9 Email Metrics and KPIs You Should Track to Grow Your Business

And that’s where tracking email marketing metrics can be so useful.

When you choose the right email metrics to track, you can make data-based changes and accurately measure what’s working and what isn’t. Download our template to begin tracking main email metrics and KPIs.

Download Email Tracking Template

But what is an email tracker? And how does it work?

Let’s explore some of the most important email campaign metrics. I'll discuss what they are, how they’re calculated, and how you can improve them.

Email Engagement Metrics

Figuring out where to start with tracking email metrics can be overwhelming. The data you collect will only be useful if you understand what it is, why it matters, and how to use it when improving your email performance.

Below, you’ll find some of the most important metrics for email marketing you should know and consider using.

1. Open Rate

If you want to have a shot at your emails achieving their goals, the first step is to get the recipient to open them. And that’s what the open rate of an email can help measure. It can show you whether an email was opened, when it happened, and how many times did the recipient view it.

How to Calculate

The formula for calculating the open rate is simple. You take the total number of emails that were opened and divide that number by the total number of emails sent. Then, multiply the result you get by 100, and you’ll get your open rate percentage.

open rates

For example, if you sent out 240 emails and 60 of them were read, you would divide 60 by 240, getting 0.25, and then multiply by 100. You would then find your open rate to be 25%.

How to Improve

  • Test Your Subject Line. The main deciding factor in whether the email gets opened is the subject line. It needs to be relevant, intriguing, and timely. Try out a few variations and angles to see what works best in different situations.

  • Work on Your Preheader. The preheader is the preview of the mail most email service providers have adopted. You can customize it to augment the subject line, create more curiosity, and entice the person to open and read on.

  • Double-Check Your Sender Name and Photo. You want the sender name and photo in your email to instill confidence and provide information on who you are. If you’re representing yourself, write your full name and include a professional photo. And if you’re writing on behalf of a brand, consider adding the brand name in the sender name as well, such as “[Name] at [Brand]”.

  • Consider the Timing. The time you send an email can have a huge impact on how well it performs. Consider who you’re sending the email to and when they are most likely to open the email and have time to check it out. Test out different times to find what works best.

2. Click-Through Rate

The click-through rate is one of the key email performance metrics, measuring the number of people who click the links in your emails. Since most emails aim to get the recipient to perform a specific action, it’s the most impactful email metric you could track.

How It’s Calculated

The CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks from your emails by the total number of emails you sent out, minus bounced emails. Then, that number should be multiplied by 100 and you’ll get the click-through rate percentage. You can also simply divide clicks by opens without subtracting bounced emails. But it’s important to make a choice and stick with it to maintain data consistency.

email click rate

How to Improve

  • Try Plain Text vs. HTML Designed. You should test whether your recipients prefer plain text emails or HTML emails. Both options have their pros and cons, although plain text emails look less salesly and have better deliverability.

  • Add a CTA to Your Email Signature. Using a professional email signature is the perfect opportunity to include an eye-catching CTA, as it can increase the likelihood of your link getting clicked. You can even create a beautiful email signature banner that will grab attention and enhance the link with visual elements.
email signature banner
  • Short Form vs. Long Form Content. Longer emails don’t always translate into better performance. While they can work amazingly well, sometimes a short-form email can improve your click-through rate. To find out what works best, test out both shorter and longer emails and see which one your readers prefer.

3. Conversion Rate

Once your customers click through to your landing page or offer, you want them to respond to your offer. It could be making a purchase, scheduling an appointment, downloading a report, or anything else. And that’s what the email conversion rate can help you measure.

How It’s Calculated

The conversions are calculated the same way as the click-through rate. You take the number of people who completed the action you wanted them to take (called a conversion) and divide it by the total number of emails sent, minus those that bounced. Then, multiply by 100 and you’ll get the conversion rate for your emails. Just as with the click-through rate, you don’t have to subtract the bounced emails as long as you remain consistent in how you calculate it.

Conversion rate email

How to Improve

  • Work on Your Offer. If a person clicks through from your email and doesn’t convert, the most common problem is your offer. It’s likely that what they saw on the link didn’t match up with the expectations you set up in the emails or the offer itself was too weak.

