Email Marketing KPIs: 6 Metrics To Make Better Campaigns

Marketing 20 minute read 24th June 2024

Email marketing isn’t about sending many emails daily and hoping for the best. It’s about tracking the results of those emails and making data-driven decisions to encourage better results. Those data are the key performance indicators (KPIs) and tell you if you are reaching relevant business goals. That’s where email marketing KPIs come in.

Things like unsubscribe, delivery, and forward rates aren’t just fancy jargon email marketers use. They’re metrics that allow businesses to track the success of their marketing emails. Doing that gives you a better idea of what’s working.

Imagine the better returns you’ll get if you build on those elements and ditch what doesn’t bring results.

However, what you track often depends on your email marketing goals. If you’re unsure where to start, use this article as a guide.

We’ll discuss everything from why tracking matters to choosing the right metrics, including the six most important ones.

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Does Measuring Email Marketing KPIs Even Matter for Businesses?

Yes, measuring email marketing KPIs matters for every business, whether pro or beginner email marketing. Moreover, having email marketing automation software is only helpful if you know the important KPIs. This process helps businesses analyze their efforts and make data-driven decisions for future campaigns. Here’s how:

  1. Understanding customer behavior: Analyzing KPIs like open rates, click-through rates (CTR), and forward rates shows how your audience interacts with emails. If a customer opens them but never takes action, the offer might need to be stronger. But knowing this won’t be possible without measuring KPIs.
  2. Maximum ROI: If you’re familiar with email marketing, you might have heard about the $46 to $1 ratio. In other words, every dollar you spend on email marketing can bring you $46 back! However, this only happens when you continuously improve and adapt to customer demands and behaviors. That’s another reason why KPIs for email marketing matter for every business.
  3. Better email marketing metrics: Businesses don’t just track their efforts to create graphs and look at the numbers. They use those insights to make the numbers better. The same goes for email marketing KPIs. Measuring these KPIs tells you what’s wrong with your numbers. When you act on that data, you improve the numbers.
  4. Increased email deliverability: Poor metrics can also affect email deliverability. For example, if people don’t open your messages, email service providers might think your content doesn’t interest them. Therefore, it might start marking your messages as spam. That will hurt your deliverability. Another important metric that comes into play here is the sender’s reputation. So, tracking metrics is a must.
  5. Effectiveness of future campaigns: Knowing what’s working and what isn’t in current campaigns can help you improve future email effectiveness. For example, when you change your offers based on what customers prefer.

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How To Choose Email Marketing KPIs To Track

The metrics you track will depend on your overall email marketing goals and the types of emails you send. Therefore, choosing these KPIs isn’t as straightforward as checking how many people opened your messages.

First, you need to lay some groundwork and consider your marketing objectives. What do you want your customers to do due to your email efforts? It can be anything from boosting engagement to increasing website traffic.

All these goals work together to fulfill every business’s ultimate goal of increasing profits. But remember that these goals aren’t the same. Therefore, different things will determine whether you’re achieving these goals successfully.

For example, you’ll have to track the CTR to increase website traffic. But you’ll have to track conversion rates and ROI to judge overall performance.

Moreover, you’ll probably send multiple types of emails to your recipients. There will be marketing emails, newsletters, review requests, and even informative emails.

Each type of email has different performance criteria. So, when choosing email marketing KPIs, you must also consider the type of email. However, this doesn’t mean you should stick to a single metric. The best way to approach this tracking is to combine multiple metrics and measure them continuously.

Lastly, research the market and see what other similar businesses are measuring. Looking at the industry benchmarks will help you judge how well your marketing campaigns perform compared to others.

6 Important Email Marketing Campaign KPIs To Measure

Every email KPI is important depending on what type of campaigns you launch. But focusing on all of them at once will create chaos for your marketing team. Unless, of course, you own an established enterprise with a large team at your disposal.

But narrowing down to the most essential email marketing campaign KPIs would be best if you’re just starting.

So, after learning what email KPIs are and how to choose them, let’s create a helpful list for you. The following sections explore the six metrics you need to know about.

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1. Open Rates

Go for open rates if you want to track the most basic, obvious thing. This tells you the percentage of email recipients who view or open your emails. After all, how will customers take action on your emails if they don’t open them in the first place?

It’s quite easy to calculate this metric. Let’s assume you have the following figures:

  • Sent emails = 1,000
  • Bounced emails = 100
  • Delivered emails = 900
  • Opened emails = 35

Then, your open rate would be:

Opened emails / delivered emails * 100 = 35 / 900 * 100 = 3.88%

A higher open rate means you’re doing a good job with your email outlook. You can intrigue your recipients and encourage them to read what’s inside the email.

But what do you do to increase this metric? The best way to get more open rates is to make your email look good from the outside. You need to work on subject lines and email pretexts since those are the first things recipients will see.

However, there’s a misconception about open rates. Some marketers say they’re the most critical metric, while others rank them behind CTR regarding accuracy.

This is because open rates only count when the recipient receives the images you embed in your emails. However, many people have apps that block this in hopes of saving space. If that’s true with most recipients, the open rates might mislead you.

Therefore, combine open rates with other performance metrics for the most accurate results.

