Haven’t we all obsessed about numbers and percentages at a certain point of our life? Wow that was too broad for an introduction, let me try again. Haven’t we all obsessed about all the numbers and percentages that our analytics section displayed right after we sent our email? Yes, obviously we all did. We all watched our open rate increase from 0% to 0.1%, and we never felt prouder. We certainly all refreshed our page 10 times a second to watch our conversion rate slowly grow, but we also all had panic attacks noticing our unsubscribes percentage changing.

Those are parameters that every email marketer gets so close to at a certain point of their marketing strategy and often wishes they knew better about. More important than knowing what those metrics mean is knowing which ones are relevant to our campaign, and which ones are not that important to achieve our strategy’s goals.

Great news! You don’t have to track all of the email marketing metrics on earth, -this is not Pokémon Go. Although it is crucial to understand each one of them, you will only need to focus on few of them. And we want to make sure that you save your time and energy, and focus on the right metrics for your campaign. This why today we offer the guide you need to recognise the right email marketing metrics for your campaign’s objective and goal.

If your goal is:


Thanks to the great invention of Internet, you don’t need to knock on doors to sell your product or service anymore. Your potential customer gets the whole deal and details in their own magical box, their inbox. Emails are today a great tool for selling your product. Great effort and time are invested in crafting the gorgeous and cracking email that will drive their recipient to hit the buy button. So if you’re selling your product or service via email -like all the great marketers- you certainly want to know the metrics that would lead to the success or failure of your selling process. Here are THE parameters you want to keep an eye on after hitting send -listed by importance order-:

  1. **Click Through Rate:
    **Click through rate (CTR) is the percentage of email recipients that clicked on at least one of the links included in your email. This parameter is important because it gives you direct insight into how many people on your email list not only opened but also engaged with your content, and are interested in knowing more about your service or offer. Your CTR will allow you to know what content, button, or call to action is more appealing to your recipients.
    CTR is also frequently used for determining the results of A/B tests.
  2. **Conversion Rate:
    **Conversion Rate is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on a link in your email and went further to completing a desired action in the email, like purchasing a product for example. After opening, and clicking though on your email, you want your recipient to convert on the offer included in the email. The message and content of your emails is directly linked to the call to action embedded in your email, and the call to action must obviously be linked to your whole email marketing strategy objective, -selling in this case. And thus, you want to keep track of your conversion rate to determine how close you are to achieving your goals.
  3. **ROI (Return of Investment):
    **Knowing how much income your business is making from your email marketing is crucial to a profitable business. The ROI is basically the overall return divided by the total investment for your email campaigns. And you need to keep track of your ROI in order to know if your email marketing strategy is efficient. It is recommended to set a ROI objective before starting your email marketing campaign, and compare your results by the end .

List Growth

Growing our email lists is obviously our ultimate and perpetual aim in email marketing -and sometimes in life. Even when sending an update or a simple welcome email, we deeply, secretly hope it gets us new subscribes through shares or forwards or any other mean. So I would suggest giving time and importance to the following metrics after sending any kind of all emails, but you should definitely meticulously track them if you specifically plan to get more subscribers through your email. You might also want to take a look at our previous article that gives the ultimate tools to grow your email list.