  • Create a Special Landing Page. To control what the recipients of your emails see, create a customized landing page that matches their preferences, expectations, and stage in the customer journey.

  • Test CTA Types. There are many ways to structure and frame your call-to-actions, so testing out different angles and wordings can help provide a significant boost to your conversion rate without you having to do anything else.

4. Email List Growth Rate

The pace at which your email list is growing can be a good indicator of whether you’re doing a good job of attracting new leads. You can use the email list growth rate as a measure of how your lead generation campaigns are performing and how to improve them.

How It’s Calculated

You can measure the email list growth rate by looking at how many new subscribers you have versus the number of people that have unsubscribed in the same period. Take the number of new subscribers, subtract the number of unsubscribes from your list, and divide the result by the number of total subscribers on your list. Then, multiply by 100 and you’ll get the rate at which your list is growing over a period of time.

Email List Growth Rate

How to Improve

  • Create Engaging Sign-Up Forms. If you want someone to subscribe to your list, you need to show them the value of your emails and make the offer enticing. Reworking your sign-up forms to highlight the main benefits relevant to your audience can help you get more people to click the subscribe button.

source:  Wisepops

  • Promote Your Newsletters on Social Media. Social media is an incredibly effective tool for promoting your email newsletters. If you have an audience that’s already interested in what you have to share, offer them to sign up for helpful information, exclusive deals, and personalized content.

  • Add a Subscribe Button to Your Email Signature. If you're sending out emails to prospects or clients, it can be the perfect way to grow your subscriber list on autopilot. You can set up a subscribe button or banner on your email signature and get additional subscribers through your business communications, which can amount to a significant number of new subscribers over time.

5. ROI

The return of investment (ROI) is one of the most crucial email KPI metrics because it allows you to measure whether the effort you put into your emails is actually paying off. By calculating the email ROI, you can determine how much return you’re getting from every email you send out.

How It’s Calculated

An email ROI is measured by taking into account the earnings and the total spend of your email marketing campaigns. First, you’ll need to subtract your spend from your profits and then divide it by the spend of your campaigns. Finally, multiply the result by 100, and you’ll get your ROI.

email ROI formula

How to Improve

  • Follow All the Steps Above. There is no single way to improve your ROI, as it will be a reflection of all the other email optimization strategies you use based on the email metrics discussed above. That means that when you optimize your open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, and other metrics, you are improving your ROI as well.

  • Optimize Your Expenses. Another way to look at your ROI is to analyze the expenses of your campaigns. If you can reduce your expenses without hurting the profits, you can improve the ROI even if the performance stays the same.

?Check the effectiveness of your marketing effort in no time with our ROI calculator 

6. Bounce Rate

The bound rate in an email refers to the number of emails that didn’t reach their recipient. This can happen because of an error in the email, spam issues, a bad sender’s reputation, or even the fact that the email address no longer exists.

There can be two types of bounces - a hard bounce and a soft bounce. A hard bounce refers to emails that didn’t deliver for permanent issues, such as a wrong or inactive email address. Meanwhile, a soft bounce happens when there are temporary errors that prevent the email from being sent.

A popular benchmark for an acceptable email bounce rate is under 2%. Anything between two and five should be looked into. Above five percent, you are facing serious deliverability issues and need to resolve them as soon as possible.

How It’s Calculated

Calculating your email bounce rate is relatively easy. Just divide the number of emails that bounce by the total emails you send and then multiply by 100.

bounce rate email

How to Improve

  • Verify Your Email List. If you send mass emails and want to decrease your email bounce rate, a good way to eliminate hard bounces is to use a tool like NeverBounce or Kickbox, which can check whether all emails are valid.

  • Add a Double Opt-In. When getting people to sign up for your list, it’s a good idea to implement a double opt-in system to ensure that you don’t get fake or misspelled emails.
double opt in

source: Getvero

7. Email Delivery

The email delivery rate can be looked at as the opposite of the email bounce rate and is one of the more important KPIs for email marketing. It allows you to see the percentage of emails that successfully reached their recipients.

