What is email engagement?
Email engagement refers, simply, to when subscribers engage with your email campaigns — that includes opening your email, clicking on your CTA, or, as negative engagement, unsubscribing or reporting an email as spam.
Metrics that allow you to measure email engagement, and thus the health of your relationship with your subscribers, include open rate, click-through-rate, unsubscribe rate, and even bounce rate.
But it isn’t just about the metrics and it isn’t just about the engagement, it’s about your relationship with your audience — that is what email engagement metrics allow you to track.
Why is email engagement important?
You’re not sending emails so that your subscribers will ignore you and move on with their lives, you’re sending emails to build a relationship with your audience, maintain a healthy brand image, and sell your products. If your subscribers don’t engage, you can’t do any of those things.
That illustrates the first reason why healthy email engagement metrics are so important: because if people aren’t engaging positively, then you might as well not have an email list at all.
Also worth noting is that most ISPs (Gmail and Hotmail, specifically) will give your campaigns and associated IP address a low inbox placement (or deliverability rate) if subscribers aren’t engaging with your emails. In other words, the less engagement that your emails receive right now, the less engagement they’re going to get in the future (because ISPs will start limiting deliverability).
Note: When measuring email engagement metrics, keep in mind that not all opens and clicks are equal. It’s a little more complicated than that. You might have a high open-rate on an email, but you might also have a high unsubscribe rate on that email, indicating that people who opened did so just to unsubscribe. If people are opening, but not clicking, that also indicates that the email copy or CTA didn’t resonate with your audience. If people don’t open at all, then your subject line and preheader weren’t enticing enough. Don’t take email engagement metrics at face value. Instead, always analyze email engagement metrics within the context surrounding them.