email bounce rate

Email Campaign Metrics – What Do Those Numbers Mean?

email bounce rateLooking at your email campaign reports with column after column of numbers can be overwhelming. A recent HubSpot webinar on email marketing covered common measurements of Email success and what they really mean – which should shape your strategy and which are just good to know. This post was written using my notes and some extra research. Enjoy!

Bounce Rate

Percentage of emails sent that could not be delivered. This measurement uncovers potential problems with your list, though a certain percentage is to be expected as people change workplaces and email addresses. Included in bounce rate are soft bounces and hard bounces.

A soft bounce refers to an email message that gets to the mail server, but is bounced back because the recipient mail box is full, the server is down, or your message is too large.

A hard bounce often results  from an invalid email address or from the recipient mailserver blocking your mailserver.

Delivery Rate

Closely related to your bounce rate and the quality of your subscriber list, delivery rate refers to the percentage of emails actually delivered to recipient inboxes. Look for 95% or higher.

List Growth

This one you may have to figure out manually, but it obviously refers to how fast your list is growing.  Keeping in mind that the average list decays at a rate of about 25% each year due to job changes, unsubscribes and email address changes, your list should STILL be growing.  If it’s not – make sure you are taking advantage of all opportunities to collect email addresses.

Click Through Rate

One of the most important numbers to track, click through rate shows the proportion of  recipients who clicked on one or more links in your email. If you are wondering if your click-through rate is above or below average – don’t bother. These figures vary widely depending on industry, the lead nurturing campaign its attached to, recipient position in the buying process, the quality of your list.

Email Sharing

How many people are forwarding your emails? Make sure your emails have “share this” buttons. This makes recipients far more likely to pass on your message, allowing it to reach many more than the size of your list.

Conversion Rate

This is the ultimate measure of email campaign effectiveness.  Email conversion rate refers to the percentage of recipients who open an email, click on a link and complete the desired actions – filling out a form, downloading something, purchasing something. In the end, that’s what really counts!  Remember that the quality of your landing pages will be as important to this number as the email itself.

Revenue for Email Sent

Ecommerce companies can use email and Google analytics to figure revenue gained per email. Assign a dollar amount to each action and track it with Google Analytics goals.

Open Rate

Percentage of people who open  your email. Not the most reliable metric, as the actual numbers are often higher than those reported. Your subject line could be really good and people might open, but we really care about them taking action, so focus more on click through and conversion rates.

Unsubscribe Rates

It happens! Don’t let it get you down. Some are just not engaging even when they’re on your list -they mentally unsubscribed already!

To keep the unsubscribe number low and your positive metrics high, consider asking your recipients questions about what they like to read, or why they didn’t convert. They can “vote” by clicking on one link or another (remember, individual link click-throughs are tracked on most email platforms).  For example (and segment your list so the statement is correct):

We notice that you didn’t click on any of the links in our last email. What makes you want to click on a link  in an email?:

  1. Relevant content offers.
  2. Special pricing and coupons.
  3. Timing – I have the time to read at the moment I open the email.
  4. Nothing – I get too many email messages.

You could ask just about any question, as long as it is about THEM and give as many options as you need to gather the feedback you need.  Can you think of any you’d like to ask?



About the Author Alisa Meredith (311 Posts)

As co-owner and chief inbound marketing consultant at Scalable Social Media, Alisa Meredith spends a lot of time keeping up with online marketing trends for the benefit of our customers. Computers have been a passion of hers since her first T1-99, so inbound and social media marketing is a natural fit.

Trackbacks for this post

  1. Email Campaigns - Increase Open and Click-Through RatesScalable Social Media – Internet Marketing Services
  2. Building Your Email Strategy - Five Email Messages You Should Be Sending | Scalable Social Media - Internet Marketing ServicesScalable Social Media – Internet Marketing Services

Leave a Comment

Awesome! You've decided to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

XHTML: You can use these tags: