Tracking Your Email Campaigns — The Key Metrics for Reporting and Analytics
So much information is available about email campaigns now that it can be hard to separate out what’s useful and what’s not, and sometimes even harder to know how to use the data you have to inform and improve your future campaigns.
Don’t worry though, I’m here to help! I’ll talk you through which metrics are important and how you can use these metrics to improve your results.
Firstly, tracking your email performance is super important. There are three key reasons why you should make tracking your campaigns a priority:
Three Reasons to Track Your Email Campaigns:
1. Moving on up
Without tracking your emails, you’re not going to know how they are performing or be able to compare what works and what doesn’t. This means that in future sends, you’ll have no way of making them better, or even knowing what content you should or shouldn’t be using. With tracking in place you can get to know your customers better and, in turn, give them more of what they want.
2. The proof is in the tracking
Marketing budgets can be tight, and the higher-ups in your business may be looking for areas to make cuts in. Having the stats which prove the ROI of your efforts can be the difference between you being able to send effective emails and missing out on a key area of digital revenue.
3. Focus pocus
You’re a busy person, you’ve probably got a million and one things on your plate. Having metrics available that show you where you’re performing well will help you drive more focus to the areas that need help, and allow you to nurture the areas that are already doing well. It gives you a comprehensive overview of how to split your time, and in the marketing world, it’s imperative to success.
Now we know why we’re tracking, let’s take a closer look at what we’re tracking. These are the key metrics that you absolutely 100% of the time want to focus your attention on:
Open rate measures how many people on your email list opened up your campaign and is usually expressed as a percentage. Let’s say that you sent your email to 100 people and you got an open rate of 30%. This means 30 people out of the 100 you sent to opened your email.
Open rates will vary hugely, dependent on anything from list size to method of data acquisition. Here is a list of average open rates split out by industry to give you an idea of what to benchmark your open rates against. If you’re an Enabler customer, you’ll be able to find your open rate quickly in the dashboard report.
Knowing whether you have a high or low open rate is a good gauge of how effective your subject line has been at engaging people and driving them to open the email. If you have a consistently low open rate, it could mean that your email might have ended up in the recipient’s junk/spam folder, which hardly anyone checks. If you have a low open rate, it’s worth taking a look at your email deliverability.
Click-through rate (CTR)
Click-through rate measures how many people clicked on the links within your email and, like open rate, is usually expressed as a percentage. It’s calculated by the amount of people who clicked on your email, divided by the number of people who opened it. Let’s say you sent that same email to the 100 people. A CTR of 30% in that instance would mean that for every 10 people who opened the campaign, 3 went on to click a link.
Your CTR will vary based on a number of factors, including email content and list size. You can find a list of average click through rates by industry here. If you’re an Enabler customer, the click throughs for your campaigns can be found in the dashboard report.
Knowing your CTR is vital, as not only does it tell you how engaging your customers found your email content, but it will also show you want content they found the most or least engaging and if your calls-to-action worked. This information is vital in making content improvements for future campaigns.
Unsubscribe rate measures how many people unsubscribed from your email list for a particular email or set of emails. It’s expressed as a percentage (are you seeing a theme yet?) and is calculated by the amount of people who unsubscribed from your campaign divided by the amount of people who received it. For example, a 2% unsubscribe rate would mean that for every 100 people who received your campaign, 2 people unsubscribed.
If your unsubscribe rate is below 2%, you’re within industry norms, however I’d always be looking to see an unsubscribe rate under 1% to truly know you’re sending the most relevant content to your customers. The only time I’d expect an unsubscribe rate to be higher is if you’re sending to a list you haven’t sent to in a while, or if the data is very new, as they tend to unsubscribe more if you haven’t been communicating with them regularly.
Now although no one like to think of people unsubscribing from their emails, it’s actually bad practice to not include an unsubscribe link — so best practice is to make it clearly visible (preferably at the top of your email). Many email providers like Google could penalise your email domain for not having an unsubscribe link, and send (any future emails) to the junk folder — so always include the unsubscribe link.
You might notice that sometimes when you send an email, the amount of people you send to isn’t always the same amount as the people who receive it. This is due to bounces. Bounce rate measures the percentage (here we go again) of email addresses you tried to send to, who didn’t receive your message.
Bounces can occur for any number of reasons, including the recipients email inbox being full, the email address no longer existing or because the recipients mail provider marked you as spam. Generally speaking, a bounce rate is healthy if it’s less than 3%. Anything higher and I’d check your data for problems. If you’re an Enabler client you can see your bounce rate in the dashboard report.
Email visits will measure how many people visited your site by clicking through from your email marketing campaigns. It’s a fantastic way of comparing how your email campaigns are performing against other channels like social media and search. It’s an especially important one if driving traffic to your website is important (and I’m going to go ahead and guess it is!).
Tracking your email visits helps you gauge how relevant the links from your emails were and how the site content performed. The most important things to look at as well as tracking the number of visits is looking at Average Session Duration (time on site), Page/Session Views(how many pages they viewed) and Bounce Rate. Bounce rate is especially important to note because if people are clicking through from your emails then leaving your site straight away, it could mean the page you’re linking to either isn’t engaging, relevant or isn’t correct. Having a high bounce rate can affect how Google perceives and lists your site on search engines, so try to keep bounce rates to below 40% for all channels.
If you’re an Enabler client you can add Google Analytics tracking to each of your links in your campaign under the weblinks section. This will enable you to see each individual campaign and how it’s performing when you log into your Analytics and watch your stats build.
Email conversions will measure the number of customers who converted, (e.g. made a purchase, signed up for a product, etc), that were directly driven by your email marketing campaign. With the majority of marketers, the aim is ultimately to drive sales for your business — which makes this metric incredibly useful. It can give you quantifiable data with which to justify all your upcoming email marketing decisions. This very much goes back to the proof point of ‘why track?’.
So there you have it. Three reasons to track and six metrics you should be tracking.
Each one of these metrics should help you to make decisions about the next campaign you do, and give you the data you need to make your campaigns as successful as they can be.
Speak to our award winning experts at Enabler and discover how our professional email platform can take your email reporting to the next level.