“How do I know if my emails are actually working?”
In 2024, about 4.48 billion people around the world will be using email, and this number keeps growing. A lot of these users get a bunch of marketing messages in their email, usually hidden in a “promotions” section.
If you’re using email marketing in your creator business (we hope you are!) Sometimes the biggest question mark is determining which email KPIs to use as your north stars.
The success of your emails ultimately depends on what’s most important to you. Is it open rate, replies, sales, or something else?
To help you figure it out, we’re sharing 15 email marketing metrics you can use to understand which content and products your audience loves, why they unsubscribe, and more.
Plus, you’ll learn how to boost your email marketing campaign KPIs and optimize their use based on your current business stage.
Understanding Email Marketing KPIs
“Effective email marketing is not about blasting your message to as many people as possible; it’s about delivering the right message to the right people at the right time.” – Andrea Loubier
From newsletters to “back in stock” alerts, email marketing gives you a direct line to customers and leads for promoting your brand or product. Whether it’s exclusive offers, informative content roundups, or company updates, you can tailor your email campaigns to resonate with different segments of your audience.
This targeted approach, known as audience segmentation, is why email marketing remains a powerhouse in 2024.
But why bother? The numbers speak for themselves:
- High ROI: Email outperforms other marketing channels, generating an average return of $42 for every dollar spent.
- Organic Reach: 79% of B2B marketers rank email among their top free organic channels for content distribution.
- Lead Nurturing: 77% of B2B companies use an email newsletter for marketing, As a part of their content marketing plan.”
A real world example.
For example, a client of ours sent out an email last year to a fairly cold list. We saw a remarkable 25% open rate on that email, considering most of the list had never heard of the client, but as we dug into the numbers, we encountered this.
Can you guess what time the email was sent? Yup, 3:20 PM. It’s important to note too, that we cropped this image – the number of people opening the cold email within 1 minute of the send was in the hundreds, almost 40% our total unique opens.
After we pulled the list of opens, we then cross-referenced these same emails with the clicks on our “hidden bot link” (more on that later) and found that they were almost identical. We came to the conclusion that the majority of people opening within 1-5 minutes of our email send were not opening the email at all – their email protection software was.
Whether these people viewed the email themselves later was largely irrelevant – the damage was already done to the unique open rate. And let’s use some social logic here too; how many times have you opened an email right away from a company you probably have never heard of, during the middle of a workday? Probably not that often.
The main takeaway for opens is not to rely on them at all, apart from A/B testing within a short time frame. We can expect industry-wide open rates to gradually decrease over time.
What is a KPI, and why is it important?
A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is like a scorecard that shows how well your marketing plan is doing. It tells you if you’re getting more leads, making more sales, earning more money, and getting more people interested. KPIs are like guides for your marketing campaigns.
If the numbers look good, your campaign is likely to do well. But if they’re not so good, you need to make quick changes to get things back on track.
Without KPIs and goals, your marketing plan doesn’t really mean anything. It might end up costing you more time and money than it’s worth. In every email marketing campaign, there are specific goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure how well it’s doing.
Your goal might be to get a certain number of leads, gain new email subscribers, or increase how many people open your emails.
Marketers use different ideas to set goals for their email campaigns. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) and CLEAR (Collaborative, Limited, Emotional, Appreciable, and Refinable) are the usual strategies for goal-setting.
These methods can assist you in determining appropriate goals for your email marketing campaigns and choosing which KPIs to monitor.
15 Essential Email Marketing KPIs to Track
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are crucial for successful email marketing. They act as a guide, helping you understand if your email marketing efforts are working.
Below, find 15 KPIs that every email marketer should keep an eye on:
1. Delivery Rate
A delivery rate indicates the number of emails accepted by the recipients’ server. Basically, an email counts as delivered if it didn’t bounce. You can calculate your delivery rate using the following formula –
- Delivery Rate = (Number of emails delivered/Number of emails sent) x 100
- Example: 39,000 emails delivered / 40,000 emails sent x 100 = 97,5%
A deliverability rate (a.k.a inbox placement) measures the number of emails that have actually reached the recipient’s inbox or any other folder (except the spam one). This metric is based on the domain’s setup, authentication and reputation.
