How to understand your email marketing analytics

Understanding the analytics of your email marketing is important and every email marketing service provider worth their salt provides complimentary analytics.  

All of the analytics available are important, but there are 4 key ones that you can concentrate on:  

  • Open rate  
  • Click through rate (CTR)
  • Conversion rate 
  • Unsubscribes 
Infographic highlighting key email marketing metrics

Open rate 

This figure explains how many people have opened your emails. This figure is generated by tracking how many people have clicked on your message.  

The open rate can help you understand your relationship with your database, hopefully your recipients will be pleased to receive an email and open them quickly. 

We must not get too excited by the open rate however, as it is not the best metric to consider as often if images have not downloaded for a recipient this will not be counted as open.

That said, if this figure is used comparatively it starts to have some form of value.

For example, comparing week on week or month on month emails sent to the same lists, might help you understand when a subject line has worked, or a time of day has meant the email was opened more than a different time.  

Unfortunately if your open rate figure is a low one it means that it is likely you have a lot of disengaged subscribers, at least ones who are not being enticed to open what you are sending them.

The solution for this is that you need to ensure you dedicate more time to working harder to provide value and also manage the expectations of your list about what they will be receiving from you.  

Ways to improve your open rate:

  • Ensure the content is relevant – consider segmentation and personalisation
  • Test different subject lines – consider the length, tone and content and test using personalisation in the subject line
  • Test the sender name and email address eg. Company name, CEO name, Account Manager name
  • If suitable for your target audience, test the use of emojis in subject line
  • Test the day of the week and the time of day to find the optimal time
  • Consider the frequency of your emails eg. daily, weekly, monthly – what works best?
An infographic showing the average email marketing open rate (17.5%) for the UK

Click through rate  

Your click through rate or CTR as it is commonly known, is the figure which shows you how many people have clicked through on one or more links which were contained in the email you sent.

The number given is a percentage; the number of clicks divided by the number of emails that were sent out multiplied by 100. 

The CTR is likely the easiest metric to convey as it is easy to calculate the performance of every email you send. Seeing how this changes over time is a good comparison to make.  

The CTR can be particularly helpful when used in A/B testing and you are trying to determine new ways to get more clicks on your email campaigns.  

The value of the CTR 
Knowing what the people on your list are engaging with, what they are interested in and their loyalty to your brand is where the CTR really helps you.

You get to understand what works for who and when it works, with what offer etc.  

Ways to improve your click-through rate:

  • Hone your segmentation – always send the most relevant content to your audience
  • Be consistent with your tone – ensure you have a ‘brand voice’ with your messaging
  • Make your calls-to-action clear, with easy to understand copy and attractive clean design
  • Ensure you stay attractive to your subscribers with incentives that are strong
  • Have your subject line accurately reflect the content of your email. 
  • A/B test what works
An infographic showing the average email marketing click through rate (2.4%) for the UK

Conversion Rate 

Your CTR has measured how many people have taken action and clicked onto something contained within your email.

Your conversion rate concentrates on assessing how many people took action once they clicked. 

This rate gives you the golden goose of metrics – it provides you with your ROI – once you know how much you have spent and how many of your subscribers are converting it is easier to understand how much your marketing is costing you. 

How do you calculate Conversion Rate?

This is the percentage of people who have opened your email, clicked a link and completed a desired action such as completing a form. 

The number is therefore the number of people who have completed the desired action divided by the number of emails sent/delivered.  

Ideally you want to have had a campaign which has included an incentive such as a download ebook, a voucher for money off or attendance at a webinar as its call to action; that way your definition of the conversion is directly tied to your goal of your email.  

The Bounce Rate

 An email that could not be delivered is known as a ‘bounced’ one – as in it bounced back and did not reach its intended destination. 

In particular this is where a delivery failure is related to server or spam issues, whether these issues are permanent or temporary.

Expressed as hard or soft and as a percentage, the bounce rate figure is the metric of your subscribers who did not receive your message.

Ways to improve your email bounce rate:

  • Don’t send to lists which are old
  • Do not use bought lists
  • Ensure you practice list hygiene, removing invalid addresses
  • Use confirmed opt-in
  • Do not deliver from free webmail addresses
  • Avoid using click bait and spammy content
  • Suppress previous bounce
An infographic showing the average email marketing bounce rate (0.8%) for the UK

The Unsubscribe Rate  

This is the figure as a percentage that is those who have unsubscribe from your send list after they have opened an email from you. 

Similar to the open rate, this metric does not necessarily depict the health of your email list for you. 

In the main, often those who have been disengaged with your emails, simply stop opening them. 

Which is why measuring the click through rates and conversion rates prove a lot more valuable.  

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