Email marketing is a powerful tool for increasing business and boasts one of the highest return on investment rates of all marketing channels when executed well. To determine the effectiveness of your email marketing program, it’s important to analyze a number of key performance indicators.  Here are the most important email marketing metrics to measure:

1. Bounce Rate

A bounced email is a message that fails to pass through a recipient’s mail server or other mail handlers, thus never arriving in an recipient’s inbox. There are two types of bounces – hard and soft. Soft bounces are the consequence of a temporary problem with a valid email address, such as a full inbox or a server that’s down. The recipient’s server may hold these messages for delivery once the problem has been fixed, or you may try resending your message. Hard bounces occur when an email address is invalid, closed, or doesn’t exist, and these messages will never be delivered.  Addresses with hard bounces should be cleaned from your email list immediately.

2. Delivery Rate

Delivery rate is the percentage of emails that were successfully delivered to recipients. This metric is calculated by subtracting hard and soft bounces from the gross number of emails sent, then dividing that number by gross emails sent. If a particular campaign has a below average delivery rate, you should examine the subject line and content of that message, to determine if it has been flagged as spam by corporate firewalls or ISPs. Test variable for best results, but aim for a delivery rate of 95% or higher.

3. List Growth Rate

List growth rate is a measurement of how quickly your email list is growing. Calculate your rate by subtracting opt-outs and hard bounces from the number of new email subscribers gained in a given month, and divide that number by the original list size. According to MarketingSherpa, there’s a natural decay of your email marketing list of around 25% annually, so it’s more important than ever to keep your subscriber list healthy and growing.  Providing high-quality, relevant content and encouraging new subscriptions will help your list grow over time.

4. Click-through Rate

Click-through rate (CTR) is likely the first answer you’ll receive when asking email marketers about the metrics they track. This metric is calculated by dividing unique clicks by the number of emails delivered. It’s a good idea to benchmark your CTRs according to the different types of emails you send, since various messages have differing CTRs. For instance, email newsletters often have higher rates than promotional messages. You may also see varying CTRs with loyal customers & fans when compared to prospects.

RELATED: 6 Tips for Increasing Click Thru Rates

5. Email Sharing

Your sharing rate represents the percentage of recipients who clicked on a “share this” button to post email content to a social network and/or clicked on the “forward to a friend” button. This lets you tap into the viral nature of your subscribers’ social networks. Watch your sharing rates carefully to discover things that tend to get shared the most, and use that knowledge when planning future campaigns.

6. Conversion Rate

The ultimate measure of an email campaign’s effectiveness, conversion rate shows you how well an email succeeded in converting subscribers into leads and customers. Conversions occur when someone cllicks through an email, then takes an action you want them to – either immediately or later.  Actions could be filling out a form, completing a survey or making a purchase.

7. Revenue Per Email Sent

A measure of the ROI of a particular email campaign, revenue per email sent is calculated by dividing the total revenue generated from the campaign by the number of emails sent. This metric is great for ecommerce marketers who generate many direct sales from email campaigns.

8. Open Rate

The open rate is the total number of times an email is opened, divided by the total number of emails sent during a campaign. This rate can easily be distorted by image blocking, since an email is only considered opened if the recipient also receives the images embedded in that message. It’s wiser to focus on click-through rate as a better indicator of a successful email delivery.

9. Unsubscribe Rate

While this is the rate at which email subscribers remove themselves from an email list, it isn’t a reliable picture of the health of that list. Many subscribers who are tired of receiving email messages from you won’t bother unsubscribing, and will instead simply quit opening and reading your messages. Thus, it’s far more accurate to measure subscriber engagement by looking at click-through and conversion rates.

Analysis of these metrics allows you to compare the performance of various email marketing campaigns and identify your most effective email marketing strategies. Give your business a boost by improving the effectiveness of one of your most powerful marketing channels – email marketing.



Marissa enjoys social media management and digital platform integrations.