So, if something goes Pete Tong, the burden lies on the shoulders of the ESP from a technical perspective, or your copywriting if the email campaign is filled with spam words – free, best, download now etc!!
Simply because you have 100, 1,000 or 10,000 email addresses on your mailing list(s) doesn’t mean all your emails will be delivered. Achieving a 100% deliverability rate is virtually impossible.
While achieving a perfect 100% email deliverability rate isn’t possible, setting a goal of at least 97% is a smart benchmark.
Several factors can contribute to lower delivery rates, including:
- Missing custom authentication
- Using single opt-in sign-up forms
- Creating obstacles for users to unsubscribe
- Employing spam-like subject lines and email content
- Issues with internet service providers (ISPs)
2. Open Rate
An open rate indicates how many times your subscribers opened your email compared to the total number of emails delivered (or sent). Most ESPs automatically calculate this email marketing KPI for you. However, if you want to double-check the numbers, you can always use this formula –
- Email Open Rate = (Number of Emails Opened / Number of Emails Delivered) x 100
- Example: 12,150 opened emails / 37,000 emails delivered x 100 = 32.8%
It’s the percentage of your emails that get opened, revealing how interested your readers are in your content. High subscriber count but low open rate? Time to shake things up!
Calculate your open rate by dividing the number of opened emails by the total sent, then multiply by 100. But no sweat, most email marketing platforms track this metric for you.
Curious about industry averages? The overall open rate across sectors was 28.80% in January 2022. Faith-based organizations topped the charts with 40.66%, followed by Child Care Services (37.61%) and Family and Social Services (35.51%).
What’s a good open rate? Well, that’s a big question. Across the board, open rates for email marketing campaigns hover around 25%. Though, if you manage to get a higher rate than that then you’re certainly doing something right.
Captivate the inbox and ignite clicks with personalized emails, subject lines that pique curiosity, and body copy that compels action. Open rate, a key metric for marketers, acts as a progress report, revealing how engagement evolves over time. Whether comparing weekly, monthly, or even individual email performance, a focus on personalization, subject line mastery, and engaging content paves the path to inbox wins.
3. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
A click-through rate (CTR) is another common email marketing KPI which helps businesses to establish the level of success of their email marketing campaigns.
A CTR measures the number of recipients who clicked on one or more links within a given email. The following formula can help you calculate your CTR –
- CTR = (Number of Total Email Clicks/Number of Delivered Emails) x 100
- Example: 1,500 email clicks / 25,000 emails delivered x 100 = 6%
As an email marketer, you should also measure individual and holistic CTR. Individual CTR measures how many people clicked through, while holistic CTR tells you how many clicks took place.
What’s a good CTR? As with your open rate, your CTR can be influenced by different things. Some businesses may observe a 20-30% CTR for welcome emails or email campaigns calling for specific actions (like downloading an ebook). However, an average click-through rate is around 4%.
In order to improve this crucially important email marketing KPI, you must carry out frequent A/B testing – on wording, content layout, CTAs design as well as images used in your email.
4. Bounce Rate
As email marketers, we are all familiar with what a bounce rate is. However, let’s go through the details just one more time, shall we?
The bounce rate measures the number of recipients who did not receive your email. Basically, it’s the percentage of email addresses that returned an error after the email’s been sent.
The average across industries sits at 10.14%, but it varies greatly depending on your niche. Legal Services face the highest hurdle with 17.15%, while artists, writers, and performers enjoy the lowest at 3.27%.
Want to crunch your own numbers?
There also two types of bounces –
a) soft bounces – temporary issues with a valid email address. For example, a full inbox or problems with the recipient’s server; and
b) hard bounces – permanent issues with the emails on your mailing list. For example, invalid, closed or non-existent email addresses.
You can calculate your bounce rate using the following formula –
- Bounce Rate = (Total number of bounced emails/Total number of emails sent) x 100
- Example: 80 bounced emails / 15,000 emails sent x 100 = 0.53%
5. Total vs. Unique Open Rate
While open rates are typically the first metric marketers check, focusing solely on the total open rate can paint an incomplete picture. Why? Because it counts every single open, even if the same user reads your email ten times. Enter the unique open rate, which cuts through the noise and tells you how many individual recipients engaged with your message.