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2. Click-Through Rates (CTR)

Many marketers argue that CTR is the best and most accurate metric to track. This tells you the percentage of people who clicked on at least one link within your emails. It discloses how many people opened your emails and how many took action. That’s one of the main reasons why marketers prefer to track this metric over open rates.

At the end of the day, you want customers to interact with your emails, not just read and ignore them.

If you’re curious about the formula, here’s how to calculate your CTR:

Unique clicks / delivered emails * 100

A high click-through rate means people like your email content. It might also indicate that your offers align with your customer’s expectations.

If you’re unhappy with your CTR, you can try email A/B testing. It’s a process where you experiment with two different emails and see which one performs better.

Use different versions of emails, pretexts, content, CTAs, and images to see which wins.

Then, use the winning elements more often so that people follow through with an action.

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3. Unsubscribe Rates

Not all small business email marketing metrics have to be high in number or percentage. Some KPIs are important to keep as low as possible, and the unsubscribe rate is one of them. It is the percentage of customers who opt out of receiving further emails from you.

Some people shrug it off, thinking they only need to track their emails’ performance. But would a business get the desired result if only a handful of people agree to receive their emails? So, don’t forget to calculate your unsubscribe rates using the following formula:

Unsubscribed users / delivered emails * 100

This metric may mean a few things. Firstly, customers unsubscribe when they no longer need what you have to offer. If that happens, you can’t do much to win the customer back.

Secondly, customers might unsubscribe when they don’t find your emails valuable or enticing. If that’s the case with your messages, you can rethink your email marketing strategy to avoid losing more subscribers.

However, you can’t skip the unsubscribe button or link to force customers to stay. Doing so would go against the compliance guidelines and might result in legal consequences.

Plus, this metric might not always be the most accurate. Some customers don’t go through the process of unsubscribing. They simply stop engaging with your emails when they’re no longer interested.

So you want to get this data and react accordingly to win them back.

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4. Bounce Rates

We mentioned bounced emails earlier in an example. This is another metric that needs to be low for your email marketing strategy to be successful.

It is the percentage of emails that email service providers bounce back to the sender. Put simply, providers can’t deliver these emails to the recipient due to issues with the email list or sending practices. However, there are two types of bounces.

  • Soft bounces: These happen temporarily due to a full inbox, temporary server issue, or unavailability of the recipient’s mailbox. They’re not too problematic since you don’t need to act upon these bounces immediately. Simply monitor them and try sending the emails later.
  • Hard bounces: These bounces are a bit more worrisome since they’re permanent delivery failures. They occur due to invalid recipient emails, the domain’s unavailability, or the server’s refusal to receive your emails. Hard bounces indicate removing these email addresses to maintain a clean, hygienic email list.

Again, the formula for calculating bounce rates is quite simple. Divide the number of bounced emails by the number of delivered emails and multiply the answer by 100.

Remember, a high bounce rate can damage your reputation among email service providers. As a result, your SPAM complaint rate might increase, affecting your email deliverability.

If you’re unaware of the SPAM complaint rate, it simply means the number of recipients who mark your emails as spam.

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5. Delivery Rates

Delivery rates are the exact opposite of bounce rates. They tell you the percentage of emails you send that successfully reach the recipient’s inbox.

These emails bypass all initial hurdles like spam filters or mailbox limitations. Again, it’s one of the key performance indicators that should be high for your email marketing to produce desirable results. But what causes low delivery rates, and are those factors even in your control?

Firstly, an unhealthy email list with invalid addresses will affect your deliverability. Understandably, your emails won’t reach an email address that doesn’t exist. That’s the most important reason to maintain your email list. If you ignore this aspect of delivery rates, you might get a bad sender reputation.

Email authentication protocols like SPF and DKIM help verify your address’s legitimacy. Issues with these protocols might also affect your delivery rates.

Even sending emails too frequently can contribute to this problem. Therefore, keep your content non-spammy and balance the number of emails you send. Doing so will help keep your delivery rates between 90% to 98%, which is a good percentage.

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6. Web Traffic and Conversion Rates

Increasing website traffic and boosting conversions ultimately translate into more revenue, profit, and customer loyalty for small businesses.

Start measuring website traffic and conversion rates if that’s what you’re after. But what are these, you might ask?

Website traffic is simply the number of people who visit your website through email marketing efforts. Google Analytics or your own website’s analytics are enough to learn this number.

Alternatively, the conversion rate is the percentage of recipients who take a desired action after opening your emails. It is the ultimate metric to judge the effectiveness of your campaigns.

If you want to increase this percentage, make sure your emails are relevant, engaging, and resonate with your audience.

Is Measuring KPIs Enough for Email Marketing Growth?

No, simply measuring and tracking email marketing KPIs won’t do much for growth. This is a common email marketing mistake. You must analyze those numbers and learn from them. That’s when you’ll experience real growth. Monitor your open rates, conversion rates, CTR, bounce rates, and unsubscribe rates, and continuously improve your email strategy.

Do you want help with email marketing KPIs? At Beambox, we help you achieve success in email marketing. Beambox offers an all-in-one WiFi marketing platform for gathering contacts, running campaigns, and attracting and retaining customers.

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