4 Important email marketing KPIs you're overlooking

As a marketing professional, you know there’s more to a strategy than just crafting beautiful emails and excellent copy. After all, how do you know your content is great if you aren’t monitoring the success of your campaigns? 

That’s why overseeing your email marketing key performance indicators (KPIs) is vital. 

Email marketing KPIs are data that help you determine how a given email or campaign is performing. These figures are often found in email analytics reports. 

email marketing KPIs

Source: Emma

Now, while many use “email insights” and “email analytics” interchangeably, it’s essential to understand that they’re two different terms:

  • Email analytics: The tools that provide you with an analysis of data. This data can come in the form of open rates, click-through rates, and a variety of other KPIs.

  • Email insights: What your team learns from reviewing your email analytics report. Insights help you and your team aggregate all the KPIs across your campaigns. You can then work on improving future campaigns. 

Once you understand the difference, you’re ready to dive deeper into understanding the many different KPIs that can and should be used to help you determine the success of your efforts.

Standard email marketing KPIs all marketing teams should be monitoring

Depending on your email marketing software, you may or may not have access to a dashboard that offers you a detailed look into the performance of your email campaigns. They often look like this:

email marketing software

Source: Emma

These generally give you access to a handful of email marketing KPIs to measure. 

For most marketing teams, there’s a standard set of numbers that determine the effectiveness of a campaign. 

Standard KPIs that should be monitored include:

  • Open rate

  • Click-to-open rate (CTOR)

  • Click-through rate (CTR)

  • Unsubscribe rate

  • Bounces

  • Conversion rates

  • Return on investment (ROI)

  • Engagement/Shares

4 email marketing KPIs you may be overlooking

Sure, the email marketing KPIs above are pieces of the overall puzzle—but to know exactly how well your email campaigns are doing means you’ll need to dig a little deeper. With so many different KPIs available, it can be hard to narrow down which ones should take priority.

The common KPIs listed above are absolutely essential to understand, while the other KPIs are often overlooked—but still play a vital role. If the following KPIs aren’t part of your usual reports, consider adding them in. They can and will help you get more detailed information.

1. Email delivery rate

Now, this seems like it belongs in the “most common” section. But many marketers often overlook this number or prefer to look at opens versus delivery. While knowing who opens your message is crucial, so is knowing your messages are making it into the intended inbox. 

Your email delivery rate is the total number of emails that reached the recipient’s inbox. This number can be found by dividing your total number of emails sent (minus any that bounced) by the total number of emails you attempted to send. 

Depending on the email marketing software your team is using, this can be shown as email deliverability rate, delivery rate, or even your mailing score. 

The emails that typically perform better are designed with the reader in mind, such as this example from Gantri:

Gantri email

Source: Really Good Emails

This addresses a point of interest right from the subject line: “New colors are here!” 

From there, readers can check out some of the new colors, click-through to browse more options, or go on to read the latest blog post. Again, this message is for the reader—and because of that, it’s less likely to be marked as spam or trashed before being opened. 

2. List growth

The next overlooked email marketing KPI is overall list growth rate. Your list growth rate refers to the increase of your email list over a given period (a month, a quarter, or even a year) and tells you whether or not you’re pulling in new subscribers.

emma list growth rate

Source: Emma

If you’re noticing your overall list growth has started to slow or taken a negative turn, take time to reevaluate your strategy. Some ideas may include:

  • Encouraging sign-ups via email or through your social media channels

  • Giving incentives to those on the fence of signing up

  • Giving people plenty of opportunities to opt-in to your newsletter and email campaigns

3. Opens by device

We’ve already talked about how vital monitoring your opens and deliverability are, but another missed email marketing KPI is opens by device. 

While some marketers may firmly believe an open is an open and that the device doesn’t matter—that simply couldn’t be further from the truth. 

With more and more people choosing to open their emails on their smartphones (and other mobile devices), those brands designing emails for desktop only are going to notice decreasing engagement. 

You should know that 54% of all email is opened on a mobile device. So if you’re still designing email with outdated standards, you’re bound to start noticing less overall opens, click-throughs, and conversions. 

email example

Source: Emma

That said, you want to start carefully monitoring which devices your audience use to open your messages. Then you can design your content with their needs in mind. Remember, what works for a desktop doesn’t always render the same on an iPhone screen.

If you’re unsure which devices your subscribers are using, or your analytics report doesn’t include opens by device, then you’ll want to make sure you’re designing responsive emails that open up correctly no matter which screens your subscribers are viewing them on.

4. Spam complaint rate

Having your emails marked as spam is one of the worst feelings. Not only does it mean you’re potentially losing a subscriber, but that they have submitted a spam report to their email service provider (ESP). This can then lead to other ESPs filtering your messages as spam, further limiting your reach.

This is why monitoring your spam complaint rate is crucial. If your subscribers are marking your messages as spam, especially before opening it, then you know your campaign strategy has missed the mark.

Take this example from Bed Bath & Beyond. This message was filtered based on the email subject line.

Subject Line: RE: Please open for your NEW coupon

The subject line comes off as spammy for several reasons:

  • “RE” – Stands for “in reference to” or “in regard to.” The subject doesn’t give readers anything to reference, so why are they supposed to be opening the message?

  • Please open – Digital breaches happen all too often. So if you’re asking people to open a given message, they might be hesitant (new coupon or not).

bed bath and beyond email example

Source: Gmail

Avoid spam with these tips:

  • Make sure your subscribers have permitted you to message them 

  • Send only relevant content

  • Don’t use deceptive subject lines

  • Avoid using spam words, such as “urgent,” “winner,” “free,” “ad,” “money,” or “act now”

Wrap up

Crafting a fantastic email or series is only one step of your email marketing strategy. Knowing your audience, what they’re looking for, and maintaining your standards are all essential to a successful email marketing campaign. However, to truly know how well your efforts are paying off is by monitoring standard email marketing KPIs, as well as overlooked KPIs. 

Along with your standard email marketing KPIs, such as open and click-through rates, you’ll also want to monitor the following:

  • Email delivery rate

  • List growth

  • Opens by device

  • Spam complaint rate

Looking for email marketing software that provides you with a full analytics dashboard? Schedule your demo today and see what Emma can do for you.

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. With our​​ powerful automation and personalization features, you can create and send email campaigns that reach the right customer at just the right time. It's email marketing that works for you.

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