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Email Marketing Metrics Roundup

 In Email Marketing, Email Marketing News

What are the key email marketing metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you should look at to measure your email marketing success? Unfortunately, there isn’t a single answer as it depends on your objectives. Nonetheless, we interviewed our staff and clients and compiled a list of the top metrics and KPIs. Here’s what you should track and leverage to optimize your email marketing performance.


Open rates are a good success indicator but may not correlate to engagement or conversions. A drop in open rates over time may suggest list fatigue, time for cleaning, or a re-engagement campaign. Check also for potential delivery issues. Open rates can also indicate how engaging your content is and whether you need to split test subjects or pre-headers. Also, consider changing the timing or perhaps overhaul your editorial calendar completely.

Open Chart


A good metric for measuring the relevance of your email content. It’s a good idea to look at link activity over time. Name your links with a “friendly name” and categorize them into relevant content buckets (i.e. blog categories, product type, CTAs). That way you can evaluate results over time for a particular category.  Heat Maps are one of the best ways to improve email performance and to see which CTAs are working best. Sure, the Hero image will work best but you’ll be surprised what other links work well including those in your footer and social icons.

Click to Open Rate (CTOR)

–CTOR is a quick and reliable metric to measure campaign performance with a strong correlation to conversion rates. The percentage of unique opens who clicked on a link is an excellent indicator for the effectiveness of your content. When comparing campaigns, CTOR is a great KPI for campaign effectiveness.

Objective Metrics





Different emails have different objectives. Always use the metric which maps back to the goal. The goal for our top-of-mind newsletter is to drive more visitors to our blog. So we’ll look at clicks to blog posts and page views it generates.

When someone signs up for our 30 Day Free Trial they receive 7 automated emails focused on increased engagement and conversion. So in this case we check the number of signups to the trial account as a result of the emails as well as phone calls and conversions.

If we send invitations to a webinar or seminar our key goal is registrations. So we will look at Click-to-Open rate for engagement to the registration page and an ROI tracker on the Thank You page to measure Registrations within the OpenMoves platform.

Engagement over timeConversion Funnel

Is an open or click from a “fan” more valuable than a click from a new or infrequent recipient? The answer may vary, but you’ll typically see higher ROI from the latter. So measuring engagement over time using segmentation can be insightful and you’ll learn which emails are better at creating new engagement.

Another good measurement for ongoing engagement is Open Reach Rate or Click Reach Rate. These tell you what percentage of your subscribers are opening or clicking over a given period (i.e. quarter). If you send emails pretty consistently Open Reach is a great KPI to compare quarter over quarter performance.

Conversion Rate

If the key metric for your email campaigns is new leads or a sales then you should measure everything in terms of what leads to the highest conversion.  Whether subject line performance, CTAs, email content, or design, you should look at all the elements of an email that bring the highest conversion rate.  As an example, is a good subject line one that generates the most openers or the most conversions?

Revenue per email

If revenue is the goal, than what matters most is how much revenue you generated per email. To be objective, best to compare campaigns by revenue per 1K email sent so you have a ratio that’s meaningful. You can also look at average order size per campaigns.

The OpenMoves platform integrates revenue and conversion data from Google Analytics. But if your ESP does not offer this data you can easily setup Goal Value in your Google Analytics.


Engagement per device

Studies have shown that many mobile readers delete emails that don’t display correctly on their smartphones. So looking at opens and clicks split by device can shed light on the value of responsive templates for your brand. Note: watch out for those subscribers that switch from mobile to web to complete their conversion.

Target Total vs Target %

Don’t get hung up on % rates only (open rates, click rate, conversion rate, etc…). And compare target totals – the total actual number of people that opened or clicked or converted. By sending 3 emails/week vs. 1 email/week you may reduce your open rate and click rate and conversion but you might have more openers, clickers, and actual sales. So sometimes the % may be deceiving as your goal is typically to maximize results and not the percentages.

List fatigue

Charting trends like subscribers’ time on a list and correlating to source (Social Media, Tradeshows, Web, etc.) can lead to interesting insights into your list fatigue and ways to improve list growth.


A simple and good KPI to measure the lack of relevance of your content to your subscribers. Measure unsubscribes as a % of your list over certain time increments. You can also look at unsubscribes based on email frequency and based on when they opted in (is there higher churn with new subscribers vs old?).


Like unsubscribes, very important to keep an eye on % of ISP complaints, hard and soft bounces as indicators of list hygiene and deliverability issues.

So the most useful metric in email marketing depends on what you are trying to achieve with your email program and what you are able to measure.

Want to compare your results to others? This could be the best email stats compiled by an industry expert. Check out Dave Chaffey’s article on email marketing statistics 2015

Which metrics do you find most useful? Leave a comment below.

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