How to Make Your Email Metrics Work for You

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When it comes to having a successful email campaign, nothing is more important that keeping track of your analytics. This means you’re able to track and follow your emails and keep tabs on how many people opened your emails, read them, acted upon them, etc.

A great email marketing campaign isn’t going to do you any good if you don’t keep track of which ones worked or not. This type of information is vital to your success so you will be able to increase the types of emails that did well and improve or delete the emails that didn’t.

Almost every email service provider nowadays is able to track the most important metrics you’ll need. Be sure to ask the email service provider you’re considering if they are able to track each of these metrics as shown below.

Knowing What to Analyze

The first step in analyzing the success of your campaign (and being able to track continued improvement) is to determine the GOAL of your campaign. From there, you’ll be able to tell which metrics you need to track to determine how successful you were in that particular goal.

Here’s a look at some of the most important metrics you’ll need

Clickthrough Rate (CTR):

Your CTR is defined as the percentage of people who have clicked on one or more links in your email.

How to Calculate

You can get this number by dividing the # of total clicks (or unique clicks) by the # of delivered emails. 

Note: Either total clicks or unique clicks will work — just be consistent with it.

The CTR is the most common metric that email marketers track. For every campaign you do, you’ll want to keep track of your CTR and keep finding ways to improve it. 

Your CTR comes in especially handy when you start doing A/B tests. We’ll talk about how to do those a little later in the course, but for now, you should know that an A/B test is when you’ll have two emails that are almost identical, except for ONE thing. That one thing could something as simple as a headline or a CTA (call to action) button. That is what we call an A/B test, and it’s to see which email element performs better.

Conversion Rate

Your Conversion Rate is defined as the # of people who have “converted” — that is, clicked on a link in your email and completed the transaction that you asked them to. Most new marketers believe this means the number of people that purchased your product, but in reality, this transaction could be something like signing up for your newsletter or even purchasing a product — it doesn’t matter. It’s whatever your purpose was for that email or what you wanted your subscriber to do. That would be considered a conversion. It’s basically a measurement of your performance or success rate and is one of the primary methods of determining whether your goals are being met or not.

How to Calculate: You can get this number by dividing the # of people who completed your transaction by the # of emails delivered, and then multiply that by 100.

Bounce rate

A “bounce rate” has a different explanation in email marketing than it does in website analysis. In website analysis, it’s described as the # of times a visitor left your site without engaging in anything (no clicks, opt-ins, etc., whereas in email marketing, your bounce rate is described as the percentage of undeliverables (emails that never reached their destination) you have in a campaign.

Your bounce rate is the percentage of emails that never reached its recipient’s inbox.

How to Calculate: This is calculated as the # of undeliverables divided by 100.

Bounces in email marketing can occur for several reasons. If it’s simply a temporary problem with someone’s ISP (internet service provider) or a problem for example, that their email box is full, you can retry to send the email. These are called soft bounces.

However, if it’s a permanent problem such as the email no longer exists, be sure to remove it right away. These are called hard bounces and are frowned upon. You don’t want to take the risk of having too many hard bounces like this since it looks like spam on the part of your email software service. Too many of these, and they will halt your service as sending spam email. (That’s just one reason why having opt-in options for your new sign-ups are important.)

Rate of Growth of Your List: (Or Rate of Shrinkage)

This is the percentage, based on the previous email campaign compared to your current one, that your list has grown (or shrunk). 

How to Calculate: Subtract the # of Unsubscribe clicks from your New Subscribers and divide by the # of people on your list.

Note: Don’t be deterred by Unsubscribes for two reasons: First, a healthy list will automatically have a certain number of unsubscribes every month regardless, and second, those Unsubscribes are helping you keep your list filled with subscribers that WANT to be there, thus saving you money and making your list more relevant.

Sharing and Forwarding Rate

This is the percentage of subscribers who share and/or forward your emails to their friends. (Yes, your email software can keep track of that too.)  A higher Sharing/Forwarding rate means a higher engagement with your email which is good for two reasons:  First, it’s a great way to grow your list without spending any additional money on it, and second, when your emails have a high engagement, that’s when you know which types of emails appeal most to your subscribers, so you can duplicate them later.

How to Calculate: Divide the # of Shares and Forwards by the # of delivered emails and multiply that by 100.

This metric tells you how engaged your subscribers are with your content. It’s an important metric you’ll always be attempting to increase since it is the primary method of obtaining NEW subscribers. Be sure to mention to your subscribers in your emails to “Forward to Friend” or “Share on Social Media” for a greater impact. By analyzing your Share and Forwarding rate, you’ll be able to tell which type of content was the most popular with your subscribers.

Return on Investment (ROI)

This is a popular metric used by almost all email marketers. This is the amount of revenue you’ve created by your campaign (if it is a sales campaign) divided by the amount it cost you to run the campaign. This is an important metric and can be used with any type of campaign, not just an email campaign.

How to Calculate: There are several ways to calculate ROI, but the most basic is to determine the amount of revenue you’ve earned from a campaign divided by the dollars it cost you to run that same campaign, multiplied by 100. (Each campaign will have different ROIs.)

It’s important to note that not everything can be tracked by analytics such as these. How do you measure the # of people who see your campaign but don’t respond until a month later, for example? There’s no way to track events such as this. However, the ROI will give you a good overall estimate on the success of your campaign. 

There are many more metrics you can track, but these are the ones that are the most important to your business.


Be aware of metrics that really don’t mean anything. Newer marketers will track such things as “email open” rates, which really don’t mean anything. You can have every one of your subscribers open 100% of your emails, but if they don’t ACT on those emails or click your links, then your emails are worthless.

In addition, some email software providers think, in order for an email to be counted as “opened,” it has to have downloaded the images as well. However, since some of your subscribers are going to have image-blocking software in their email software, this will read incorrectly as an email that was unopened, even if it was read. Avoid scenarios like these by understanding these metrics and using only the metrics that really count toward measuring the growth of your business.

And the List Goes On . . . .

There are so many things that go into creating a great email campaign.  These are beyond the scope of this particular article.  However, if you want to learn more about creating the ultimate email campaign, consider our Email Marketing Mastery course which is a part of our Million Dollar Marketer program linked below.

Margery Hinman, Ph.D., is founder of Million Dollar Marketer, a membership program combining a collection of online tutorial, resources, and strategies for the rising online entrepreneur. Our Email Marketing Mastery course is just one of 20 different digital marketing courses that can help you achieve your online goals for 2019 and help you on your way to a great income in your own online business.

Visit us today!