Email Marketing - Measuring Campaign Effectiveness

There are a lot of campaign tracking metrics available to you, so how do you know what to focus on?

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Tim Swann

Last week I told why email marketing is still an important campaign channel, I mentioned that one of the benefits of email marketing is the tracking metrics it offers you. So, this week I’ll delve deeper into metrics - what are they and what you can learn from them?

Generally speaking there are the four main metrics we look at when we run an email marketing campaign:

  • Open Rate
  • Click Through Rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Unsubscribe Rate

Open and Unsubscribe are pretty self-explanatory and actually, it might surprise you to know, they’re not that important! Conversion rate and click-through-rate are far more important so it’s necessary to understand the differences.


The CTR or Click Through Rate

This is the percentage of people who clicked any link in our email, it doesn’t matter what the link was or the destination.

The CTR tells you how useful your email was to it’s recipients. This metric will give an insight into how helpful and relevant your email content was for your audience. A strong call to action in your email will drive your CTR so always check you have included one.

CTR measures the proportion of people that your email campaign has directed to your website.


The Conversion Rate

This is the percentage of people who completed the action we wanted of them. Depending on your goal, that metric might only be measurable by linking your email marketing analytics with your website analytics. The best way to do that is by using campaign tracking tags on all your URLS.

The conversion rate measures the proportion of your audience who were interested enough AND found it easy enough to take you up on your offer or suggestion.


Why are open & unsubscribe rates discounted so readily?

Open rates are detected by the images in the email, when those images are opened the web server they are coming from records that fact, that’s why you quite often have to click a “show images” button or link before you see a full HTML email.

Likewise the unsubscribe rate can be an unreliable metric - most of the time, people don’t actually bother to unsubscribe, they’re much more likely to delete, ignore or filter your emails rather than reading and then clicking on unsubscribe.

If your email gets filtered into a recipient’s junk mail folder - they may not see it for weeks, if at all. Not all email clients and servers will report back to the marketing platform that the email was marked as spam.

Then there are the “bounces”, there are so many reasons for those that it will make up a future blog post!


What’s important is to understand which metrics will measure the success and failings of your campaign and crucially, help you modify and improve your next campaign.

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