How It’s Calculated

The email delivery rate is calculated by taking the number of emails that were sent, subtracting the bounces, and dividing the result by the number of emails sent out. Then, you would multiply the number you get by 100 and get your email delivery rate as a percentage.

Delivery rate email

How to Improve

  • Follow the Spam and Bounce Tips. If fewer of your emails get bounced or end up in the spam folder, that will increase your email delivery rate automatically. Therefore, it makes sense to follow the tips for those email metrics if you want to see improvements here.

  • Warm Up Your Email Addresses. If you have a brand new email account and start sending mass emails, the chances of them being flagged become higher. To avoid it, you should warm up your email addresses, gradually building up the number of emails you send out so that email service providers don’t flag it.

  • Be Consistent With Your Sender Name. If you constantly change the sender name in your emails, that might send the wrong message to email service providers and hurt your delivery rate.

8. Unsubscribe Rate

The success of your email marketing campaigns will depend on not just getting people to subscribe but also on getting them to stay on your list. And that’s where the unsubscribe rate can be one of the more useful email metrics to track. It measures the number of people that have unsubscribed against the total number of emails you send out.

How It’s Calculated

The unsubscribe rate can be calculated by dividing the number of unsubscribes by the total number of emails sent and then multiplying the result by 100. The result you’ll get will show you the percentage of people that have unsubscribed through the period that those emails were sent.

Unsubscibe rate email

How to Improve

  • Segment Your List Based on Interests. One of the more common reasons people unsubscribe from an email list is irrelevant information. But as your list gets bigger, catering to everyone's needs with a single email will become much more difficult. By segmenting your list based on their interests and actions, you can maintain interest and personalize the content that people receive from you.

  • Test Email Frequency. Even though you want to keep your email list engaged, sending emails too often can result in people getting frustrated and unsubscribing. A good way to prevent that is to test out different email sending frequencies to see what your audience prefers. You can also be upfront about how often you’ll email your subscribers to set up expectations and avoid annoying your subscribers.

  • Create Different Unsubscribe Groups. Sometimes, your subscribers might not be interested in some of the topics your emails cover. If you provide them with different unsubscribe options, they may decide to unsubscribe from what’s irrelevant to them and stay on your list for what they care about.

9. Spam Rate

Avoiding the spam folder is a top priority for anyone sending emails. But to ensure you’re not upsetting your subscribers and getting spam complaints, you need a way to measure whether it’s a prominent issue and if you need to address it.

How It’s Calculated

If you want to calculate your spam rate, you should divide the total number of complaints by the number of emails you send out. Then, multiply that number by 100 to get a percentage of how many emails were marked as spam.

Spam rate email

How to Improve

  • Double Check Your Email Address and Sender Set Up. A common reason why emails end up in the spam folder is that they’ve been sent to the wrong address. Therefore, make sure you always check the email address before adding it to your list or sending an individual email. Also, make sure you set up SPF record, DMARK, and DKIM, which will verify that you’re the one sending the email and prevent it from being delivered if not.

source: securityboulevard

  • Avoid Using Spammy Words. Email service providers have multiple ways to determine whether an email is spam. And one of the most popular methods is to scan for words or phrases that are very common in spam emails. To prevent your emails from being marked, it’s a good idea to be mindful of some of the most common spam words to avoid when writing.

  • Check Your Email Service Provider Reputation. Using a reputable email service provider is a key part of preventing your emails from ending up in the spam folder. If you’re sending mass emails regularly, use an established provider that isn’t associated with low-quality or spammy emails.

Bottom Line

Email marketing can be incredibly effective. But to achieve long-term success, you need a way to track results and make data-based decisions that can help you improve.

With the help of these key email metrics, you will have a complete picture of your email performance. You can get specific answers about what’s going well, what you need to improve, and whether there are urgent problems you need to address.

If you want a fast way to get started with tracking email metrics, download our email tracking template below. It contains ideas for improvements and tests you could perform as soon as today.

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Ostap is a marketing professional (PMM) with 5+ years of experience in the software industry (B2B and B2C). Having worked with email marketing products and services, Ostap has a deep understanding of various email marketing strategies and solutions.