Email MetricsFor decades, measuring the success of marketing and advertising campaigns was not an exact science. However, fast-forward to the advent of email marketing and you find all the tools you need to monitor your campaign with up to the minute data for every email you send. You can see the number of emails sent, emails opened, bounce backs, unsubscribes, and click-through rates in real time. Understanding these metrics and how best to use them is key to improving your email marketing campaigns and achieving better results.

Here are the basic email metrics you should evaluate in each campaign:

Emails sent: The total number of emails you attempted to send.

Delivered: Indicates the number of emails that reached your intended recipients (i.e., the total number of emails sent, less errors and bounces).

Opened: The email was delivered, received and viewed by the recipient.

Read: Once opened, the email was viewed for a long enough duration to be considered "read" by the recipient.

Errors: The system did not attempt to send because of an improperly formatted email address. Please verify that you have entered a valid email address (i.e.,

Unsubscribe: The recipient requested to be removed from your email list. The contact record still exists, however - in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act - the system will no longer send emails or newsletters to that address.

Hard Bounce: The system attempted to send the email but it was undeliverable due to an invalid or non-existent email address. Please verify that you have entered a valid email address. (After an email address accumulates two hard bounces, that address will be automatically unsubscribed.)

Soft Bounce: The system attempted to send the email but it was temporarily undeliverable (i.e., the recipient's email server may have been busy or offline, the recipient's mailbox may be full, etc.). You can attempt to send your message to this recipient at a later time. (After an email address accumulates three soft bounces, that address will be automatically unsubscribed.)

Auto-Unsubscribe: An email address is automatically unsubscribed if it accumulates two hard bounces or three soft bounces.

Clickers: The number of recipients who clicked at least one link in your email.

Total Clicks: The total number of clicks generated by an email (includes multiple clicks per recipient).

Sales: The number of individual sales produced by an email.

Total Sales: The total dollar amount in sales generated by the email campaign.

Sales Per Email: The average dollar amount in sales resulting from each individual email.

Average Sale: The average dollar amount of each sale.

Conversion Rate: The percent of "conversions," or sales produced by the campaign.

Forwards: The number of recipients who forwarded an email, the percentage of forwarders for the campaign, and the total number of forwards.


So which metrics should you t focus on? That really depends on your objectives. Your open rate will help you determine, in part, the effectiveness of your subject line. Other factors that can influence open rates are what appears in your recipients' preview pane and how important your business is to your viewers. Other metrics such as click through rate (CTR) and conversion rate should also be analyzed in determining the effectiveness of a campaign.

Increased CTR through MetricsWhy is that? Because CTR and conversion rates can tell you how many of your recipients took the action you wanted them to take, such as purchased your product, signed up for your newsletter, downloaded your whitepaper, etc. While open rates are important, they will only tell you how many people read your email. CTR and conversion rates can help you determine how well your message is designed and structured, how compelling your offer is, and how clear your call to action is.

In order to further improve your email marketing campaign, additional analysis of send, delivery, error, bounce, and unsubscribe rates are necessary. Delivery and open rates are greatly affected by spam issues. Most of the ISP and hosting companies have implemented spam filters that can filter out suspected spam emails. It is best to avoid using any common suspected spam words such as "free offer," "money," "30 day guarantee," and "free trial." Also refrain from excessive use of exclamation points and capital letters, which also can cause your email to be flagged as spam.

Careful analysis of each of these metrics will insure that your email marketing campaigns constantly evolve. Ongoing refinement of your campaigns will result in higher open, CTR, and conversion rates. So construct your messages carefully, and consistently monitor your email statistics to find out what works best for your business.

This article was written by David Montalvo, Director of Business Development at Active Web Group.