APRIL 20, 2021

Email Marketing Metrics: 6 KPIs for Emails That Rock

Data is the beginning and the end of every successful email marketing program. Data-driven marketing is the best way to support your decisions, ensure your strategy is in place, your messaging is consistent, your segmentation is spot-on, and much more. But how do you measure if your efforts have been successful? By focusing on the key email marketing metrics!

In this blog post, we'll cover them all. You'll learn what are some of the most important email KPIs, how to measure them, and what to do if your numbers are underperforming.

If your brand is new to email marketing, or if you're just looking for ideas for sprucing up your performance, read on! We're talking engagement metrics, revenue, and attrition metrics.
Engagement Metrics
Engagement metrics are numbers that will tell you who your active audience is, how many emails they click and open, what type of content they like, and so much more. When we talk about email marketing metrics, this type of metric is usually the first thing that comes to our mind. We split them into open and click rates.

Open rates

These are dependent on your subject lines and preheaders. A subject line, the main heading of your email, should contain the key information the email conveys. This is the place to mention the type of discount, the amount, the expiry date, and everything else that will offer value to the audience. A common mistake brands make is to leave out the offer details from the subject line and feature them in the preheader. But many people don't read preheaders at all. In addition, lots of email service providers leave them out, so they're not displayed in the inbox. That's why providing only additional details in the preheader is a better approach, as it should be an extension of what you mention in a subject line.

A key thing to remember is that it's all about consequential steps here. A subject line should get people to open an email. A headline or a hero copy should get them to read the first paragraph of the copy, and so forth. And because people can't click on your emails unless they open them first, you need to focus on crafting enticing subject lines and preheader pairs. This is the first step in a series of actions that will lead to conversion.

What do you do if you're doing great? Celebrate! Anything above 20% is considered a good open rate in eCommerce. If you boast a 24% or higher open rate, your segmentation and copy are probably already awesome, so it's worth going for it with the rest of your audience. In these cases, it's advisable to widen the segment — if you were sending to people who opened your email twice in the last 60 days, bring that bar up to 90 days or reduce the threshold to one time. Additionally, make sure to include the hot leads who will probably want to hear from you: the people who started checkout, placed an order, or viewed a product in the last 30 or 40 days.

What do you do if the open rate is low? Just the opposite: restrict the segment. You can reduce the number of days they opened an email, increase the necessary number of open emails, or exclude the hot leads. Alternatively, A/B test your subject lines and see what might work better: emojis/no emojis, statement/questions, serious/witty copy, etc. Not taking any steps in case of low open rates will surely affect your account and decrease deliverability.

Click Rates

Click rate is the email marketing metric that reflects the quality of your content and the interest of users to either learn more or continue the journey. This means that you need to make sure you're targeting the right people and creating well-structured, nicely designed emails that people will click on.

Calls-to-action are your friends! First off, having a CTA above the fold, in your hero image, is a must. Without it, the hero will look empty and people probably won't click on the image at all. In addition, if they see something they really like, they won't read everything in great detail. Instead, they'll hurry to click on the first CTA they see.

But if readers are indifferent, they'll still need to scroll down to the second half of the email (to your main CTA below the body copy), and we all know how short the average person's attention span is… So, it's very likely you'll lose them and they'll simply close the email. Bottom line: Hero CTA, main CTA below the copy, and a bunch of smaller CTAs in a product/blog feed are the way to go! Make it easy and intuitive.

Email layout matters, too! Another way to improve click rates and stand out is by testing different email layouts and discovering what makes your audience engage with your emails, and what drives them to click.

1. Inverted Pyramid

Well-known and frequently used, this layout contains the main attention-grabbing headline, a description with the main details of the offer, and a call-to-action. The layout is clear, it guides the reader towards the key element (a CTA), and makes reading super fast. Below the main CTA, additional elements can be added, such as product blocks, informative articles or blogs, or an Instagram feed.

Essence of Email for NutriNoodle
2. Zig-Zag

This is a layout that creates angles by using color and imagery to guide the reader through the email. Each section is simplified and the result is an email that's intuitive in terms of design and is easy to read.
Essence of Email for Collin Street Bakery
3. One-Column

Emails that use a one-column layout are usually created primarily for mobile devices. After this, they are adapted for desktops and tablets. They are often short, simple, and direct. What's more, they provide a ''narrative'' layout, which is good for storytelling. This layout provides an excellent way to easily highlight the important elements in an email.
Revenue Metrics
Because email is the channel with the best ROI, people often rely on it to boost revenue and get the highest conversion rates. Let's dive into some of the great ways to improve this email marketing metric for both email campaigns and automation.

Revenue and campaigns

Campaign calendars are your main allies in this journey!

