Knowing which email marketing metrics matter can make all the difference for your business.

This concept was perhaps best captured in the Peter Drucker phrase, “What gets measured gets managed”.

Indeed, keeping tabs on the important details ensures that you’re always looking for new ways to improve.

Since email marketing is essential in this digital age, you need all the actionable insights you can get to improve. Here are 12 email marketing metrics you need to forge ahead.

12 Important Email Marketing Metrics

1. Open rate

It’s a fast world that we’re living in. No one seems to give the light of day to the things that don’t really matter.

Cognizant of this reality, it’s essential that you tailor your subject line to be engaging.

Newspaper editors have stuck to this principle for the longest time. They know well and good that a compelling headline will attract people to read their papers.

To thrive in the digital space, you also need to tailor your scripts to have more personalization. Essentially, this means drafting them as though you were talking to a friend. By creating a sense of relatability, you’re likely going to notice a spike in your open rates.

If need be, make sure that you use your own name instead of the business name. Having said this, it’s important that you weigh what’s more recognizable, an email from you or from your brand. If your company is in good standing in your industry, then, it probably wouldn’t hurt to push the brand agenda.

Once you’re able to notch impressive open rates, you can then proceed to work on other metrics. After all, everything else is inconsequential if your emails are never opened.

2. Click-through rate (CTR)

In a perfect world, for every email you send, your subscribers’ interest is piqued immediately. They rush to open the email and gobble every word you have to say. Then, at the very end, they click on your call to action message and do as you ask.

However, that’s all just fantasy thinking.

We don’t live in an ideal world. There are so many curve balls that are constantly being thrown at us.

As such, click-through rates are typically not the most striking figures registered among email marketing metrics.

For impressive numbers, you need to draft your email to sell the reader right from the word go. While at it, it’s important to ensure that you’re adding value to your subscriber base with every email you send. Else, you’ll register fewer clicks and people eager to buy from you.

By tracking your CTR, you’ll know just which tweaks to make so people can better relate to your CTA. Using the insights learned, you can then reverse engineer your way towards sustained success.

3. Conversion rate

Setting goals is usually the very first step before you begin an email campaign. With a list of objectives at the ready, you’ll be better prepared to track progress registered after every milestone.

In business lingo, a conversion happens whenever you’re able to get users to fulfill some of the laid out goals. From this, we can deduce that this action follows right after you measure your click-through rate.

Once people click on the link you shared, tracking your conversion rate lets you know just how many people completed a specific action.

Since goal setting is an integral component of conversion rate monitoring, you need to clearly elaborate your key points early. To do this, you can leverage a host of email marketing tools in the market. Google Analytics is quite popular among marketers since it informs you about your conversion rate at no extra fee.

With an effective system in place, you can ascertain whether your investment is paying dividends. If you find that you’re falling short in some departments, then, you need to up the ante and steer your campaign in the right direction.

4. Bounce rate

Bounce rate refers to the number of subscribers in your email address list who never get your emails. Since cases vary, bounce rate is divided into either soft bounces or hard bounces.

Usually, soft bounces occur when there are temporary issues with email addresses. On the other hand, hard bounces are a result of permanent issues with email addresses. In many instances, hard bounces are a result of numerous fake and error-laden email addresses.

For better comprehension of the effectiveness of your strategy, you need to consider comparing bounce rate against open rates.

To lower your bounce rate, you need to ensure that you have a double opt-in feature. Basically, this means that users have to confirm that they’re interested in receiving correspondence from you.

Since this is typically done out of their own volition, there’s high chance implementing this strategy will lower your bounce rate.

5. Number of unsubscribes

Marketing is not always a fairy tale.

As such, you need to always be open to the idea of unsubscribes to your content.

Contrary to popular opinion, unsubscribes aren’t an obvious indicator of things going awry in your operations. In a way, you should be receptive to them since they can help you fine-tune your subscriber base. This is because the people who stick around are actually letting you know that they enjoy the content you share.

In the long run, it’s actually better to have a handful of super-engaged subscribers than a multitude of people who don’t care about getting your emails.

Having divulged this, you need to be wary when you notice a spike in the number of unsubscribes. In the spirit of evolving your brand, you may discover that some strategies don’t resonate well with audiences.

Too many people opting out of your emailing list may actually mean that you need to revisit a strategy you recently implemented.

To avoid getting mass defections, reverting back to the original settings usually helps bring the tides in your favor. Going forward, you should also ensure that the quality of your campaigns stays up.

6. List growth rate

This is one of the most important email marketing metrics out there. This is because it informs you about the rate at which your reach is growing.

