but not least, content. We've already mentioned a few tips about great content. Same as with email type: be straight to the point, but not too salesy. Offer something extra that keeps your readers coming back to your emails before you ask them to do something for you: either subscribe to your service, signing up for a trial or even answering a survey.
Good email writing will also depends on your target audience and how you personalize your writing according to your segments. Some readers enjoy a bit of joking around, some enjoy a strict tone and plenty of data… Of course, those two should be balanced anyway, but your tone will depend on who you're trying to sell to and what you're selling.
Study your target audience. Test with a small group of recipients before moving on to larger batches. All of the factors above will make or break your email deliverability, so tread carefully.
Every email campaign has a goal. Whether it's getting new subscribers for your service or downloads for an ebook or other free goodies, there's always some goal that you have to absolutely measure to understand the success (or lack of) of your email marketing campaign.
The right email KPI for that is your conversion rate. A conversion means that someone just performed the action you want them to. So, your conversion rate will be your number of conversions divided by the number of emails delivered.
So, let's say you have gone through all the previous steps to ensure a good open rate, click-through rate, and deliverability rate, but your conversion rate is still low. What do you do in this case?
Well, to begin with, you should make sure you're delivering the right content to prospects according to their stage in your sales funnel. You need to create a relationship with your readers before you start selling to them.
Segmentation and targeting help at this stage. Platformly allows you to use both segments and tags to split your contact list into smaller lists that will bring a new meaning to your email campaigns.
You can segment your recipients according to their past open and click-through rate, how long they have been on your email list, previous purchases and much more. The sky's the limit. However, remember that for each of those segments you'll have to think about tailored content, so try not to get too granular so you can save time when creating all those sequences and messages.
Once again, ensure your design is responsive. 55% of emails are usually opened on mobile, with that number rising to 60% during the weekends, according to a study from Return Path. Your CTA buttons need to be on point on every device.
Other than that, a great landing page is essential. The content on your landing page should match the message in your email. The way you match your landing page to your message could be through headlines, copy, images, anything you can find in the message should be reflected on your landing page.
Also, you should never promise something in your email that you can't fulfill on your landing page. That will result in a huge bounce rate on your website, plus you'll get a lot of frustrated recipients. You want your users to get to your landing page, but that does not mean you should use wrongful tactics to try and convert them. You'll be called out. A lot of people have tried and failed with that strategy.
Automation can also help increase your conversion rate. Using behavioral triggers, it's a lot easier to figure out where your visitors are in the marketing funnel and responding accordingly. This way, you'll have nurtured your sales until your recipients are ready to convert, without coming off as too salesy, too soon. Timing is everything when it comes to sales nurturing as you can read in our other article about marketing funnels here.
In email marketing, your bounce rate reflects the number of emails that didn't reach your recipients' inboxes because they were returned to the sender by the server. To get the bounce rate in your campaigns, you just need to divide the number of bounced email messages by the total number of emails sent.
But there's more to the bounce rate than just that. There are a few reasons why your emails can bounce. There are two types of bounces: hard bounces and soft bounces.
Hard bounces are permanent. This means that the delivery failure was caused by an expired email domain, invalid email addresses… in this case, you might as well delete the contact from your list because those emails are never going to receive your emails.
Soft bounces are different; they are temporary. A soft bounce could happen when your recipient's inbox is full, the email is deemed as too large to be received, or the email server is down at the time the email is sent. For this type of bounces, you can still keep them in your mailing list. They might receive other emails afterward.
How do you know if it was a hard bounce or a soft one? By analyzing the message you get at the address you use as a sender once there's a bounce. Usually, you'll find the reason why your email wasn't delivered in the “return to sender” message so that you can diagnose your bounces.
If you've followed all our advice so far (like cleaning up your list, giving incentives, etc.) and you still have a high bounce rate, there are still a few things you can do. First off, check the address you're using as the sender. Is it a corporate domain? Or is it a generic email address like Gmail or Hotmail?
If you use a generic personal address, it's highly likely your email will end up in the spam inbox since it does not use authentication (we mentioned it in the deliverability rate section of this article). We highly recommend using your domain's email for campaigns to avoid unnecessary bounces.
To keep your bounce rate low, it's also important to keep up a frequent schedule. If you go months without emailing your list, you'll have lots of contacts that are not up to date anymore.
If you want to step up your game, get an email verification software. This way, you'll be able to check your contact list and delete possible bounces before they happen. Preventing bounces will also help maintain a good sender reputation. The consistency of your sending schedule also takes a part in keeping your sender reputation clean.
