Like all marketing campaigns, you should measure the performance of your email marketing campaigns. Without tracking, you can't determine how the campaign did and where improvements could be made in future email marketing campaigns.
Understanding email analytics is the first step to optimizing your email marketing campaigns.
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).
Importance of analyzing your email campaigns
The easiest way to monitor how well your email marketing campaigns perform is with analytic tools that are included with email marketing software. A Google Analytics account can be used to track emails as well. However, tools that come with email marketing software are often the easiest and most cost-effective ways to track email marketing success.
Email marketing is one of the most measurable and effective forms of marketing. A study performed by Oberlo found that for every $1 spent on email marketing, entrepreneurs could expect an average return of $42. The study also found that 81% of small businesses still rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel, and 80% rely on it for retention.
By not analyzing your email campaigns, you can't determine how successful your marketing efforts are.
Types of email analytics to track
Business owners often wonder what the most important metric is to track in email marketing, and the answer is, it depends.
The most important metric to track in email marketing varies from company to company based 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 focus on conversions as a success factor.
All the following metrics are important and tell a story.
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:
- 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 opened by the subscribers they were sent to. It 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.
Several variables that affect the email open rate include:
- 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
- Mobile optimization
- Header text
- Preview text
The click-through rate, another engagement analytic, is the ratio of users who click on a link in your email. 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.
The bounce rate are 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%) could raise suspicions from your email provider, and your domain could be banned from sending emails; only use the most updated email list data, and monitor this analytic.
In addition, 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).
The unsubscribe rate is the number (or percentage) of subscribers who opt out of receiving emails. If your unsubscribe rate exceeds 5%, 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% is the top number, all unsubscribes need to be monitored and should not exceed the average rate of 0.05%.
To reduce the number of unsubscribes, follow these three tips:
- Segment your contacts. List segmentation is when you separate your lists based on each buyer persona.
- Don't send too many emails. The number of emails you send may vary by industry. One study showed that sending an email two times per week is optimal for e-commerce companies.
- Only send emails when you have something important to say. Sometimes a social media post, rather than an email, is best. If your motivation for sending multiple emails around a certain subject is because you fear your audience may not see the first message, if your email tool allows it, use the feature that automatically resends emails to subscribers who did not open the first email. You can also run a report of subscribers who did not open your email and resend it only to them.
The email conversion rate shows which of your subscribers turned into customers or took the next step in the buyer journey, getting 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 how successful your campaigns are, comparing metrics against industry benchmarks offers helpful insight into the goals you should set.
Campaign Monitor offers detailed benchmark data that includes:
Average email benchmarks for all industries
- Average open rate: 17.8%
- Average click-through rate: 2.6%
- Average click-to-open rate: 14.3%
- Average unsubscribe rate: 0.1%
- Average bounce rate: 0.7%
Top industries by open rate
- Government (30.5%)
- Nonprofit (25.2%)
- Education (23.4%)
Results will also vary by country.
Tools to help track email analytics
Now that you know what 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 Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and iContact. Read which email applications we selected as best picks on our sister site, Business News Daily.
- 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.
SendGrid. Get access to deliverability, a scalable infrastructure and real-time customizable analytics with SendGrid.
- SalesForce Datoramo. Connect your marketing data to make smarter decisions with Datoramo.