Email Marketing Metrics and KPIs to Measure Campaign Success

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Analyze your email marketing metrics from all angles to determine whether it worked or bombed. No single metric will give you a completely clear picture. Here are the KPIs on which you should focus when evaluating your email marketing efforts.

No matter what business you’re in, use email marketing will help bump sales and customer engagement. If done right, email can help you take your business to a new level in a relatively short period of time. 

It’s easy to get lost in the world of email marketing metrics. Here, we’re going to explore one of the most important elements to get right before you start: KPIs. That stands for “Key Performance Indicators.” In other words, look at the data to know if your program is working or not. 

KPIs guide and show you exactly what you need to do to improve the chances of your campaign’s success. Analyze your email marketing campaign from all angles to determine whether it worked or bombed. No single metric will give you a completely clear picture.

Here are the KPIs on which you should focus when evaluating your email marketing efforts:

Deliverability Rates

Just because you have 10,000 names on your email list, doesn’t mean 10,000 people saw your email. Why is that? A 100% deliverability rate is a difficult mission.

There’s a difference between an email being delivered and making it into your subscriber’s inbox. Keep in mind your email could be delivered, yet go straight to the recipient’s junk folder. This is precisely why more and more marketers are utilizing the IPR (Inbox Placement Rate) as a KPI.

Open Rates

Making it into your subscriber’s inbox is not easy, but it’s the first step. From there, was your email opened? If you assume 85% of your emails go through, and your IPR is 79%, that still doesn’t have to mean your subscribers pay attention to the message. That’s precisely why you have to track the open rate.

The key elements that affect open rates are the subject line, preheader, and email frequency. Want higher open rates? Test your emails and pay attention to the subject line and preheader. You should also draft compelling copy that will arouse curiosity and urge subscribers to open your email. Are you sending emails once a week? Once a month? Is that high, is it low? Is it enough? There’s no better way to know, than to test.

Click-Through Rates

This metric indicates how many people clicked on a link in your email. But unlike deliverability and open rates, you should dig a little deeper. For every campaign, investigate which links interested your readers the most. It’s also critical to note where those links were located.

Let’s say you offered the same link twice, but worded it two different ways. One performed better than the other. By noting which performed better, you can optimize your text CTA accordingly. This may mean you compare where in the email the link is place, buttons vs links, etc.

For example, here’s an CodeCrew email campaign for their client, FinalStraw: 

Remember to always track what your subscribers clicked on to determine which performed better. Friendly reminder – clicks on the unsubscribe link might also count as a link click. But that’s a bad sign. Let’s talk about that unsubscribe rate.

Unsubscribe Rates

This KPI is one from which you can learn a lot. Why? Because those people that unsubscribed from your list didn’t report your message as spam. They just weren’t interested in reading your emails anymore. To learn more about keeping your audience engaged, here are 7 advanced ways to reduce email unsubscribe rates.

Look for trends in your unsubscribe rate, especially after making a change like a newsletter template design, a new sending schedule, or different segmentation. If the number of your unsubscribes suddenly rises in response to a new change, reconsider the alteration.

Bounce Rates

Bounce rate is another critical metric. A soft bounce is a temporary bounce, while a hard one is permanent. Invalid email addresses usually cause hard bounces. This happens if a person leaves their job and their email address no longer exists. It also occurs when an email address is entered incorrectly. 

Pay attention to these types of bounces. They indicate you should re-evaluate your list. There are methods to help verify email addresses are entered correctly.

When you get hard bounces, remove those addresses from your list as soon as possible. Why not just let the software do it for you? It’s much like the “rotten apple in a batch” example; this bad email can drag your whole deliverability rate down (see how all of these blend together?)

On the other hand, soft bounces are caused by an issue on the receiving end. As an example, the server is down or the inbox is full. Depending on the email marketing platform you use or the email service provider, the system will automatically try to resend your message.

Spam Complaints

Why is monitoring spam complaints so important in conjunction with your unsubscribe rates? Because there are some folks that simply report your emails as spam rather than unsubscribing.

If both of these KPIs strive in the same direction, that tells you something. Watch this number if you recently made changes to your email marketing campaign. It also strongly correlates with poor deliverability. 


This KPI is pretty similar to the social shares, but it has one essential difference – people that receive email forwards tend to be much more responsive to the content compared to those who receive it via social media platforms.

This is because a forward is similar to answering a phone call or receiving a physical letter in the mail. It’s rare; that’s why it stands out. This measures the share-worthy quality of your content and the level of engagement, both of which you would like to increase.


We’ve finally come to the KPI that matters the most – conversion rates!

Conversion doesn’t necessarily mean dollars. Depending on the purpose of your campaign and the structure of your business model, a conversion may be a sale. Or, it could be a type of engagement: downloading a piece of content, registration for an event, for a demo, or something else. Identifying what ‘conversion’ means for your email marketing program is the absolute first step you need to take.

Eventually, you can have various goals for your campaigns. When it comes to tracking conversions, knowing why you measure something is equally important as knowing what you’re measuring.

It’s time to start tracking these email marketing metrics!

Our goal here was to provide you with the most in-depth explanation of the email marketing metrics and KPIs for measuring marketing success. Data monitoring and analysis are necessary for assessing your campaign’s results. Set clear goals and identify suitable metrics and KPIs for your industry. You’ll be able to get the most out of every single email marketing campaign.


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