Is one of your top business goals for 2019 to improve the ROI of
your emails? If so, you may have added redesign your email
template, change up your subject lines, or start a newsletter on
your list of things to do in the new year.
However, to truly drive your email marketing campaigns forward,
you need to measure the right metrics. This will allow you to see
what is and isn’t working, where you can make improvements, and
how you can make your emails stand out from the crowd. Without
these metrics, you’ll never know if the changes you implement
affect your opens, click-throughs, and ultimately your revenue.
Below, we’ll discuss the top 10 email metrics you need to
watch to boost your success in 2019.
Why are email metrics so important?
As a marketer, you already know metrics help drive forward any
marketing campaign. They demonstrate exactly what content, copy,
and calls to action resonate with your audience, and what
Focusing on the right metrics will help you analyze each
campaign before improving the next one. In fact,
according to Forbes, marketers who base their decisions on data
can boost their profitability six fold.
Therefore, before you spend hours revamping your entire email
marketing strategy, you should know which metrics to study, how to
calculate them, how often you should check them, and what may
Sound like a lot? Read on to uncover these all-important email
metrics, their definitions, and why they matter.
The top 10 email metrics to know for 2019 1. Delivery rates
Delivery rates tell you how many of your emails actually arrive
in the right place, i.e. your recipients’ inboxes.
To calculate, simply take the number of emails that have been
successfully delivered and divide this by the total number of
If too many of your emails don’t make it to the right inboxes,
you could have a problem with
A number of factors can impact your deliverability. For example,
if your rate is quite low, you may have an outdated list that
contains a lot of old, invalid email addresses. Alternatively, you
may have included phrases in the email that triggered a spam filter
with certain email clients.
This is why it’s important to frequently clean up your
recipient list, so you remove any invalid email addresses. It’s
also worthwhile removing any recipients who haven’t engaged with
you for a long period of time (i.e. a year).
2. Bounce rates
This is the number of emails that couldn’t be delivered to
your recipients. To calculate, divide the number of
bounced emails by the total number of sent emails.
There are two types of bounces, hard and soft.
bounces occur when someone’s inbox is full, their server is
down, or your email is larger than their provider’s size limit.
bounces happen when your email address gets blocked by the
recipient’s server or it’s an invalid email address that
you’re trying to send to.
Hard bounces are the most detrimental to your email campaigns as
they negatively affect your sender reputation. So always keep an
eye on this metric and check to see if the majority of your hard
bounces are coming from the same server. If they are, this may mean
they’re blocking you and you need to get in touch with them.
3. Complaint rates
This is the number of email recipients who have marked your
email as spam. To calculate, divide the number of complaints by the
total number of emails sent.
Why may senders do this?
They might be sick of getting too many emails, they’re not
having a very good day, they couldn’t find your unsubscribe
button, or they accidentally ticked your email as spam when
highlighting several others. There are various reasons why a sender
may highlight your email as spam, even if that reason isn’t
For instance, a subscriber may have forgotten they signed up for
your email subscription list and thus mark your email as spam.
Monitor your complaint rates regularly (at least weekly) and be
sure to make sure you are:
Using confirmed opt-ins: This ensures people
have actively signed up to your email list and, therefore, want to
receive your emails.
Not sending too many emails: Don’t bombard
your recipients with loads of emails or you risk being highlighted
Making it easy to unsubscribe: Always have a
clear unsubscribe button at the bottom of your email so recipients
can easily opt out if they no longer want to receive your
The below example from Duolingo clearly shows recipients how
they can unsubscribe quickly and easily.
Really Good Emails
4. Unsubscribe rates
This is the number of recipients who have hit “unsubscribe”
after receiving your email.
To calculate, simply divide the number of unsubscribes by the
total number of messages sent.
Getting some unsubscribes each time you send an email is
inevitable but monitoring how many people unsubscribe can warn you
if you’re making mistakes in your email marketing.
