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Updated Feb 14, 2024

Email Analytics You Should Be Tracking

These email analytics can inform your email marketing campaigns, improving customer engagement and driving more conversions.

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Sean Peek, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Ownership
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Email marketing is a powerful marketing tool for companies of all sizes — but especially for small businesses. Not only does it build trust in consumers and foster more meaningful connections, but it can also drive traffic to your site and convert leads into loyal paying customers. 

However, sending out emails and hoping you make an impression is not enough. To reap the benefits of email marketing, learn how to track email analytics so you can improve your results. Some key metrics to track include open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates and conversion rates. Regularly monitoring and analyzing these analytics can help you optimize email campaigns for better engagement and higher return on investment (ROI). Here’s how to properly track your email analytics.

What are email analytics?

Email analytics are metrics that show how your audience engages with the marketing emails you send them. Your metrics should tie into your short- and long-term business goals.

The metrics that you deem important to determine the success of your campaigns are known as key performance indicators (KPIs).

Types of email analytics to track

Business owners often wonder what the most important metric to track in email marketing is, and the answer is: It depends.

The most important metric to track in email marketing depends on what your goals are. For example, a new business may be happy with high open rates, while more established businesses that have been doing email marketing for a while might focus on conversions as a success factor.

All the following metrics are important and tell a story.

Deliverability

Deliverability is defined as how many emails reach subscribers’ inboxes over the number of emails that were sent. Just because an email is sent does not mean it gets delivered.

Variables that affect email deliverability include the following:

  • An incorrect email address
  • Content filters
  • The subscriber’s inbox is full
  • IP addresses being blocked from the subscriber’s server due to complaints or too much traffic coming from one particular source

The mail delivery rate is calculated by dividing the number of delivered emails by the total number of emails sent and then multiplying that number by 100. Most email marketing software platforms automatically calculate this data for you. Mailchimp’s reports, for example, have a reporting line called “Successful Deliveries” that include the total number of emails that were successfully delivered along with a percentage.

Email open rate

The email open rate is the number of emails that subscribers actually open. This metric can be analyzed via a trackable URL. The open rate is considered an engagement rate. A successful engagement rate is determined by what your email marketing goals are.

Here are some variables that affect the email open rate:

  • An updated email list
  • Catchy and engaging subject lines
  • Segmented contact lists
  • Subject lines and email body copy that avoid spam triggers
  • Sending the right emails at the right time — day and time matter
  • Personalization
  • Mobile optimization
  • Header text
  • Preview text

Click-through rate

The click-through rate is the ratio of users who click on a link in your email. Here’s how to improve your click-through rates:

  • Pay attention to email formatting — emails should be tested and formatted for all devices.
  • Segment your contact lists.
  • Personalize your emails.
  • Schedule sending your emails so they have a high likelihood of being opened by your target audience.
  • Include enticing calls to action.
TipBottom line
Include links to additional resources and calls to action in your emails so your customers are compelled to interact with your content and visit your website.

Bounce rate

The bounce rate refers to emails that are not delivered. There are two different types of bounces: hard and soft.

A hard bounce means that the email address or domain is not valid. A soft bounce signifies a temporary issue such as the subscriber’s inbox being full.

A high bounce rate (more than 2 percent) could raise suspicions from your email provider, which could then ban your domain from sending emails. To avoid this, only use the most updated email list data, and monitor this analytic.

In addition, try the following to keep your bounce rate down:

  • Remove bounced emails from your email list.
  • Require that list subscribers verify their email through a double opt-in process that sends them a link to verify their email address.
  • Use a trusted email provider.
  • Don’t buy contact lists.
  • Use an email marketing platform that allows subscribers to choose the emails they want to receive from you (e.g., weekly promotions or monthly newsletters).

Unsubscribe rate

The unsubscribe rate is the number (or percentage) of subscribers who opt out of receiving emails. If your unsubscribe rate exceeds 5 percent, you’ll receive a warning on your email marketing tool account. Multiple warnings result in you being banned from your email account, or your domain will be placed on a blacklist, which prevents anyone from receiving your emails in the future, even if you switch email tools. While 5 percent is the top number, all unsubscribes need to be monitored and should not exceed the average rate of 0.05 percent.

To reduce the number of unsubscribes, follow these tips:

  • Segment your contacts. List segmentation is when you separate your lists based on each buyer persona.
  • Don’t send too many emails. In fact, sending an email two times per week is optimal for many e-commerce companies. The number of emails you send may vary by industry.
  • Only send emails when you have something important to say. Sometimes a social media post works better than an email. If your motivation for sending multiple emails around a certain subject is because you fear your audience may not see the first message, use the feature that automatically resends emails to subscribers who did not open the first email, if your email tool allows it. You can also run a report of subscribers who did not open your email and resend it only to them.

