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Email Marketing: 5 Essential Metrics to Focus On

Email marketing is a powerful weapon. If you decide to use it as one of your marketing tools, then you gotta be smart about it and outsmart your competition. They key to a successful email marketing ROI and engagement is to have a goal with every single email you send out. If you’re only cutting corners, most probably, you’ll be leaving money on the table, a lot.

No matter of the type of brand you own, or the type of content you are putting out there, these are must-follow key metrics. According to the DMA, the 4 most important email marketing metrics (as identified by advertisers) are: Open rate, CTR, Conversion rate, and ROI. Read until the end to find out the 5th: the last but not the least highly underestimated metric.

1. Open Rate

Open rate is the first metric marketers usually look into. And it’s only fair, being the only one that indicated whether our campaigns are delivering or not.

Open rate shows the percentage of subscribers that opened your email campaign. The formula is simple: emails opened/emails delivered. Personalised subject lines have one of the biggest roles in successful open rates. As Forbes wrote in 2017, 56% of the brands that use an emoji in their subject lines, had a higher open rate than those who did not. Moreover, using the recipient’s first name in the subject line make the brand more trustworthy and gains more attention.

PRO TIP: Make sure you’re optimizing your campaigns for mobile devices as well. Most mobile open rates report 46% of all email opens.

2. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The click-through rate is where things get a little more serious and represents the percentage of subscribers that clicked once or multiple times on your emails. It means they are engaging more with your brand and are one step closer to converting. The formula is: (total clicks or unique clicks/email delivered) * 100.

Click-through rates are usually lower than open rates. Here the big role is assumed by the content of the email, whether is relevant enough. You can definitely improve this metric by creating eye-catchy and not-to-be-missed click-through actions (CTAs) like buttons with discounts or offers.

PRO TIP: Segmentation make a big difference when aiming for higher click-through rates.

3. Conversion Rate

Conversion rate goes hand in hand with CTR and measures how many people actually converted after clicking on specific links. The formula is: (people converted/emails delivered) * 100.

Successful conversion rate apply to any kind of actions that your email asked the subscriber to do. For example, if your brand has a 24 hour 50% OFF discount on a specific item, you would consider everyone who purchased that item in the 24 hour window to be a conversion.

Conversion rates are basically the end-goal of our email campaigns. Creative content based on daring call-to-actions and powerful subject lines are what drive the subscriber to complete the action.

PRO TIP: Setup unique tracking URLs for each email link to identify the source of the click and the specific campaign the conversion was made from.

4. Return on Investment (ROI)

With every investment, there’s comes responsibility. In other words, ROI.

Every marketer should be tracking their overall ROI, which represents the overall return on investment of your email campaigns. The formula is: [(money made in sales from the specific campaign – money invested in the specific campaign)/money invested in the specific campaign] * 100.

According to email marketing statistics, in the UK, every one pound spent on email marketing has an ROI of 38 pounds; in the US, it’s $44. In addition, one of Litmus 2018 study showed that ‘the ROI for email marketing is roughly twice that of other digital channels—if not better’.

PRO TIP: Don’t be afraid to become more sophisticated in email marketing in order to boost your ROI. For example, Relevon uses powerful machine learning based recommendations system to make emails more relevant by displaying the right products to the right people. Feel free to check all the features here.

5. List Growth Rate

Usually forgotten or underestimated, the email list stands at the core of email marketing. Without a subscribers list, it’s pointless to start creating campaigns. That’s why, tracking the rate at which the list is growing is key. The formula is: [(number of new subscribers – number of unsubscribes + email complaints)/all subscribers] * 100.

According to a study, email databases decay naturally by 22.5% every year.

PRO TIP: Grow your email list organically and clean it on a regular basis in order to keep your entire email marketing healthy.


To wrap it all up, these are the 5 most important metrics you have to focus on for your email marketing. Any metric can be enhanced by keeping in mind your end-goal for each campaign and being consistent about it.

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Eric Mumo

Eric is a Content Creator at Relevon. You'll find him researching, documenting and writing marketing and technical content for Relevon's Blog.