This distinction is crucial. A handful of hyper-engaged users or automated bots inflating your total open rate can mask a campaign’s true reach.
For marketers looking to genuinely grow their email lists and foster meaningful connections, the unique open rate is the north star. It reveals the true breadth of your audience and provides a more accurate gauge of your email’s effectiveness.
6. Sharing Rate
Forget vanity metrics; the ultimate measure of reader engagement? Seeing your content shared with friends, family, and colleagues. A high sharing rate is the heartbeat of a successful email campaign, for good reason.
Those loyal subscribers who hit “forward” become your brand ambassadors, sharing their honest word-of-mouth with their networks. This social proof is gold, boosting your credibility and reaching new audiences organically.
Calculating your sharing rate is simple: divide the number of “share” or “forward” button clicks by the total number of delivered emails, then multiply by 100. Aim high, marketers! Every shared email fuels lead generation and drives sales, amplifying your reach and impact.
7. Unsubscribe Rate
This email marketing KPI is one of the ‘musts’ you should be tracking. There’s also much you can learn from it.
The unsubscribe rate represents the percentage of recipients who opted-out from receiving your future email messages. Basically, it counts the number of recipients who clicked on the unsubscribe link in your marketing email.
Normally, most ESPs add this link to your emails automatically. However, if it’s missing make sure you add it as it’s also a legal requirement. You don’t want to force people to stay on your mailing list if they don’t want to be there, do you?
Your unsubscribe rate is usually automatically calculated by your ESP, however, this formula can help you do it yourself –
- Unsubscribe Rate = (Total number of people who unsubscribed/ Total number of emails delivered) x 100
- Example: 25 people unsubscribed / 5,000 emails delivered x 100 = 0.5%
What’s a good unsubscribe rate? Depending on your emailing frequency, your unsubscribe rate will definitely fluctuate. A healthy unsubscribe rate is around 0.2%. Anything above this average should be alarming and will require your immediate attention.
8. Spam Rate
Spam rate (a.k.a abuse or complaint) measures the number of times recipients reported your marketing emails as unwanted or worse, as spam. Email complaints often occur when a recipient clicks on the TiS button in their email client.
Most ESPs calculate your complaint rate automatically, however, here’s a formula for you to use –
- Email Complaint Rate = (Number of complaints/Total number of emails sent) x 100
- Example: 5 complains / 5,500 emails sent x 100 = 0.09%
What’s a good complaint rate? Well, there’s no such thing as a ‘good’ complaint rate. However, an email complaint rate lower than 0.1% (1 complaint for every 1,000 emails sent) is considered to be acceptable – as an industry standard.
Any percentage above 0.1 is considered high and may affect not only your email deliverability but also result in your account being suspended by the ESPs.
To ensure your emails land in inboxes and not spam folders, it’s crucial to maintain a low spam rate. According to experts, an acceptable spam rate is typically below 0.1%.
Here are key strategies to keep your spam rate low and safeguard email deliverability:
- Prioritize explicit opt-ins: Only send emails to individuals who have actively opted in to receive them.
- Implement double opt-in: This process involves sending a confirmation email to verify genuine interest and reduce spam complaints.
- Offer effortless unsubscribe options: Make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe if they wish, as this can prevent unwanted emails and spam reports.
- Refrain from purchased email lists: Avoid using third-party email lists, as they often contain outdated or unverified addresses that can elevate spam rates.
- Welcome new subscribers warmly: Greet new subscribers with a welcoming email that introduces your brand and reinforces their choice to join your list.
9. Conversion Rate
A conversion rate indicates the number of recipients that have acted on your email. It represents the percentage of recipients that have clicked on a link within your marketing email and then completed an action – filling a signup form, participating in a sale or claiming a discount designed specifically for them.