  1. Bounce Rate:
    Bounce Rate is the percentage of the emails you send but that could not reach your recipient inbox, and that could be due to different factors. Bounces are divided in two types :
    *** Soft Bounces
    : Soft bounces are generally due to a temporary issue with a valid recipient email address. The problem could be a full inbox or a server issue, but it’s always coming from the other part not you. You could try to re-sending your emails, or with better luck the server problem would be solved and your emails delivered.
    *** Hard Bounces:
    ** Those are the result of sending emails to an email address that no longer exists. Hard bounces can get you in trouble, as major ISPs rely on your hard bounces as one of the key metrics to determine an email sender’s reputation. Having a high hard bounces rate would make your company look like a spammer or untrusted sender. You should monitor your bounces closely and you definitely should consider using our email verification tool to get rid of bounces.
  2. **Complaint/Abuse Rate:
    **Unfortunately, not everyone will love your email and engaged with it like you wish, some people will be so annoyed with your email that they will mark it as spam. Yes yes it happens and that certainly shouldn’t hurt your feelings . Instead you should use your complaint or abuse rate to figure out what made your recipient mad about your email and try to improve it. Your complaint rate is calculated by dividing the total number of complaints by the total number of recipients. You complain rate should stay below 0.1 percent. You might face deliverability issue and problems with ISPs if your complaint rate is too high.
  3. **Delivery rate:
    The delivery rate is the percentage of emails you send and that efficiently reach your recipients’ inboxes. You can calculate your delivery rate like the following:
    Delivery rate
     **= [ Total emails sent – (soft bounces + hard bounces) ] / total emails sent
    Make sure your delivery rate is above 95%, if it slips below you might want to check your bounces.
  4. **Unengaged subscribers :
    **Worse than unsubscribes are unengaged subscribers. Those are subscribers that receive your emails but never open them nor mark them as spam. Your email are just there hanging in their inbox. Your subscribers low engagement with your emails -also called graymail- will result in harming your overall deliverability. If you notice a growth in your unengaged subscribers percentage, you probably should urgently consider cleaning your email list or try figuring out what bores your audience.
  5. **Churn Rate:
    **Churn rate is simply the annual percentage rate at which customers cut ties with your service or company. Don’t take it personal, the reason for a high churn rate might be a very bad service or it can simply be because your customers changed email addresses or even employers. Bottom line is constantly watch your email list, and we emphasize again on constantly upgrading your email list.
  6. **Unsubscribes rate
    **So you might be wondering why unsubscribes rate is the last one we mention yet it looks like one of the most important metrics. Well surprise surprise! your unsubscribes rate is not that important and is not even reliable to judge the efficiency of your campaign or the quality of your email list. Most of your subscribers wouldn’t bother going thought the whole unsubscribing process – it would be better if they just do!!  – they would rather simply not open, click or engage with your emails. You unsubscribes rate can be useful only in keeping track of your overall list growth, so you wanna check it out from to time, but don’t use it as a measure of the health of your email list. Remember we strive quality not quantity.

Call to action

Here we’re talking about emails that aim to convince the recipient to go a step further and do something for you, not just read the email. And that could be filling a survey**, or a form, engaging in social media or just checking out your latest blog post. **In this case, two major metrics are crucial to track, and those are explained in the selling section: **Click through Rate **and Conversion rate

Informing your audience

And finally comes the nice emails that only aim to inform your audience. Your email could contain a newsletter, an event invitation, or simply an update. So you want your recipients to open your email, and hopefully make the word go around, so you want to track your:

  1. **Share/Forward rate:
    **This is the percentage of people who clicked on a “share this” button to share your email content on social media and/or who forwarded your email to a friend.  The sharing rate can also be used as a good indicator of the quality of your content, if your email goes beyond your own social media and email sphere, it means that your recipients found your content really interesting that they judged it worth being on their social media.
  2. **Open Rate
    **You can use your open rate to know how many of your customers received your information. You can announce the information on the subject line, and if a person opens an email you know for sure they read the subject line.
    You might be wondering again why we put the open rate at the bottom of our article although it’s the first thing that pops in our analytics section. Well, again, the percentage of email recipients who open a given email in not as important as it seems. It’s true that it can help you know how efficient your subject line is, but that is it; it is almost the only interpretation you can get from the open rate.  Moreover, open rates can sometimes be misleading; an email is considered open only if the recipient gets the images embedded, and a lot of people automatically block images in emails and thus won’t be included in the percentage.

More important than knowing and understanding each one of these metrics is knowing how to interpret them to better understand the success or failure of your email marketing strategy. Another important thing to keep in mind is that the map we gave you to track your metrics is not absolute; your objectives might overlap, so you definitely should well grasp your email marketing metrics, and learn how to adapt your metrics to every single email of your campaign.