You need to be cunning when creating your monthly promotion plan. Think about what you want to promote and when to promote it. What are the best sending days for your audience? Weekend? Major holidays only? Minor holidays too? Which products sell well over which holidays? Bear in mind that holiday sends usually perform wonderfully, but you can get similar results with a smart product choice.

How? Make sure you feature back-in-stock and new arrival campaigns regularly. Promote best-sellers, relevant and timely products, or products that are high in stock. However, you need to be careful! If you only promote the products that are left in stock — without mixing it up with new products, seasonal favorites, and similar — your revenue is likely to drop quickly, even if your content is top-notch.

Revenue and flows

Flows that contain lists as their triggers (the Welcome flow and Exit Intent flow) can be of great help for turning prospects into customers. The emails in this flow usually contain coupons with a discount, which puts the focus on placed order/conversion metrics.

For example, your average Exit Intent flow will contain 3 emails. The first one will contain a coupon. The second will serve as a reminder, and the third will be a ''last chance'' email. The first email will often have the highest placed order rate, with a drop of around 1% for each next email. So, if your first email reports a 3.2% placed order rate, the second one might bring around 2%, and the third 1%. Anything below the drop of 1% should be examined and fixed, as it's possible something in the content or timing is preventing people from purchasing.

It should be noted that, if the last email in your flow reports a placed order of at least 1%, you can add another touchpoint — an additional email to see how it will perform. It's quite possible it will be a valuable asset to your flow. But if the rate is below that 1%, you'll want to leave it as it is, as sending another email might overburden your subscribers.

When it comes to your Welcome flows, it can sometimes be tricky to gain as much engagement, since you don't have much data about your new customers. Blueshift suggests driving engagement and sales through product recommendations.

Its 2020 Benchmark Report found that campaigns using Predictive Recommendations were 116% more effective than their non-personalized counterparts. That same benchmark report found that triggered emails, rather than blast emails, are 497% more effective (with a 525% higher conversion rate), furthering the importance of segmentation and relevance.

However, it might not be feasible to capture a lot of data for each customer early in their journey, but there are some ways to implement effective recommendation strategies within your omnichannel Welcome Series.

Attrition Metrics
These are the ''bad'' email marketing metrics: unsubscribe rates, spam complaints, and bounces. It's certainly not satisfying seeing them go up, but you can learn a lot from this. They're giving you the opportunity to adjust your content and segmentation and clean your list for better results in the future. Just tune in and take proper steps!


Ideally, your unsubscribe rate should always be below 0.5%.

In case it's higher, you'll need to readjust segments so they target only the people who engage with your emails the most. Alternatively, you can reduce your email frequency. Send emails frequently to people who engage with your brand regularly, but go slow on the ones who don't engage as much. Try sending them your best offers of the month, and take it from there.

As long as your unsubscribe rates remain below 1%, you can pop in your subscribers' inboxes a bit more frequently.

Spam complaints

Your spam rate should be at 0% to 0.02% at most.

If it's higher, this means there are people who don't want to hear from you at all. Perhaps you bought your list instead of growing it organically, or you kept overburdening subscribers with emails that are irrelevant to them. In this case, you'll need to clean your list urgently and revisit and readjust your segmentation. Send relevant, personalized emails to people who explicitly stated they want to hear from you!

But make sure not to mix unsubscribes and spam complaints. Unsubscribes are essentially ok, and they do not affect your reputation. They simply mean your content is not interesting to certain people — fair enough. Spam complaints, on the other hand, are much more serious, as they are bound to affect your sender reputation. Plus, it's quite likely people have already made it clear they don't want to hear from you, but you kept emailing them nevertheless. That's a no-no!

Bounce rates

Bounces are perhaps the trickiest of all email marketing metrics. They represent the percentage of email addresses from your list that didn't get your message because it was returned by a recipient mail server. There are hard and soft bounces. Hard bounces occur when an email address or a domain doesn't exist, or the receiving email server has completely blocked delivery. Soft bounces occur when a person's inbox is full, the recipient email server is down or offline, or the email message is too large.

Although email is the channel with the lowest bounce rates, they should be carefully handled nevertheless. Addresses that experienced hard bounces should be gathered into a segment and removed from your target audience as soon as they happen. On the other hand, you can give soft bounces the benefit of the doubt. If it happens only once, you won't need to exclude the addresses. What do you do if it happens more than once? You gather them into a segment and exclude them from your lists to save your deliverability and reputation.

You need to be able to prioritize and track the right email marketing metrics. Benchmark them against your past results and, if possible, against results of brands similar to yours. That's the perfect way to get a clear picture of the state of your account. Based on the outcomes, you'll be able to tweak your strategy and content. This will help you consistently improve the results your email marketing program brings.

Need some help? Have any questions? Don't hesitate to get in touch with our experts!

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