The formula you can use to calculate your conversion rate is –
- Conversion Rate = (Number of Completed Actions/Number of Email Delivered) x 100
- Example: 400 completed actions / 8,000 emails delivered x 100 = 5%
What is a good conversion rate? That’s a tough one to answer. It all depends on your business’s goals for each of your campaigns as well as the industry sector. You can find more details about the average conversion rate for a range of sectors (including B2B conversions) here.
The best way to successfully measure this very important email marketing KPI is by integrating your ESP as well as your web analytics (like
) and by creating a unique tracking URL for each link in your marketing emails.
It’s important to keep in mind that your CTAs are directly linked to your conversions. As such, they must be linked directly to the end-goal of your email campaigns.
10. List Growth Rate
Curious about whether your email campaigns are landing with subscribers? The list growth rate is a key metric that can tell you. It measures the change in your subscriber list over time, revealing whether your audience is growing, stagnant, or even shrinking.
A growing list is a positive sign that your emails are resonating with readers and keeping them engaged. On the other hand, a stagnant or declining list suggests that your strategy needs some adjustments to better entice and retain subscribers.
Here’s the formula to calculate your list growth rate:
List growth rate = [(Number of new subscribers) – (Number of unsubscribers + spam complaints)] ÷ Total number of email addresses on your list] x 100
To encourage organic list growth, focus on crafting content that subscribers can’t resist sharing with their peers.
11. Engagement Over Time
To keep your email list healthy and effective, it’s crucial to identify and remove unengaged recipients. These are subscribers who initially opted in but no longer open your emails. Keeping them on your list can have several negative consequences.
First, unengaged readers inflate your subscriber count, but they don’t engage with your content. This means you’re spending money to send emails to people who aren’t reading them.
Second, email providers often take engagement rates into account when deciding where to deliver emails. If you have a high number of unengaged recipients, your emails may be more likely to end up in spam folders, even for those who want to receive them.
Marketers often refer to emails that subscribers no longer want as “graymail.” Regularly purging your list of graymail can significantly improve your overall email performance in the long run.
12. Mobile Open Rate
We’re reaching a critical moment where mobile use will exceed desktop. HubSpot found that already 46% of email opens happen on mobile. However, many companies still neglect to optimize their emails for these smaller screens.
This can lead to frustration for readers who encounter misaligned layouts or unreadable text. The consequences? Increased unsubscribe rates and lower overall open rates.
To uncover how many of your subscribers are using mobile devices, dive deeper into your email open rates by device. Email marketing software can help you segment this data. Then, use this formula to calculate your mobile open rate:
Mobile open rate = (Number of opens on mobile / Total email opens) x 100
If a significant portion of your audience is reading emails on mobile, it’s crucial to optimize both your emails and their linked landing pages for seamless viewing on all major mobile devices.
13. Revenue Per Subscriber
Knowing which segments of your email list bring in the most dough is gold for crafting targeted campaigns that boost sales. Revenue per subscriber (RPS) reveals the hidden gems within your audience, allowing you to tailor emails that inspire them to open their wallets.
But RPS isn’t just about boosting sales; it’s also a powerful tool for assessing the value of your email list. A massive list that’s generating peanuts simply isn’t worth the time, money, and resources it devours. Calculating RPS, you can identify list segments that need a sales spark or might be better off culled, freeing up those precious resources for lead generation strategies with higher ROI potential.
The RPS calculation is straightforward: simply divide your total revenue generated by the number of subscribers. This metric empowers marketers to pinpoint which lists and campaigns are driving the most bang for their buck, allowing them to laser-focus their efforts on truly profitable segments.
14. Revenue Per Email
Ever wondered which emails actually clink in the cash register? Revenue per email (RPE) shines a light on your most persuasive campaigns, guiding you to focus on the types that truly move the needle. It’s like a personal finance guru for your inbox, revealing the dollars behind every “sent” button.
Simply divide your campaign revenue by the number of delivered emails, and voila! You’ve got your RPE. This magic number speaks volumes, showcasing the direct marketing impact of each email. Think of it as the net gain per message, highlighting which types resonate most with your audience and drive sales.
15. Overall ROI
This particular email marketing KPI is considered to be essential for measuring the success of your email marketing efforts and it also gives you insight into your campaign’s value.
