Data doesn’t lie. And when it comes to gauging the engagement of your email campaigns, there are a handful of email marketing engagement metrics to keep an eye on at the end of every send. You may know most of these already, but some carry more weight than others:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Click-to-open rate
- Conversion rates
- Unsubscribe rate
By the way, Mailchimp puts out a great benchmark report on email engagement stats by industry. Let’s discuss each one.
Your open rate is the ratio of the total number of emails opened to the total number of emails delivered. Many platforms also offer a unique open rate, which counts multiple opens by a single user as only one. The unique open rate is typically a better indicator of campaign performance. Keep in mind that extreme open rates—either too high or too low—are usually tied to the subject line.
The click rate is the ratio of total clicks to the total number of emails delivered. Some platforms only consider unique clicks, where duplicate clicks are ignored, or even simply compute the ratio as a percentage of unique recipients that clicked. In any case, be sure to find out how click rate is calculated by your platform.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
This number is a little different from click rate—it’s the ratio of clicks to the number of opens (as opposed to number of emails delivered). Like a unique click rate, you can also have a unique CTR. In many ways, though, it’s much more descriptive than open rate because it tells you how well your subject line aligns with the content of your email. A key component of keeping engagement high is building trust over time with the idea that the open will be “worth it” for the user. Look at overall performance to see if this number is trending up, trending down, or remaining consistent.
Note: Different platforms call click rate and CTR metrics by different names. Be sure to double-check the definitions of whatever platform you’re using.
This golden marketing metric is the number of users that convert by taking further action once they’re on your landing page. How you define a conversion depends on your business; it may involve the prospect buying something, upgrading, filling out a form, or otherwise raising their proverbial hand. Many email marketers overlook this number, which is odd because it’s the bedrock of determining your ROI.
One metric that can be very telling is the unsubscribe rate, or the percentage of people who opt out against the total number of emails delivered. If your unsubscribe rates are low, that’s usually an indicator that you’re doing things well enough if the other email marketing success metrics are also in good health. Otherwise, if your unsubscribe rate inches up, look to see if one of those other email marketing performance metrics has gone awry—that’s the likely culprit. For example, if CTR’s are suddenly very low and unsubscribe rates are trending high, there’s very likely a mismatch between your subject lines and the content of your messaging.
High unsubscribe rates—generally above about 0.5%—are simply bad news because they negatively impact your reputation as a sender. And if they remain consistently high, you’ll have an even harder time making your way into people’s inboxes. There are plenty of things that can cause unsubscribe rates to climb, so it’s usually best to focus on being proactive with regard to whom you email in the first place rather than being reactive once you’ve annoyed them beyond repair.
Now that you know what the key email marketing metrics are, you know what to concern yourself with when you’re trying to improve email marketing performance. Which email marketing engagement metric has the most room for improvement in your business?