Even after creating and sending a campaign to your subscribers, your work as an email marketer is far from over. If you want to know how you fare and what it takes to be successful in the future, then the next step should be measuring your performance. Any given campaign produces a number of different metrics, but let’s take a look at those that are consistently important for most email marketers, and what you should always expect from your email marketing service provider.
Email metrics in general are pretty simple to understand. Take the open rate, for example. What you have here is a metric, typically expressed in the form of a percentage or raw number, that tells you how many people opened your message. While the open rate is indeed essential, it is important to note that it is not 100% accurate. This is mainly for three reasons:
- Image blocking – The average email client will block images by default. So unless the user takes the initiative to unblock them, that message will not result in an open because the image that enables it to be tracked wasn’t loaded.
- Preview panes – If a subscriber is using a mail program with a preview pane, your reports may reveal an open for a message that wasn’t actually “opened.” This could easily be the case when the user is scrolling their inbox and having a glimpse at a message via the preview pane. So although they may not have read the message entirely, it counts as an open because even if that message was only technically open for a brief second, the image that enables it to be tracked was loaded.
- Mobile devices – It very common for a subscriber to read their email on a mobile device. In some instances, the subscriber will be viewing a plaintext version of that message, and in this case an open will not be counted since no HTML means no tracking image.
Since open rates can be affected by a variety of factors, it is best to use them to compare various aspects of your campaigns (subject lines, frequency, etc.) rather than rely on them for a true measure of performance.
If you want something that acts as a true measure of campaign performance, you have it in the click-through rate, a metric that speaks to the amount of times the links in your email were clicked. A high rate typically indicates that the reader is at least interested enough to click through and learn more, while a lower rate usually means that your message content or call to action needs some work. In terms of click-through rates, you can get the best assessment of campaign performance by analyzing each and every link in your message.
The conversion rate is arguably the most important metric of all because it indicates whether or not you are accomplishing your ultimate goal. That goal could be getting a subscriber to download a report, join your membership site or actually buy something. If you want to gauge the overall effectiveness of your email marketing efforts, look no further than your click-through rate.
Without regularly tracking your campaigns and measuring their performance, you are just treading along blindly. You’re bound to hit a wall sooner or later, so it is wise to uncover the insights email metrics can provide and make the most of them.