Making Sense Out of Your Email Metrics

You’ve spent the time planning your marketing strategy, coming up with compelling content, and designing the perfect email template. You have also built your list, programmed your deploy time, and finally let that email fly. Now what?

One of the primary benefits of using an email marketing platform is the data you receive on your email’s performance. It’s important to utilize this data to inform your future email campaigns, but what exactly are these numbers telling you?


The first piece of information most reports show is the deliverability rate. The deliverability rate gives you valuable information about your list; including the percentage of emails sent that were successfully delivered to your lead's inbox, insight on your actual and potential audience size, and bounce rates. 

Bounce rates are any emails that fail to deliver. Bounces further break down into hard bounces and soft bounces. A hard bounce typically means you have a now invalid email address in your list, where as a soft bounce typically reflects an issue on the users end; such as a full inbox or temporary downtime on the user’s email server. Either way, bounces are typically not good news. They reflect potential leads who are not getting your emails, and they can also hurt your sender reputation, which could in turn lead to your communications being caught in spam filters.

Open Rate

Open rate might seem self-explanatory, but there are a few things to consider when reviewing your data. Often times, open rate is viewed as the only statistic that matters, but it isn’t really reflective of your email as a whole. Yes, you want to get the most eyes on what you’ve put together, but when a reader is deciding whether or not to open your email, they haven’t yet seen your design, content, or call-to-action (CTA). All that is being considered at this stage is your sender name and subject line. If you are looking to improve your open rate, consider running some tests on what kind of subject lines you are using, and make sure the name you are sending from is recognizable to your audience.

Unique Clicks

Clicks are good indicators of whether or not your content, design and message are driving the engagement you are looking for. At this stage, your readers have had a chance to at least glance at the words and layout you’ve created and decide if they want to learn more about what exactly you have to offer. It’s a good idea to consider what links are getting clicks, and use that to inform how you word and position links in future emails. However, when you are looking at the raw numbers, it is important to consider their context. If your open rate is low, it limits the number of people who had the chance to click or convert.

Click-to-open ratio

Measuring the number of leads who click on an email compared to the number who open it can give you a better idea of your content’s effectiveness within a given audience. This metric will remove the variable of open rate from the equation and just measure clicks within the context of those who have had a chance to give the email a good look.


A conversion rate can mean a lot of things depending on the campaign, but it generally refers to your leads responding to and completing your CTA. This action can be anything from making a purchase, to filling out a form, to downloading a whitepaper so it is generally a good idea to define one action for each campaign you build. Some marketing automation platforms will even allow you to assign a conversion goal so these metrics remain in your data ecosystem. If you have a clearly defined conversion goal, this can be the ultimate measure of success for your campaign.

Device/browser/client detection

Device detection is not always standard in email marketing platforms, but there are some third party tools that can give you this sort of insight. This kind of data typically won’t help you understand the effectiveness of your campaigns, but it does give you helpful information when it comes to optimizing your email code. Emails will render differently for each email client (Gmail, Outlook, etc.), so if you have an idea of what clients and devices your audience is primarily using, it can help you prioritize which devices your email renders preferably on.


Geography or assumed geography can be a great piece of segmentation data. Some email marketing programs will collect this, and you could potentially use it to tailor your message based on where your audience is. You can also adjust your send times based on what is optimal for individual time zones.

When it comes to analyzing your email metrics, it all comes down to context.  While some metrics are better than others for determining success, all can provide you with key insight on how you can better optimize your campaigns moving forward. 

If you would like to learn more about email marketing, including how to build a successful lead nurturing program, download our latest eBook, or contact us for help. 


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