Which Email Marketing Metrics Matter?

Posted on in Blog

Email marketing metrics can tell the story of your brand. By closely monitoring how subscribers interact with both crafted and automated emails, adjusting content to suit reader needs and interests, and sliding in a few promotional efforts, you can wield email marketing as a valuable tool for ecommerce, lead generation, and more.

But which email marketing benchmarks should you pay attention to? Depends on your industry. Looking at how email marketing KPIs change across industries can help you get a more accurate gauge of how well your email marketing is performing.

What Is the Most Important Metric for Email Marketing?

The most important email marketing metric is the one that supports your business’s top goals. Depending on your industry, the size of your business, the number of subscribers to your newsletter, and myriad other factors, some metrics might mean a lot more than others.

In short, a business using email marketing for ecommerce has different goals than, say, a franchise company circulating organizational changes to various locations.

Additionally, your goals may change with each email campaign. Creating a mix of promotional, informational, and entertaining newsletters helps grow your list, engage your audience, and keep your brand top of mind—as long as you use performance data to continually improve.

Interested in seeing how Oneupweb collaborates with our clients on email marketing?

The Top Email Marketing Metrics to Know

You’re probably already familiar with most of these terms, but it’s worth a quick refresh.  

Open Rate

Marketers love the simplicity of the open rate metric because it does exactly what it says on the tin: It shows what percentage of people on your list opened the email. This email metric is an excellent way to track how valuable readers view your newsletter. They may use it to shop, learn about new products or upcoming events, or simply stay connected to your organization. Open rates are impacted by many factors, including how memorable your brand name is (it’s who the “from” line is, after all) and how your audience reacts to the content of the subject line and email preview.

It’s worth noting that, with ongoing privacy changes from Apple and others, the open rate metric will get less and less reliable as users’ data is kept hidden from email marketers.

Clickthrough Rate (CTR)

The clickthrough rate is simply the percentage of readers who clicked a link in your email body and navigated to an external website. CTR is an excellent way to determine how engaged your audience is with the content provided. The metric demonstrates that, instead of simply reading, people trust your brand to provide information they find intriguing. CTR changes based on email layout, calls-to-action, and messaging. A higher CTR means you’re providing your readers with content they like, even if only a portion of those clicks take them to your website or online store.

There’s also a unique blend of open rate and clickthrough rate called (creatively) the click-to-open rate. This is another way to evaluate the quantity factor (how many people peeped your email) and quality factor (how many people found the email interesting enough to interact with).

Conversion Rate

While clickthrough rate tracks what percentage of people jumped from your email in their inbox to another domain, conversion rate (CVR) measures the percentage of those email-referred website visitors who completed a specific action on your site. For example, email marketing in a B2B lead generation environment might focus on the conversion rate specific to users filling out a form.

Conversion rate is the best metric to evaluate how effectively your email marketing gets concrete results. Unlike impressions or customer loyalty metrics, a strong conversion rate shows your messaging is well-tailored to convert, not just inform.

Some common goals in email marketing are when readers:

  • Complete a purchase
  • Complete a survey
  • Contact a salesperson
  • Fill out a form

It’s easy to think of conversion rate as an ecommerce metric alone, but every business needs to establish specific conversion goals and work to improve conversion rate. Email marketing is an exceptional tool for brand awareness and customer or client retention, but great campaigns always focus on giving readers something to do.

Check out The Handy Email Marketing Glossary of Terms for more nuggets of jargon.

Email Marketing Benchmarks by Industry

These metrics vary drastically based on factors as obvious as industry, and as mundane as the time they are sent. It’s essential to evaluate your email metrics against your industry as a whole. For example, a retail open rate of 20% looks abysmal compared to the average education audience (28.5%), but it’s nearly 3% higher than the retail industry average.

IndustryOpen RatesClickthrough RatesClick-to-Open RatesUnsubscribe Rates
Advertising & Marketing20.5%1.8%9.0%0.2%
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Hunting27.3%3.4%12.5%0.3%
Consumer Packaged Goods20%1.9%11.1%0.1%
Education28.5%4.4%15.7%0.2%
Financial Services27.1%2.4%10.1%0.2%
Restaurant, Food & Beverage18.5%2.0%10.5%0.1%
Government & Politics19.4%2.8%14.3%0.1%
Healthcare Services23.7%3.0%13.4%0.3%
IT/Tech/Software22.7%2.0%9.8%0.2%
Logistics & Wholesale23.4%2.0%11.7%0.3%
Media, Entertainment, Publishing23.9%2.9%12.4%0.1%
Nonprofit26.6%2.7%10.2%0.2%
Other19.9%2.6%13.2%0.3%
Professional Services19.3%2.1%11.1%0.2%
Real Estate, Design, Construction21.7%3.6%17.2%0.2%
Retail17.1%0.7%5.8%0.1%
Travel, Hospitality, Leisure20.2%1.4%8.7%0.2%
Wellness & Fitness19.2%1.2%6.0%0.4%
Average Totals21.5% (+3.5%)2.3% (-0.3%)10.5% (-3.6%)0.1% (-)

Source: campaignmonitor.com

The Best Day to Send Email an Email Campaign Is…

Monday. Or Tuesday. It depends on your goal (noticing a trend here?) and may vary based on your unique audience’s demographics.

  • If your goal is an exceptional open rate, get started early. Monday offers the best email open rate at 22%.
  • If your goal is an exceptional CTR, then hold off until Tuesday. That’s when clickthrough rates hit 2.4%.
  • Both Tuesday and Wednesday share an average click-to-open rate of 10.8%.

So, Are My Email Metrics Good or Not? (Well, We’ll Tell You)

Email marketing isn’t pass/fail. It’s a process that takes constant experimentation through A/B testing, subject line experimentation, and content variation based on reader feedback. You don’t have to do it alone, either. Learn about our email marketing services and get into the right inboxes to grow your business. Go ahead; send us an email.

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