Email Marketing KPIs

This is part 2 of a 3 part series on Email Analytics & Metrics .

What are email marketing KPIs?

Email marketing KPIs stand for “Key Performance Indicators”, which refers to the metrics and analytic information necessary to track and understand the performance of your email marketing efforts. These KPIs often include open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, unsubscribe rate, bounce rate, and deliverability rate.

Why are email marketing KPIs important?

Email marketing KPIs are important for the same reason that any analytical marketing data is important: because it gives you a benchmark for where you are now, which then allows you to test, iterate, and try to improve your standing.

But before you can get better results from your email marketing efforts, you first have to create a system for consistently tracking and benchmarking KPI metrics. If you run a team, then assigning different KPIs to different people depending on their responsibilities can be a useful strategy for divvying up the work.

Of course, now that we know what KPIs are and why they’re important, we have one more critical question to answer: which KPIs are the most important to track?

Top KPIs to track

Here are some of the top email marketing KPIs to track:

  • Open RateThe percentage of people who open an email campaign.
Open Rate = Emails Opened / (Emails Sent – Bounces)
  • Open Reach The percentage of subscribers who opened at least ONE email during a set period of time (often, a 3-month period, to align with the four quarters of a year).
Open Reach = Subscribers Who Opened At Least One Email / Total # Of Subscribers
  • Click-Through Rate The percentage of people who click the CTA within an email campaign.
CTR = Emails Clicked / (Emails Sent – Bounces)
  • Unsubscribe Rate The percentage of people who unsubscribe when an email campaign is sent.
Unsubscribe Rate = # Of Unsubscribes / (Emails Sent – Bounces)
  • Spam Complaint Rate The percentage of people who report an email to spam.
Spam Complaint Rate = # Of Complaints / (Emails Sent – Bounces)
  • Bounce Rate The percentage of people who don’t receive an email for one of many possible reasons (hard bounce and soft bounce included).
Bounce Rate = # Of Bounces / Emails Sent
  • Delivery Rate The percentage of emails delivered during a given campaign.
Delivery Rate = Emails Delivered / Emails Sent
  • Inbox Placement Beyond delivery rate, inbox placement determines not just whether an email has been delivered, but where it went in the person’s inbox. Did it go to their primary folder or their promotions folder? Or maybe it went to their spam folder. When you know the answer to that, you can try to optimize to get better placements; create more enticing subject lines, more relevant copy, and more attractive CTAs.
  • Top Devices Which devices do most of your audience use when viewing your emails? Answering this question can help you determine whether you should optimize your content for mobile or for desktop first (should be optimized for both, ideally) and it also helps you understand the state-of-mind people might be in when viewing your content (i.e. are they just perusing on their phone or are they sitting down at their desk?).
  • Website Traffic This metric doesn’t have an exact formula. But your email marketing efforts should be driving traffic to your website. You can track this traffic with a UTM or you can simply monitor the overall traffic trends of your website and factor in the click-through rate of your emails.
  • Time On Page When someone visits your website by clicking on an email, what do they do next? Do they browse your website? Do they read your full page? Or do they leave within a few seconds? Google Analytics reports a Time On Page metric that will help you understand how people are interacting with the content or landing pages you’re driving them to.
  • List Growth Your list should always be growing (steadily, at least). Organic growth is great, but paid growth is okay, too. Just make sure you’re tracking your total number of subscribers so you can see whether you’re building your list… or slowly losing it.
  • Total Sales How many sales are your email campaigns driving? The ultimate goal of your emails is to drive conversions, after all, (that doesn’t mean every email should be trying to sell something) so keep an eye on how often people are buying after they click. As your email list grows, so too should your sales.
  • Email Subscriber Acquisition Cost How much does it cost on average to acquire a new subscriber for your list? That’s the question that this metric answers. When you set a benchmark for how much it costs you to gain a new subscriber, you can then measure your total ROI and even try to improve your subscriber acquisition cost.
E-SAC = Total Cost Of Campaign/Number of Subscribers Gained
  • Average Lifetime Subscriber Value This metric measures the amount of money that your average subscriber is worth for the entire time that they’re on your email list. That doesn’t just help you understand the true value of a subscriber gained, but it is also necessary for determining the overall ROI of your email list. Plus, it helps you understand how well your products and services resonate with your subscribers.
Subscriber Lifetime Value = (Average Revenue Per Subscriber (ARPU) x Average Lifetime of a Subscriber) – the Cost to Serve Them (COGS)

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