To calculate it, you simply need to jot down the number of new subscribers and minus the number of unsubscribes. Once you get that figure, then divide the result by the number of total email addresses on your list and multiply by 100.

Importantly, you need to remind yourself that attrition naturally happens. In light of this, you need not focus on how much you’ve lost. Rather, you need to think about new avenues to explore and grow your list. This may mean finding new ways to engage subscribers and looking at ways to discover new loyal subscribers.

7. Spam complaints

Despite living in the informational age, there’s plenty of things that get lost in the hubbub. Indeed, it would make zero sense to have an excellent campaign if it always ends up in the spam box.

At times, content gets marked as spam for no obvious reason. Someone could be actually having a really bad day, or you happen to have just sent an email at the same time that they were receiving loads of crummy emails. In some instances, people forget that they actually subscribed to your list and take offense when you email them out of the blue.

Understandably, people put items in spam boxes to avoid receiving unnecessary content. When your emails get repeatedly marked as spam, email marketing platforms will track such reports. If the numbers notched get too high, they may decide to actually take action against your account.

If you’re looking to avoid becoming just another statistic in the spam folder, don’t use spammy language in your emails. Ideally, you want to ensure that the quality of your posts doesn’t deteriorate and that you’re always providing real value.

8. Forwarding rate/email sharing

This is probably one of the easiest email marketing metrics to calculate. This is because you simply need to take the total number of subscribers and deciphering which percentage forwarded your email.

If a user happens to share your email campaign with someone else in their circle, then, they become part of your forwarding rate.

A high forwarding rate is usually an indicator of high levels of enthusiasm for the content you send. The more shares your email receives, the better it reflects on the relevance of what you share. The more brand advocates you have, the better.

Since about 81% of customers’ buying decisions are influenced by recommendations from friends in social media circles, you need to develop an email strategy that strikes the right chords with your audience.

9. Engagement over time

When you monitor engagement levels over extended periods, you’ll have more intel on what your subscribers like. You’ll also be informed about the best times to send messages.

Thanks to the power of automation, you can configure your email service provider to dispatch emails using specific customer triggers.

Interestingly, using data from your communications, you may learn that there are occasions where you achieved great engagement levels without embracing automation. All this information is important since it helps you gain a better understanding of when to contact your subscriber base.

10. Mobile open rate

Usually, mobile open rates fall behind desktop rates because it’s easier to switch between multiple windows and perform complex browsing tasks on a desktop.

While this may imply that you need to focus more on desktop reach than mobile, a recent study actually shows the reverse is true. The research ascertained that 61% of email open rates in the U.S. happened on mobile, 15% on desktop and 24% in a webmail client.

From this data, it’s clear that you need to target a broader fraction of your audience with mobile-friendly emails to enhance your net CTR.

If you discover that a significant portion of your emails is actually opened on mobile devices, you need to make the right tweaks. This may include things like implementing larger font sizes, minimizing the text content and introducing more buttons to the UI design.

To further boost mobile open rates, it’s necessary to pay special attention to the subject line. Incorporating simple elements like the first name of the recipient can go a long way to enhance open rates. You can also embrace A/B testing to figure out which emails have the best open rates.

11. Revenue per open email

Paying special attention to the numbers means breaking down data and figuring out areas to improve. If you’re meticulous, you need to track which types of emails generate the most conversions.

To ensure that you have sustained success, try replicating the fruitful models then proceed to monitor the revenue generated per open email.

When done right, this is one of the best ways of finding out the return on investment of your email campaigns. At the same time, it also gives you the power to comprehend how each email campaign fairs and which areas to optimize your content.

12. Revenue per subscriber

This is one of the most insightful email marketing metrics. The statistic informs you how to proceed with specific activities that extend beyond email marketing. This can include activities ranging from offsite content marketing, to on-page lead capture forms and many more.

When you analyze the revenue generated per subscriber, you’re able to get floor seats to each member’s contribution to your ROI.

Using this data, you can parse out specific demographics which aren’t helping you out. Once you discover this, you can choose to either change the emails, focus less on certain demographics or shift your resources to a particular demographic. Ultimately, you decide the play.


That wraps up our review of the top 12 email marketing metrics you need to be aware of. All of the highlighted figures are there to give you insights about your audiences’ undertakings and to help keep your team focused on the objectives of the campaign.

Having listed them out, we’re curious about your take on the subject.

Do you think these email marketing metrics will make you a better entrepreneur? How soon are you willing to start tracking them?

Let us know in the comments section!


Having spent 18 years either running his own agency or an agency for others, Jason has strong expertise in both B2B and retail marketing, and has been working with large clients on how to bring campaigns to market.

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