KPIs 101: Email Marketing Performance Basics


Delivering a good email to your subscriber’s inbox is just half of a great campaign. To really make the most of your marketing efforts you must track performance over time. That is where email marketing key performance indicators, or KPIs, come in.

KPIs are trackable metrics that can be used to inform how you are progressing towards any given goal, whether that is growing your subscriber base or converting more leads into customers. Here are some of the foundational KPIs that every marketer should be tracking:

  • Open Rate -- This metric shows what percentage of people opened an email.

  • Click-through Rate -- This metric shows what percentage of people opened an email and clicked through to the website.

  • Conversion Rate -- Using analytic tools, this metric determines the number of successful customer conversions from emails.

  • Email Delivery Rate -- This metric tracks what percentage of subscriber email servers accepted the delivery and is measured by the number of bounced emails (aka failed deliveries.)

  • List Growth Rate -- This metric shows the rate at which an email list is growing.

  • Email Sharing Rate -- This metric tracks the rate at which successful email recipients send your email to others.

  • Unsubscribe Rate -- This metric shows how many recipients unsubscribe after opening an email.

Tracking some or all these basic KPIs is integral to any good marketing strategy and should always maintain a user-centric lens. There are many factors that impact any given customer’s experience with your emails, so it’s important to take this data with a grain of salt. Rather than focusing on specific metrics, take a holistic approach to looking at marketing performance to see where you can optimize your campaigns.

How often should you be reviewing your metrics? It depends on the KPI. Metrics like open rates and conversion rates should be assessed after each campaign, while list growth rate and email delivery rate -- metrics that are more instructive over time -- can be reviewed on a weekly, monthly, or even quarterly basis.

Tracking performance is crucial to understanding individual email performance and assessing the health of your lists. Set your goals and figure out the necessary KPIs you’ll need to track for achieving them and you’ll be well on your way to managing successful email marketing campaigns.


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