For example, your unsubscribe rate may increase if you start
sending too many emails or they aren’t relevant enough to your
customers. And by monitoring when this happens, you’ll be able to
do something different if you notice an uptick in your
segmenting your customers so you can accommodate their personal
preferences, demographics, and so on will help keep your
unsubscribe rate at a minimum.
5. Open rates
Now you’re able to calculate the deliverability of your
emails, it’s time to see how well your emails’ content
look at your open rate by dividing the number of people who
have opened your email by the total number of emails delivered.
This key metric will show you how well you engage your audience
and, perhaps more importantly, how well your subject lines stand
out in crowded inboxes. Your open rates also give you an idea as to
whether or not customers find your emails relevant and
Subject lines play a huge role in the open rate of your emails,
and you may find that the sender’s name has an impact, too. A/B
testing will enable you to see what resonates best with your
6. Click-through rates
After people have opened your email, you’ll want your
subscribers to perform an action. This involves clicking on a
call-to-action (CTA) and actually visiting your website.
You can calculate your click-through rate by dividing the number
of people who click through to your website by the total number of
Several things can impact this metric, including the wording and
visibility of your CTA, the link between your content and subject
line, and the number of times the CTA is included within your
It’s important to get the right balance between giving clear
CTAs but without making people feel forced into clicking on the
link. For example, in the below email from Sephora, the CTAs are
clear and concise without being pushy.
7. Conversion rates
You’ve successfully delivered your email to your client’s
inbox, you’ve got them to open it, and they’ve clicked through
to your site. But are your subscribers making that all-important
Your conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of
conversions (the goal of your email, i.e. a purchase, download, or
referral) by the total number of delivered emails.
Knowing how well you’re converting your customers will help
you figure out where the weak points are in your sales funnel. For
instance, if you have great click-through rates, but poor
conversion, you know your website isn’t optimized for
conversions. Or if you have a low click-through rate, but a large
number of those people are converting, you know you need to spend
your time and energy optimizing your emails to increase your
If you manage to get a high click-through rate but your
conversion rate remains low, consider how you can better convert
your customers, e.g. creating a more engaging landing page.
8. Forward rate
This is the number of recipients who have shared your email with
a friend by hitting the share button or forwarding it on.
Calculate by dividing the number of forwards/shares by the total
number of emails delivered.
If you can get your existing recipients to share your emails,
you know you must be doing something right with your content. And a
direct referral works wonders in generating new leads for you.
Plus, it doesn’t cost you anything.
You may even want to make a conscious effort to encourage your
recipients to share your emails, perhaps offering an incentive like
Ace & Tate has done in the email below.
Really Good Emails
9. List growth rate
This metric indicates how your email list has grown over a given
To calculate, deduct the number of complaints and unsubscribes
you’ve had from the total number of new subscribers. Then, divide
this figure by the total number of subscribers you’ve had over a
This is crucial because if you’re not continually growing your
list, then it’s dying. While everyone can expect a certain amount
of churn from their email list, you never want to lose subscribers
faster than you’re gaining new ones. After all, not only are you
going to get people unsubscribing but you’re also going to lose
recipients as they change their email addresses.
Always look at the
ways you can add to your email list, checking your list growth
rate at least once a month.
10. Campaign ROI
Measuring how much revenue each email generates will tell you
how much return on investment (ROI) you’re getting as well as
which emails perform best.
You can calculate this by deducting the amount invested from the
amount made in sales before dividing this figure by the amount
Even though this is quite a difficult metric to monitor (an
email may lead to sale months down the line), it is worth trying to
get a rough idea of how well a campaign generates revenue for you
and your company. Comparing the performance of your different email
campaigns, especially at peak times, will allow you to adapt and
change your emails to ensure you’re always using the most
Getting into the habit of checking these important email metrics
in 2019 will not only ensure your emails are more engaging but that
you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
Knowing where you’re going wrong and where you can make
improvements will allow you to refine your strategies accordingly.
And as you continue to learn from these metrics, you’ll be able
to create more impactful campaigns that boost your results.
Want to find out how your email marketing stacks up?
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Source: FS – Email Marketing Blogs!
10 Email Metrics You Need to Impress in 2019