So, we've gone through five major KPIs that should be in your email marketing analytics report. Now, you're probably wondering about the benchmarks for your industry. Mailchimp updated the following data in October 2019 across a number of industries for a few email KPIs.
|Industry||Average Open Rate||Average Click Rate||Hard Bounce||Soft Bounce||Unsubscribe Rate|
|All non-labeled accounts||22.71%||2.91%||0.40%||0.61%||0.25%|
|Agriculture and Food Services||23.31%||2.94%||0.32%||0.50%||0.28%|
|Architecture and Construction||22.51%||2.51%||0.73%||1.18%||0.32%|
|Arts and Artists||26.27%||2.95%||0.30%||0.51%||0.28%|
|Beauty and Personal Care||16.65%||1.92%||0.26%||0.33%||0.30%|
|Business and Finance||21.56%||2.72%||0.43%||0.55%||0.20%|
|Computers and Electronics||19.29%||2.08%||0.47%||0.79%||0.27%|
|Education and Training||23.42%||2.90%||0.32%||0.51%||0.21%|
|Entertainment and Events||20.51%||2.36%||0.28%||0.43%||0.26%|
|Health and Fitness||21.48%||2.69%||0.30%||0.40%||0.40%|
|Home and Garden||21.60%||3.03%||0.32%||0.52%||0.35%|
|Marketing and Advertising||17.38%||2.04%||0.44%||0.68%||0.27%|
|Media and Publishing||22.15%||4.62%||0.14%||0.27%||0.12%|
|Medical, Dental, and Healthcare||21.72%||2.49%||0.51%||0.63%||0.28%|
|Music and Musicians||21.88%||2.94%||0.28%||0.48%||0.26%|
|Photo and Video||23.24%||3.23%||0.43%||0.65%||0.40%|
|Recruitment and Staffing||21.14%||2.53%||0.45%||0.53%||0.30%|
|Restaurant and Venue||20.39%||1.40%||0.32%||0.45%||0.39%|
|Social Networks and Online Communities||21.06%||3.32%||0.20%||0.34%||0.22%|
|Software and Web App||21.29%||2.45%||0.65%||0.97%||0.37%|
|Travel and Transportation||20.44%||2.25%||0.31%||0.51%||0.24%|
You'll find that the average rates for each industry vary a lot, so that should give you an idea about the health of your email marketing campaigns. However, to have a clear picture of how you're doing, you should dive into your email KPIs and analyze everything thoroughly. That's the only way to improve your results and keep up the good work.
So, in the next section, we'll show you how to access your email marketing analytics on Platformly and Google Analytics.
Tools for Email Marketing Analytics
Let's start with Platformly. It is quite easy to access your email marketing analytics on Platformly. Just go to the top menu “Reports” and pick “Emails”. A graph will appear with your sent emails, opened, and clicked, and more email KPIs at the bottom in a table.
See? All your email marketing analytics are a few clicks away on Platformly. If you need a visual support to share your ideas about how to improve your campaigns with the whole team, you can also export your report in .pdf, nicely formatted already for you.
In Google Analytics, you can use your website property to track your results for your email campaigns. First, you need to create a Google account or use an existing one to use Google Analytics on. Then, to track your website activity and traffic, you need to add your Google Analytics tracking code in your home page.
After a short waiting time, results should begin to populate. You'll start to get data in real-time about your website. But let's get straight to the point – how do you filter the data to get your email campaign results?
You just need to go to the side menu, and pick the drop down menu “Acquisition”. In there, you'll have the option to sort your traffic through Source/Medium. Pick that option and select the date range that you want to get data for at the top right above the chart and below the top menu.
After selecting the date range, go to the small tabs above the table and pick “Medium”. There, you'll find your visitors coming from your email campaigns and other sources. Click on the cell that says “Email” and that's it! You've found the data for your email campaigns in the selected period.
In there, you'll be able to find your bounce rate, conversion rate, and the exact number of visitors to your website coming from your email campaigns. The results can be exported as a .csv file.
As you see, tracking your email campaigns is easy if you use the right tools. Although this has been a long article, the bottom line is: email marketing analytics play a huge part in achieving the perfect campaign. They are your allies in your battle to get to the top as an in-house marketer, small business owner or anything in between.
We strived to clarify most of the critical KPIs needed to maintain a successful email marketing strategy and how to assess them. We showed you a few benchmarks and the averages in general for all industries which should give you reasonable margins to know what to expect.
When your rates are far off from the benchmarks, something's not right. But you can fix it following a few steps if your diagnosis is backed by the right data. If you're an email marketing beginner researching for strategies, fear not. Always err on the side of caution, but don't be afraid to get creative – that's how you get to great content and beautifully crafted messages.
Get personal. Tell stories. But when it comes to reporting, don't be afraid of numbers or rates. They'll tell you the truth, but they'll also guide you into how to fix any issues that might be affecting your results.
And, most importantly, diagnose what is more important for your business right now when it comes to choosing which email KPIs you should work on. Maybe at this point you should be concerned about your bounce rate, to focus on your conversion rate later. Email marketing is about timing as well.
If you've read until the end, congratulations. You're one step further on your path to email marketing success. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment!
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