We all probably know what return on investment (ROI) measures. However, just for the sake of it, let’s have a quick reminder.
ROI is a metric used to evaluate the efficiency as well as the profitability of an investment. In our case, it’s also one of the key email marketing metrics to monitor as it accurately measures the cost-effectiveness of email campaigns. An email marketing ROI shows us how much we earned from our email campaigns in comparison to the costs which we incurred to implement them.
You can calculate your email marketing ROI by using the following formula –
- Email Marketing ROI = [(Value of sales made from an email campaign – Campaign costs)/Campaign costs] x 100
- Example: [(£1,500 in sales – £300 in campaign costs)/£300 in campaign costs] x 100 = 400% ROI for the campaign.
We can’t emphasize enough on the fact that email marketing has an ROI of 42:1 which is not only encouraging but also, an excellent reason for those who have yet to leverage this channel should start.
Tips to Boost Your Email Marketing Performance
If you’re tracking the above metrics and the results are not as great as expected, then it’s time to revamp your email marketing campaign. Here are some tips you can use:
1. Create Targeted Emails
If you’re still blasting emails to one giant list, it’s time to hit the brakes and segment. Email segmentation means dividing your subscribers into smaller groups based on shared interests, behavior, or demographics. This way, you can tailor your messages to each segment, making them feel hyper-relevant and personalized.
SuperOffice did a test – same email, one to their whole list, one to a segmented group. Guess what? The segmented email saw a whopping 94% open rate! That’s the power of speaking directly to what your audience cares about.
In the digital age, content personalization reigns supreme. While it plays a crucial role in broader content strategies, its impact shines brightest in email marketing.
Imagine your readers receiving emails tailored to their specific interests, rather than generic blasts that clog their inboxes. Such targeted messages are not only more likely to be opened and read, but also see a significant boost in click-through rates (CTR).
Personalization fosters a sense of connection with your audience, making them feel valued and understood. This translates to higher engagement, increased conversions, and ultimately, a more successful email marketing campaign.
2. Get the Basics Right
Craft emails that captivate by checking off these key ingredients:
- Subject lines that spark curiosity and clarity: Draw attention with phrases that resonate, like “newsletter” or “video,” while ensuring relevance to your content.
- Visuals that pack a punch: Engage readers with eye-catching images and graphics that complement your message and enhance its impact.
- Body copy that compels action: Ignite interest with well-written, persuasive content that captivates readers and guides them seamlessly towards your desired outcome.
- CTA buttons strategically placed for success: Position calls to action thoughtfully, inviting readers to take that crucial next step, whether it’s visiting a website, making a purchase, or simply staying connected.
3. Use Different Email Types
Break out of the inbox monotony! Instead of one-note email blasts, diversify your calendar with a variety of email types.
Sending 3-5 emails per week?
Blend promotional offers (think flash sales and limited-time deals) with valuable content like curated summaries and informative newsletters.
4. Test Emails
Imagine experimenting with different layouts, subject lines, copywriting styles, and color schemes, then unveiling what truly resonates with your audience. Track open rates, click-through rates, and engagement metrics to identify the winning formula. Don’t forget to ensure seamless viewing across all devices, desktop and mobile alike.
5. Leverage Email Marketing Automation
Email marketing can be a powerful tool, but managing and sending campaigns manually can be a real time-suck. That’s where email marketing automation software comes in, streamlining your process from A to Z.
When a user leaves items in their cart, a pre-designed email automatically triggers, gently reminding them to complete their purchase. This not only saves you time, but also increases your chances of converting those stragglers.
The beauty of automation extends beyond abandoned carts. Welcome emails, birthday greetings, seasonal promotions, blog updates – you name it, you can automate it. This frees up your valuable time to focus on what truly matters: crafting high-quality, personalized emails that resonate with your audience.
When measuring the success of your email marketing campaigns, data monitoring and analysis are indispensable.
We’ve already outlined 15 important email marketing KPIs for businesses to keep track of. However, setting clear goals and determining the most relevant email marketing KPIs for your industry is imperative.
There might be even more metrics that would suit your business needs better but, by tracking the ones we’ve told you about, you’ll get the most out of every email campaign you send.