“Whoa.” That immortal phrase will forever be associated with Keanu Reeves’ “acting” prowess as Neo saw what the Matrix was for the first time. It was also about the same reaction I had when I was first introduced to the wonderful world of email analytics, as I sat there simply overwhelmed by the amount of data staring back at me from my screen. And since I’m way too young to start having grey hair, I decided there was a better way to get to the heart of the information I needed.

There are so many metrics available when it comes to measuring the success of our email marketing campaigns, yet a select few are most useful. Opens, clicks, and revenue may inform you, but they are what I call “raw” numbers. As in, do they really tell you if your readers are doing what you want them to do, be it sign up for a webinar or complete a purchase? At the end of the day, you want to know whether they are engaging with your content and taking action upon it, not just looking at it, saying it’s pretty (or not), and moving on. Your email reports are a starting point, but the 8 tips below will allow you to take these numbers and give you more insight into your readers’ engagement.

So, let’s cut to the chase and bring sexy back to our reporting dashboards, shall we?

1. Delivery Rate

How to compute it: (Number of Emails Sent – Number of Bounces) / Number of Emails Sent

What is it for: Did your email stand a chance at getting into your recipient’s inbox, let alone being read? This metric will tell you how “clean” your mailing list was, (i.e., were the email addresses valid?). On top of that, with spam filters becoming more and more effective (maybe a little too much so), it’s become increasingly difficult, but oh so important, to keep this number as high as possible. To put all chances on your side, try some of our tips for staying out of the spam folder.

2. Open to Deliver Rate

How to compute it: Number of Emails Opened / Number of Emails Delivered

What is it for: This is indicative of the first step of engagement, (i.e., was your subject line enticing enough for your recipient to take a closer look at what you had to tell him/her?). Please note that opens are tracked only in HTML emails with the images turned on, so if your recipient reads the email with the images off, or they get the text version, those emails will not be counted as an open. Also, some email clients’ preview panes will automatically block your images, and thus your previewed email will not be counted either, so take this metric with a grain of salt.

3. Click to Deliver Rate

How to compute it: Number of Clicks / Number of Emails Delivered

What is it for: This is a key metric that will inform you of the quality of your email list, as well as the relevance and effectiveness of your message. What’s the point in having your email delivered and opened, if it’s not clicked on because the content wasn’t interesting enough for the recipient? Don’t be afraid to segment your mailing list and test for maximum efficiency with this particular data point.

4. Subscriber Retention Rate

How to compute it: (Number of subscribers – Bounces – Unsubscribes) / List Size

What is it for: Not only does this measure the effectiveness of your mailing list (i.e., avoiding the spam folder), but also whether you are delivering the right message to the right people (i.e., avoiding getting unsubscribed).

5. Website Bounce Rate

How to compute it: Number of Email Campaign Visits with a Single Page View / Number of Email Campaign Visits

What is it for: OK, so this is more of a metric for your website that you can get from your analytics tool (Google Analytics for example), but it is pretty indicative of whether your email (and thus you, the email marketer) did its job. Did your recipient find what he was looking for after reading your email, or did you (un)purposely mislead him? I hope it’s not the latter.

6. Conversion Rate

How to compute it: Number of Goal Achievements / Number of Visits

What is it for: Also found in your web analytics tool, this is a pretty important one, as it will tell you the success rate at which people actually did what you wanted them to do, in other words, was your message clear and enticing enough to get them to perform the desired action. This could be any action that you are looking for, downloading a whitepaper, donations to your organization, or purchases.

7. Average Revenue per Email Sent

How to compute it: Total Revenue / Number of Emails Sent

What is it for: This will measure how productive your efforts were, but also how clean and targeted your list was in the first place. Similar to the Click to Deliver Rate, segmenting this metric will ensure you better results at each new campaign.

8. Profitability per Email

How to compute it: (Revenue Generated – Campaign Cost – Cost of Goods Sold) / Number of Emails Sent

What is it for: Most analysts measure revenue, order size, etc. but few actually look at whether the email campaign was profitable. What’s the point of “raking in the cash” if you actually lost a lot more trying to do so? And vice-versa, a campaign that looks like it performed poorly could in reality have brought you way more bang for your buck.

There you have it, 8 data points that should help you make better and quicker decisions based on the outcome of your email campaigns. Are there any other numbers you think should figure on your dream analytics dashboard?

© 2012 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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