Conversion rate

The email conversion rate shows which of your subscribers turned into customers or took the next step in the buyer journey, bringing them one step closer to the final sale.

To increase the number of conversions from your email marketing campaigns, follow these four tips:

  • Always create helpful content.
  • Use clear calls to action.
  • Create content that is catered to your target audience.
  • Ensure that your webpages load quickly.

How to measure engagement in email marketing campaigns

While you’ll set your own goals for determining the success of your campaigns, comparing metrics against industry benchmarks offers helpful insight into the goals you should set.

Campaign Monitor offers benchmark data that includes the following:

Average email benchmarks for all industries

  1. Average open rate: 21.5 percent
  2. Average click-through rate: 2.3 percent
  3. Average click-to-open rate: 10.5 percent
  4. Average unsubscribe rate: 0.1 percent

Top industries by open rate

  1. Education (28.5 percent)
  2. Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting (27.3 percent)
  3. Financial services (27.1 percent)

Results also vary by country.

Tools to help track email analytics

Now that you know which data to track, here are some tools to help you track it.

  • Your email marketing software. Email marketing applications include the metrics discussed in this article with your plan. Popular software platforms include Campaigner, HubSpot and Monday.com. Read which applications we selected as email marketing services and software best picks.
  • Google Analytics. Tracking email campaigns in Google Analytics can be tricky and requires a setup process. To learn how to track emails in Google Analytics, visit Google’s Developer’s site. Get access to deliverability, scalable infrastructure and real-time customizable analytics with SendGrid.
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud. This data-first platform is equipped with marketing tools to improve customer relationships. The Salesforce platform focuses on creating effective email campaigns through a streamlined, data-driven process to help companies to improve their marketing strategies.
FYIDid you know
Use email marketing templates to create more organized and visually appealing campaigns for your readers.

Importance of analyzing your email campaigns

Accurately monitoring your email marketing campaigns can help you understand how to increase your efforts. Without a solid email marketing plan with actionable insights, your emails will likely go unread. Here are some important reasons to track your email analytics and improve your campaigns.

Provides the right contact with your audience

By analyzing the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns, you ensure you’re staying in touch with your audience through consistent communication and engaging content. Simply sending an email every other week and hoping it sticks is not enough. Your customers appreciate well-thought-out, interactive material in their inboxes. Thankfully, email analytics can highlight the parts of your campaign that need improvement and which are already successful.

To keep in touch with your audience via email, share company updates, upcoming events and special offers so you can remain top-of-mind. Additionally, track your deliverability rate and open rate to determine whether your emails are actually reaching your subscribers’ inboxes and, if so, whether they are actually opening your emails. 

Offers audience engagement

Audience engagement should be your primary focus when crafting email marketing campaigns. If your readers aren’t engaged with your content, they’ll likely click out of your email or unsubscribe altogether. Your email analytics can tell you which parts of your campaigns are most engaging for your readers so you can continue to build on those areas and focus less on other sections of your newsletters.

For instance, your click-through rate can show you the percentage of recipients who actually read your content and clicked on embedded links. Making your emails more interactive (and measuring how well-received they are by your audience) can significantly increase your engagement. Additionally, a high unsubscribe rate is a clear indicator of low engagement, which means you’ll want to change tactics and try a different approach in your email campaigns.

Increases brand awareness

While social media is a great tool to market your business and connect with your target audience, email offers a more personalized way to achieve the same benefits. Increasing your brand awareness via email starts by showcasing your involvement in your community, your industry expertise and your solutions to common customer problems.

You can use the comprehensive data from your email marketing reports to improve your reach and increase your brand awareness through email marketing campaigns. 

Targets specific audiences

If you analyze email metrics like open rate, click-through rate and unsubscribe rate, you can get a good read on who benefits most from your content. Understand the demographics of your most loyal readers to determine who your target audience is so you can continue to focus on and retarget them when you craft campaigns. 

Marisa Sanfilippo contributed to this article. 

author image
Sean Peek, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Ownership
Sean Peek co-founded and self-funded a small business that's grown to include more than a dozen dedicated team members. Over the years, he's become adept at navigating the intricacies of bootstrapping a new business, overseeing day-to-day operations, utilizing process automation to increase efficiencies and cut costs, and leading a small workforce. This journey has afforded him a profound understanding of the B2B landscape and the critical challenges business owners face as they start and grow their enterprises today. In addition to running his own business, Peek shares his firsthand experiences and vast knowledge to support fellow entrepreneurs, offering guidance on everything from business software to marketing strategies to HR management. In fact, his expertise has been featured in Entrepreneur, Inc. and Forbes and with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
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