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10 Essential Email Marketing KPIs You Should Be Tracking

What happens to the email campaigns you send? Do they get lost in the digital abyss? 

How do you keep track of them?

Or are you keeping track of them?

Join us for an adventure exploring the essential email marketing KPIs for a fruitful email marketing strategy

But be careful, some of these metrics are not what they seem! There are hidden traps along the way 🤫

Key Takeaways

  • KPIs, key performance indicators, are indicators of the effectiveness of your email campaigns.
  • Certain email marketing metrics paint a clear picture of how well specific email components perform, such as subject lines, content, and design.
  • Tracking email KPIs and monitoring each element can help you spot subtle changes in consumer habits.
  • Closely monitoring certain email KPIs helps detect any issues or trends that might negatively impact your campaigns.

Why Track and Analyse Email Marketing KPIs?

Email marketing key performance indicators, or email KPIs, are invaluable tools for assessing the effectiveness of your email campaigns. By diligently monitoring these metrics, you gain critical insights into various aspects of your email marketing efforts.

But why is it so crucial to track and analyse email marketing KPIs?

Email marketing KPIs allow you to measure the impact of your campaigns with precision. They provide a clear snapshot of how well specific components perform, such as subject lines, content, and design. This detailed feedback lets you identify what’s working and what isn’t, empowering you to make data-driven decisions for future campaigns.

Tracking email KPIs helps you understand your audience better. It reveals their preferences, behaviour, and engagement levels, allowing you to tailor your messages to their needs and interests. This level of email personalisation can significantly boost the relevance and effectiveness of your emails.

Email marketing KPIs serve as early warning systems. By closely monitoring these metrics, you can promptly detect any issues or trends that might negatively impact your campaigns. This proactive approach enables you to make timely adjustments, preventing potential damage to your sender reputation and overall campaign success.

Which Email Marketing KPIs to Track?

Time to explore the specifics of which email marketing KPIs to track for email marketing excellence! 

1. Delivery Rate

Delivery Rate, the percentage of emails delivered, is perhaps the most important email marketing KPI since it answers the question, “Did my intended audience receive the campaign?”

Because if your email campaigns are not reaching their intended inboxes or going directly to the spam, there is no point to your emails’ contents. If you see a sudden dip in your delivery rates, you must act quickly to find out why.

2. Open Rate

Open Rate is the percentage of email recipients who opened a particular email. It’s calculated by dividing the number of email opens by the total number of delivered emails.

Most email marketers still go above and beyond to optimise their subject lines for greater open rates. While tracking open rate provides insight into the initial engagement with your content, it can be a highly deceptive metric.

Read more: Email Subject Line Testing Best Practices

Because high open rates don’t guarantee that the recipient read or acted upon the email’s content. For a more comprehensive assessment of your campaign’s effectiveness, it’s crucial to consider other KPIs alongside the open rate.

3. Click-Through Rate

Click-Through Rate (CTR) is the percentage of recipients who clicked at least one of the links in the email campaign they received. 

Tracking CTR provides a direct measure of engagement and helps evaluate the effectiveness of email content and call-to-action (CTA) strategies. Monitoring CTR is also instrumental in A/B testing, enabling you to test different design and content elements and optimise engagement.

However, focusing solely on CTR might be misleading, as it doesn’t consider the actual conversion or the quality of clicks. If the recipient clicks on the Instagram icon at the bottom of the page and not the “Shop Now” button for your latest Black Friday campaign, is it still as important? 

That’s why it’s essential to complement CTR analysis with other metrics to gain a more comprehensive view of campaign success.

4. Clicks by Link

Clicks by Link measures the percentage of recipients clicking on a particular link within an email. It’s calculated by dividing the number of clicks on that specific link by the total clicks in the email.

This is perhaps one of the most important email marketing KPIs you should track to gain granular insights into the performance of individual links and understand which elements of your emails are driving engagement.

This metric offers a clearer, more detailed picture of a campaign’s success, allowing for precise optimisation and tailoring of content to maximise results.

5. Bounce Rate

There are over 4 billion email addresses today, with many people having more than one. Unsurprisingly, not all of them are active. Who among us has never abandoned ship when the flood of subscriptions and junk mail gets too much?

There are two types of Bounce Rates you should consider:

  • Soft Bounce: A soft bounce is caused by temporary issues like a full inbox or server issue. Once the problem is solved, marketers can resend the email.
  • Hard Bounce: A hard bounce happens when the email address is invalid or permanently closed. A high hard bounce rate will reflect poorly on the sender’s reputation, making them look like an email spammer. 

Removing these problematic addresses, especially for hard bounces, is essential for maintaining a high-quality email list and ensuring that campaigns reach their intended audience.

6. Unsubscribe Rate

The Unsubscribe Rate is the percentage of recipients who opt out of an email list, calculated by dividing the number of unsubscribes by the total delivered emails. 

Many marketers perceive email unsubscribe rate negatively, yet it isn’t the boogeyman of email marketing KPIs. Tracking unsubscribe rate helps you maintain a healthy and engaged subscriber base, ensuring your emails are reaching an audience genuinely interested in their content.

Regularly monitoring and optimising this metric can lead to more effective campaigns and stronger, long-term customer relationships.

