How to look at metrics when it comes to email

6 years ago by in Email Marketing Tagged: ,

How to look at metrics when it comes to email

In email there’s two types of different categories of metrics you want to look at.  One is the performance of the channel and two is revenue generated by the channel.  Today we’re going to discuss those two areas and I will walk you through what metrics are important, why you should look at them, and how do you structure a dashboard.

Channel reporting

When it comes to the performance of email, there’s four things you should be looking at.

Number 1:  number of emails sent in a specific week or month.

Number 2:  what was my open rate?

Number 3:  what’s your click through rate.  Click through rates are actually a more accurate way to measure performance and this is why. Your email contains a pixel, when an email is opened, it registers if the pixel has rendered.  Unfortunately when it comes to your inbox, especially in Outlook, if you just scroll through all the emails you have in your inbox they will register as open because they will show up in a preview screen.  Because of this open rates tend to be higher numbers rather than showing the true value to the questioner.  From that perspective, click through rates are a better measure.

Number 4.  The fourth metric that is key to understanding whether or not your program is successful is your unsubscribe rate.  This is the number of people who unsubscribe from your communication divided by the number of emails sent times a hundred.

Depending on whether your communication is a promotional email, service-oriented or an account-oriented email you will have different levels of acceptable averages.  For example, if your click through rates for promotional email are between 4 to 6 percent, you are doing something well.  It is common in an e-commerce business that addresses multiple consumers for successful communications to have four to six percent. If you are sending a service-oriented email and your click through rates are 8 to 10 percent, you have a successful campaign.

These four mentioned – numbers of emails sent, open rate, click through rate and unsub rate can be found in the reporting functionality of your email service provider.  You can set up an automatic reports to send to you weekly or monthly basis that you can then incorporate into your into your email dashboard.

Revenue dashboard

The other piece of metrics when it comes to email is measuring how much revenue is generated by your communication.  Today there are many providers that make it very easy for you to measure the revenue generated by a communication.  For example, you can add email performance metrics to your Google Analytics dashboard.  Most major email service providers will integrate smoothly and easily with your analytic dashboard.   From MailChimp to Constant Contact for your small business — both make it very easy to measure revenue generated by the email channel.

If you are a larger organization, I’ve used Omniture to check the performance of my email channel.   In either case, most major email service providers, whether they are focused on small business or large enterprise in today’s age make it very straightforward for you to integrate your online channel metrics to include email from your service provider.

Now if you have a home-grown system, that becomes a different story. I would recommend that you talk to your analytic’s team to find out how they track traffic coming from the email channel and build a dashboard.

You also want to take a look at what is the revenue generated per email sent.  This is a straightforward metric where you can divide number of emails sent by revenue and you get your number.  Please remember that when it comes to unsubscribes, that is a cost to your business.  Depending on the maturity of business, you have a value associated with the value of an unsubscribe. You should also take that out of your revenue notebook.  So, for example, I’m trying to generate my revenue generated per email metric, I will first take the value of an unsubscribe and multiply that by the number of unsubscribes I had.  Let’s say I had 10 people unsubscribe from my email channel last week, the value of one unsubscribe is $10.  So ten times ten is $100.  I will subtract that $100 from overall revenue generated from the email channel.

That is how you generate your revenue per email number.

Reporting dashboard

So there you go, that is how you would build your email snapshot dashboard to capture full performance of the channel as well as revenue generated by it.  You might want to have a commentary field or have the dashboard purely data oriented.

The other thing that business tend to dismiss is that they look at the overall performance of the channel and dismiss the highs and lows.  You should keep a close eye on your top performing and lowest performing emails.  Your lowest performing campaigns should be defined by  will probably be measured by high unsub rates, low open rate, low click through rate.    The key to remember there is that its not good enough  to look at the program didn’t do well, you’ve also got to take a look at why you didn’t do well.  You should always be taking a look at what didn’t work so you can learn from it.  It can be done in the dashboard or it can be done in a separate environment where agents analyze what happened.  So there you go.  These are the basics of measuring the success of the email channel.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to

Katya Constantine is a seasoned online marketer with over 11 years of experience. She has developed a uniquely comprehensive background in email and omni-channel marketing for large online brands. Most recently, she was at Expedia and Amazon, leading projects ranging from behavior-based programs to increasing customer acquisition and conversion with great results. Katya has successfully worked to bridge mobile, email, search and social channels to increase online performance at many large web properties and ecommerce startups. Presently, Katya is the CEO of DigiShopGirl Media. She is also a marketing mentor for technology startups via Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator program and an active blogger/speaker on topics ranging from mobile email to effects of the visual web on online marketing. You can follow Katya on Twitter @digishopgirl