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What is KPI?

Email Marketing KPIs: How to Measure Your Email Marketing Effectiveness

12 min read

Out of all the forms of online marketing tactics, marketing through email is perhaps the greatest and most fool-proof way of getting your company or brand in front of consumers. There is just something so enticing about seeing one’s name in the header of an email followed by offers, promotions, and free trials.

In fact, it’s this very reason that companies that employ email marketing experience so much success. The offer is literally right there in front of the consumer, and all they have to do is click a link. Just like that, they’re excited about your business, and you have made a sale without even lifting a finger.

If done correctly, email marketing campaigns can generate massive traction to your website, translating into website clicks, sales, subscriptions, etc. However, a successful email campaign requires much more than simply drafting engaging, well-written content. While the quality of the content, of course, determines whether a consumer will be inspired to make a purchase, there are certain procedures that one should follow to get the most out of their campaign.

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Incorporating KPIs

In order to ensure that your email marketing is successful, you should incorporate KPIs into your marketing strategies. KPIs, or “key performance indicators,” are metrics that business and brand owners can use to track their overall marketing performance.

As you are probably already aware, formulating an email campaign takes time, energy, and, most importantly, money. Therefore, it’s imperative that you make the most out of your campaign in terms of targeting the correct audience, supplying the most relevant content, and, finally, utilizing the email marketing metrics obtained to improve future emails.

We know how daunting the process can seem at first glance. So, we have decided to create this guide to understanding all the in’s and out’s of email marketing KPIs, as well as how you can use the data collected to optimize your future campaigns. Without further ado, let’s dive into the analytics of email marketing!

KPIs Explained

In the world of digital marketing, business owners must have a viable way to ascertain whether their marketing strategies are working effectively. One way to measure a marketing campaign’s success is by using KPIs. Essentially, there are several different forms of analytics that fall under the term.

However, the primary purpose is to track various performance indicators that arise throughout the campaign. This includes things like “emails opened,” “unsubscription rate,” “conversation rate,” and many more, all of which will be explained later.

Fortunately, understanding KPIs isn’t rocket science, and once you have a grasp of what the term entails, you’ll be ready to elevate your approach to email marketing.

Benefits of Using Metrics in Email Marketing

The primary benefit of using KPIs is to gain a deeper insight into the experience of your emails’ recipients. By properly implementing KPIs and effectively utilizing the data obtained, you can learn which emails and subsequent content your contacts liked. You can also learn exactly what caused them to unsubscribe. With the knowledge you gain through KPIs, you can reinvigorate future email campaigns. You can increase the presence of the most popular content, correct previous errors in presentation, and ultimately develop a better relationship between your customers and your brand.

Learn How to Optimize Your Email Campaign With These Strategies

As mentioned above, properly implemented KPIs involve many different types of analytics, all of which are used to get the most out of your email marketing campaign. We have broken down the nine most common KPIs of email marketing, what they entail, and how they can help you optimize your email marketing campaigns in the future.

Emails delivered

A very important KPI that all business owners should keep in mind is the rate at which emails are being delivered. While you may have 1000 names on your contact list of current and potential customers, it’s very unlikely that every email will be delivered. Drops in delivery rates can be caused by many different factors, such as a customer signing up for your services with a fake email address. However, what’s important is knowing that your emails are at least reaching your contacts. You will need this data for the following KPIs.

Bounce rates

Another KPI that can help determine whether your email campaign has been successful is the “bounce rate” of the addresses used to subscribe to your mail list. There are two types of bounces — hard, and soft. When you notice a hard bounce, the cause is most likely an error in the email address of the recipient. For example, it could be misspelled or completely false, in which case, the email will never be sent. However, in the instance of a soft bounce, there was likely an issue with the receiver’s mailbox.

Emails opened

Once you know the number of emails that are actually being delivered, you can compare the data to the data collected in the next KPI: “Emails Opened.” Having an idea of the rate of emails opened can give insight into whether the subject lines are relevant and interesting to the recipients. Unopened emails often translate to a lack of interest, and therefore you should make adjustments. Also, it’s important to compare your open rates to the typical rates seen in your particular industry. Doing so can be an indicator of how your company compares with the rest of the market.


Another KPI that you should track is the rate that contacts are clicking the links embedded throughout the emails as well as where the links take them. Tracking click-through rates allows companies to gain a better understanding of what interested the customer most in the email. If it’s determined that your CTA received the highest number of clicks, you are on the right track.

Click-to-open rate

Essentially, the “click-to-open rate” is determined by comparing the number of opens to the number of click-throughs. In other words, of all the emails that were opened, how many contacts were interested enough to not only read through the content but also click the links? If you have a higher number of opens but no clicks, it’s possible that the recipients were initially intrigued by the subject line but disappointed with the content within the email. At that point, it would be best to revise the content in the email to better reflect the catchy subject line.

Unsubscribing rate

As you can imagine, the “unsubscribing rate” is one of the most crucial KPIs that one can measure. This is because companies can use the data collected to determine why their email subscribers are leaving. If your unsubscribe rate is relatively low, there’s nothing to worry about. However, if you notice a sudden rise in the unsubscribe rate after implementing changes to the content, format, or sending schedule of the emails, there could be an issue. In this case, you may need to reconsider the changes.

Social media sharing

With this KPI, you can get an idea about how contacts are responding to the content in your email. However, to do so, you’ll need to include a share link somewhere at the bottom of the message. With this data on hand, companies can not only discover what content their subscribers prefer but also what they are saying about it on their social media platforms.

Spam complaints

The “spam complaint” KPI is used to see how many subscribers are reporting your emails as spam. Recipients will report spam for a variety of reasons, with the primary cause being that they simply wanted to opt out of the mail list. However, if you’ve recently implemented a change to your content and suddenly notice an increase in spam reports, you need to act fast and re-evaluate the changes.

Conversion rate

The “conversion rate” is perhaps the most important KPI of email marketing analytics. This is the indicator that lets you know the number of people who open the email, click the links, and follow through to make a purchase, register, subscribe, download, or complete whatever the goal was in sending the email. If your open and conversion rates are high, with minimal unsubscribe and spam rates, you have had a very successful campaign. If not, you should use the data to implement changes in future email campaigns to obtain more favorable results.

Utilize KPIs and Make Smarter Decisions in Your Email Marketing Campaign

Ultimately, your goal in any email marketing campaign is to achieve the highest amount of positive indicators possible while limiting those that are negative. A successful email campaign is not contrived overnight but rather after weeks and even months of research, planning, and implementation. Therefore, it is vital to include KPIs in your campaign so that you can gain insight into the successes and failures of your hard work.

Now that you have a better understanding of the common analytical practices involved in using KPIs, you should be more prepared to properly measure the effectiveness of your next email marketing campaign. These tools are available to help you achieve success in your marketing strategies, so use them wisely, and good luck!


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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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