7. Forwarding Rate and Social Shares

Forwarding Rate and Social Shares gauge the extent to which recipients share your email content. This is calculated by tracking the number of times an email is forwarded or shared on social media.

Monitoring this helps you assess the impact of your emails on brand awareness and audience growth. Encouraging readers to share content increases brand exposure and attracts new contacts, fostering list growth and lead generation.

Including social sharing buttons simplifies this process, making it easier for recipients to amplify your content across their networks, ultimately contributing to greater brand visibility and reach.

8. Spam Complaints

Spam Complaints reflect the percentage of recipients who mark an email as spam, calculated by dividing the number of complaints by the total delivered emails.

This KPI has both immediate and long-term implications. It can affect email marketing effectiveness and, more critically, your email sender’s reputation. 

High spam complaint rates can significantly reduce email deliverability. Industry averages typically stay below 0.01%, so exceeding this threshold signals the need to build trust and optimise email content.

You should avoid using spam-related terms in subject lines and reduce email frequency to mitigate spam complaints. A clean email list, along with proactive list-building practices, is vital for maintaining a strong sender reputation and ensuring email success.

9. Most and Least Engaged Subscribers

The “Most and Least Engaged Subscribers” metric identifies the segments of your email list with the highest and lowest levels of engagement. It’s calculated by assessing open rates, click-through rates, and overall interaction with email campaigns.

Understanding these groups is pivotal for effective email segmentation. The most engaged subscribers are likelier to respond to promotions. In contrast, the least engaged might benefit from re-engagement campaigns or different content strategies.

By targeting each segment with relevant content, you can enhance overall campaign performance and nurture stronger connections with their audience.

10. List Growth Rate

List Growth Rate measures the speed at which your email subscriber list is expanding and is calculated by comparing the number of new subscribers to the overall list size.

You should track this KPI because it indicates the health and sustainability of your email marketing efforts. A positive growth rate signifies an increasing audience, more leads, and a broader reach.

How to Improve Email Marketing KPIs

1. Optimise Your Email Subject Lines

An email subject line serves as the recipient’s first impression of your email. It’s where they make the decision to open the email or not.

These subject lines shouldn’t be too long and should summarise the whole email. It should be eye-catching and make the person want to learn more about what is to come. Using emojis can be helpful since you can show a facial expression with one emoji; the colours are also eye-catching.

To summarise, these are the main points that email marketers should consider:

  • Keep the subject line short and explanatory.
  • Use keywords related to the email’s content.
  • Don’t use generic expressions such as “hello”, “good morning”, etc.
  • Use numbers if applicable.
  • Use emojis if deemed appropriate.
  • Try asking questions.
  • Personalise the subject lines.
  • A/B test your subject lines.

2. Segment Your Email List

Email segmentation is a prerequisite for any email marketing strategy at this point. Inboxes everywhere flood with hundreds of emails every day. Suppose you want better results for the email marketing KPIs you’re tracking. In that case, you need to ensure your campaigns captivate your intended audience.

The campaign’s relevance holds the key to garnering your audience’s active engagement, which can only be achieved with the proper segmentation strategy. The primary email segmentation strategies are based on demographic, geographic, email engagement, and behavioural segmentation.

3. Personalise Your Emails

The era of generic, one-size-fits-all emails is behind us. Today, your subscribers hunger for content that speaks to their unique preferences and desires.

Fostering a robust bond between a brand and its audience necessitates meaningful interactions. Personalised emails provide a direct avenue to realise this objective. You can foster connections that transcend the digital divide by harnessing the power of data, technology, and creativity.

4. Keep Your Emails Short and Sweet

Your email should be brief. Keep the critical messages near the top of the email because interest in email content decreases as it goes below the fold. By optimising your headlines, you will reach out to more readers to read your whole email. Keep a headline’s opening two words informative since they are the most significant.

Get straight to the point if you want to keep your readers reading your email. Decide if it’s worthwhile to include any drawn-out introductions or pleasantries because most readers will skip them. Avoid including any crucial information in the introduction if it is required.

5. Send Test Emails Before Sending Out the Campaigns

Sending test emails before launching campaigns is a critical step in email marketing. These test emails allow you to catch and rectify various issues that could impact your email’s performance and KPIs.

This preview can identify and address problems such as broken links, typos, incorrect subject lines, display irregularities, broken designs, untracked links, and grammatical errors.

However, it’s vital to recognise that what appears perfect may not necessarily align with your subscribers’ preferences due to rendering differences. Ensuring that your emails are well-structured and rendered correctly for every recipient is paramount to achieving success in email marketing.

Wrapping Up

Tracking email marketing KPIs is an indispensable practice for achieving success in email campaigns. These key performance indicators provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your emails, enabling data-driven decision-making.

From open rates and CTRs to forwarding and spam complaints, monitoring these metrics helps maintain email sender’s reputation and ensures content relevance. Marketers should also focus on engaging the most and least active subscribers and regularly send test emails to identify and rectify issues.

By keeping a close eye on these KPIs, you can optimise your email marketing strategy and build strong, lasting connections with your audience.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on January 4, 2023, and was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on November 10, 2023.

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