4 Basic Email KPIs you Should be Analyzing and Why

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With the lazy, hazy days of summer upon us, it’s easy to become a bit relaxed before the insanity of holiday planning starts. Sure – for typical retailers, email “busy season” isn’t for another two quarters – and heck, it’s 90 degrees out, and you’d rather be at the beach on vacation! But hot temperatures don’t mean we can take a break from collecting and analyzing email metrics. Rather, this is the perfect moment to start creating or realigning goals and clearly identifying how to measure performance against them. To help you, here are four easy key performance indicators you should be monitoring daily and monthly.

1. CLICK-TO-OPEN (or CTO) RATETHE PERCENTAGE OF USERS WHO CLICKED ON AN EMAIL AFTER OPENING IT. Formula to calculate CTO rate:

 

Click to open rate - email kpis to track

Calculating and analyzing CTO rate is one of the most important and indicative KPIs of email campaigns.  It illustrates what proportion of customers is interested in your brand and is therefore engaging with your email.  CTO rate allows you to successfully measure the performance of A/B content tests – easily identifying what worked and when to tweak creative in order to drive subscribers to click through to your website.

Monitoring CTO on mobile devices versus desktop is becoming crucial. According to our Yesmail Q3 2015 Benchmark Report, the gap between mobile and desktop CTOs is closing as more and more consumers are engaging on their mobile devices. This means that, depending on the mobile open and CTO rates generated by their audience, marketers can gauge the importance of providing mobile-first content. The higher the proportion of their mobile audience, the more imperative it is for them to develop mobile strategies that allow on-the-go consumers to effectively interact with messages and convert on mobile.  

2. CONVERSION RATETHE PERCENTAGE OF USERS WHO TOOK THE DESIRED ACTION AFTER RECEIVING YOUR EMAIL. Formula to calculate conversion rate:

conversion rate - email kpis

Whether you’re aiming to drive signups/registrations for a sweepstakes, purchases, or social channel followers, measuring how effective your campaign is at achieving its overall goal is imperative.  If you send an email to your one million customer base with a new offer, and only five individuals redeem said offer, with a conversion rate of 0.0005%, your goal of increasing revenue was most likely not met.

To track conversions, you’ll need to make sure your web analytics solution is tied to your Email Service Provider, for example, via pixel tracking. 

3. BOUNCESTHE PERCENTAGE OF USERS WHO DID NOT SUCCESSFULLY RECEIVE YOUR EMAIL. Formula to calculate Bounce Rate:

bounces - email kpis

Implementing a bounce strategy is essential for a successful email program. Recurring monitoring of bounce rates is the first step in understanding your email program’s inboxing (or lack thereof).  Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Yahoo!, Gmail, and Hotmail use bounce rates to help determine a brand’s sending reputation; a poor reputation can potentially result in bulking or blocking issues. Proactively removing hard and soft bounces from your subscriber file prevents deliverability issues and ensures a clean database. Discuss your bounce rates with your ESP or enlist the help of a professional deliverability service. Subscribers cannot respond to your emails if they are not receiving them!

4. LIST GROWTH RATETHE PERCENTAGE AT WHICH YOUR EMAIL LIST IS GROWING. Formula to calculate List Growth rate:

list growth rate - email kpis

Email decay is inevitable: marketers lose, on average 1/3 of their subscribers every year[1].  Understanding how your total mailable email file month-over-month is growing or shrinking will help combat database attrition. Calculating your list growth rate will help in your decision-making on both acquisition and retention fronts. Looking to acquire new subscribers without the high acquisition costs? Consider a reactivation strategy to re-engage your lapsed subscribers. Is list growth rate declining because of your high unsubscribe rate? Build a Preference Center with either an ‘opt-down’ or an ‘interested in’ section which would help you better listen to your subscribers and understand their needs. Instead of unsubscribing from your mailing program altogether a preference center where consumers can customize their topics and frequency of their communications may help your band significantly reduce attrition. Below is a good example of this tactic:

j crew example -

This summer, take a more proactive approach to your marketing efforts by continually analyzing these four KPIs.  These are easy, no-brainer metrics to help you measure against your email goals, and will lead to effective strategies and execution come holiday season. 

Author Bio

Blair Bauer

Blair has been in Account Management for ten years, working on acquiring and retaining consumers across direct and online channels in the retail, nonprofit, and publishing sectors. Blair is responsible for managing senior relationships with her client base, overseeing their e-commerce programs and identifying new opportunities to drive clients’ ROI. Prior to joining Yes Lifecycle Marketing in 2012, she was in the Account Management group at Paradysz, focusing on direct mail acquisition for nonprofits. Blair holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Villanova University.