Top 10 Email Marketing Metric Basics

Good email marketing can get you quick, easy and repeatable qualified traffic to your website. With email marketing, regardless of your experience, there are some key metrics that you need to understand, report and benchmark against to see if your email marketing is performing.


These metrics give you a bigger picture of email performance when analysed month to month or year over year and also offer quick feedback on what is and what isn't working with your continued testing.


Below I define the top 10 metrics you need to know.


1. Sent number:
This is the total count of recipients (email addresses) that were sent the email message. This is normally after all recency and suppression have been applied.


2. Bounced number:
This is the number of email addresses that had a bounce back from the ISPs (Gmail, Yahoo! Etc). There are two types of bounce: Hard bounce and soft bounce. Your total bounce rate should be 5% or less.


3. Hard bounce number:
Hard bounce is a permanent bounce and is when you send to an invalid email address. An invalid email address is one that does not exist anymore. These addresses should be set to a do-not-email setting on the first bounce occurrence.


4. Soft bounce number:
Soft bounce is a temporary bounce and normally due to a full inbox or ISP deferring. It is normal practice to retry these email address 2/3 more times before moving to a do-not-email setting.


5. Delivered number and percentage:
Delivered is the total number of successfully sent email messages. Delivery number is sent emails minus total bounces. Your delivery rate should be 95% or more. Email messages that go to spam or junk or folders are still classed a successfully delivered.


6. Open rate percentage:
Open rate is the percentage of recipients that have opened your email message. An open is recorded by an invisible 1x1 GIF in the email HTML creative when the recipient downloads images. The GIF is added automatically by your ESP. Your average Open rate should be between 15-30% depending on level of segmentation and type of email message.

Open rate is Unique opens / delivered number x 100.


7. Click through rate (CTR) percentage:
Click through rate is the percentage of recipients that have clicked on any link in your email message. A click is tracked by a tracking code appended automatically to the email links by your ESP.
Click through rate calculation is Unique clicks / delivered number x 100 = CTR.

Your average CTR should be between 15-30% depending on level of segmentation and type of email message.


8. Click to open rate percentage (CTO):
Click to open rate is the percentage of recipients who opened the email message and also clicked on any link in the email message.
Click to open rate calculation is click through rate / open rate x 100.


9. Unsubscribe rate percentage:
Unsubscribe rate is the percentage of recipients that unsubscribed from the email message. This includes recipients that click the normal unsubscribe link in the email footer as well as those who unsubscribe via the list-unsub functionality in the inbox.
Unsubscribe calculation is Unsubscribe number /delivered x 100 = Unsubscribe rate.

Your unsubscribe rate should always be less than 1%,


10. Spam complaint rate.
Spam complaint rate is the percentage of recipients that click the spam or junk button in their inbox. Spam complaints are recorded via feedback loops provided by the ISPs. Not all ISPs provide the feedback loop.
Spam complaint calculation is Spam complaint number / delivered x 100 = Spam complaint rate.


Your spam complaint rate should always be less that 0.1%.


Any questions? Don't hesitate to email me!


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