30 Second Summary
Whether you're struggling with the intricacies of Klaviyo's built-in reporting, drowning in an ocean of dashboards, or simply seeking ways to turn your data into actionable strategies, you're in the right place. We're here to help you navigate the complexities of email marketing metrics and tap into the wealth of insights they offer.
This blog post is for you if:
- You're still using Klaviyo's built-in reporting & don't know how to interpret the data.
- You have a myriad of dashboards filled with email data, but you're not sure what needs your attention.
- You're feeling overwhelmed with your email marketing data and want to focus on what's important.
- You want to turn your data into actionable strategies to enhance performance.
Many DTC ecommerce brands, perhaps even yours, fall into the trap of over-investing in data accumulation and under-investing in actioning on it. This blog post is designed to help you break free from this pattern.
What you'll learn in this blog post:
- The key email marketing metrics you should be measuring.
- What your email marketing metrics are telling you about your customers & the effectiveness of your strategy.
- How to interpret your email marketing data through benchmarking red/green/yellow.
- How to devise a plan of action based on your data to improve performance.
- Pre-built actionable game plans to address common issues in low-performing email marketing metrics.
Join us as we unlock the power of data in driving your email marketing campaigns, turning what may seem like an overwhelming challenge into a powerful tool for growth. The goal is not just to gather data, but to use it effectively.
Email Campaign Metrics Overview
Data is the raw material of your email marketing strategy. But data alone is useless.
Being a truly data-driven marketer comes from learning to transform data into actionable insights that drive higher performance and ROI. You'll learn how to do this in this blog post, but of course, it all still starts with making sure you're collecting the right data.
We'll start by making sure you're tracking the most important metrics (collecting the right data) & understanding what each metric is telling you about your email marketing strategy (information)
The most commonly tracked (and important) email marketing metrics are open rate, click through rate, conversion rate, bounce rate & unsubscribe rate. However, other useful, and more advanced metrics to track include: forward rate, avg. revenue per email, $/recipient, subscriber lifetime value, churn rate & spam complaint rate.
Then you'll learn how to turn that information into insights about your customers and what is working/not working in your email marketing strategy (insights) and lastly how to turn those insights into hypotheses to A/B test or new strategies to implement (action)
Key Email Marketing Metrics to Track
Understanding these key email marketing metrics is about more than just understanding what they are. More important is knowing what insights they can provide about your customers & the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy, as well as the strategic levers you can pull to improve their performance.
Our Email Marketing Glossary gives a more in-depth definition of each of these metrics & how to calculate them.
1. Open Rate
What Your Open Rate Measures: The percentage of email recipients who open a particular email.
Insights From Your Open Rate: Open rate tells you how effectively your emails can generate awareness & capture attention. It can also provide insights on how effectively your emails are actually being seen by your audience & whether you're sending relevant content.
Levers To Improve Your Open Rate:
- A/B testing subject lines & preview text to more effectively capture attention of email subscribers when they see your email in their inbox
- Improving deliverability to make sure your emails actually land in their inbox & are seen
- Improving audience segmentation to target more engaged subscribers
2. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
What Your Click Through Rate Measures: The percentage of email recipients who click on a link within your email.
Insights From Your Click Through Rate: Click-through rate tells you how effectively your emails are able to transition leads from consideration to conversion. You can get insights on whether your email content is relevant, whether your email layouts are optimized for engagement, and whether you're featuring relevant product recommendations.
Levers To Improve Your Click Through Rate:
- Improving your audience segmentation to target subscribers more likely to engage with the email content
- A/B testing & optimizing email layout by following CRO best practices
- A/B testing email design & copywriting to be aligned with the best positioning of your products and brand to get readers' attention
3. Conversion Rate
What Your Conversion Rate Measures: The percentage of email recipients who click on a link within an email and complete a desired action.
Insights From Your Conversion Rate: Conversion rate reflects how effectively your emails articulate the value of your products in solving customers' pain points. It speaks to the relevance of your product positioning and messaging, and whether you're recommending the right products to the right audience.
Levers To Improve Your Conversion Rate:
- Personalizing product & content recommendations in your emails to make them more relevant to the individual
- A/B testing different ways to position your products & highlighting different features/benefits to hit the pain points that your audience cares about most
- Optimizing your on-site e-commerce store pages to improve conversion rate
4. Bounce Rate
What Your Bounce Rate Measures: The percentage of your total emails sent that could not be delivered to the recipient's inbox.
Insights From Your Bounce Rate: Bounce rate is an indicator of the quality of your email list & how effectively your emails are landing in subscribers' inboxes.
Levers To Improve Your Bounce Rate:
- Excluding recently bounced emails or any accounts with hard bounces from email sends
- Add double opt-in to your email capture
- Improve deliverability metrics & sender reputation
5. Unsubscribe Rate
What Your Unsubscribe Rate Measures: The percentage of email recipients who click on the "unsubscribe" link within your email.
Insights From Your Unsubscribe Rate: Unsubscribe rate can be a measure of the quality of your email list and the relevance of your email content.
Levers To Improve Your Unsubscribe Rate:
- Make sure you're collecting high buyer-intent email subscribers rather than buying subscribers or getting them from giveaways
- Improving your audience segmentation
- Managing your email frequency to avoid over-emailing subscribers
- Setting up an email preferences page to allow subscribers to only select the topics they want to hear from you on
- A/B testing your email content to make your email campaigns more relevant
6. Forward Rate
What Your Forward Rate Measures: The percentage of email recipients who forward your email to others.
Insights From Your Forward Rate: Forward rate is a reflection of the quality of content in your email campaigns & how effectively you're creating raving fans.
Levers To Improve Your Forward Rate:
- Creating compelling and share-worthy email content which can often be found in the types of social media posts that get a lot of engagement or shares
- Providing value in your email campaigns
In essence, each of these metrics provides a unique perspective into the effectiveness of different parts your email marketing strategy. Understanding what they indicate and how to influence them is a crucial step towards developing actionable next steps & strategic changes to improve performance.
Understanding Email Deliverability Metrics
The other important category of email metrics to track regularly are your email deliverability metrics. While these aren't metrics that will necessarily play into your day-to-day strategy, they're foundational to making sure your emails actually land in people's inboxes & that your email subscribers see them.
If you have poor deliverability, it won't matter how great your subject lines or email content is... because subscribers won't get a chance to see them!
1. Inbox Placement Rate
What Inbox Placement Rate Measures: The percentage of your sent emails that successfully land in recipients' inboxes as opposed to their spam folders or elsewhere.
Why Is Your Inbox Placement Rate Important? If your emails are landing in the spam folder, your open rates are likely to be low, irrespective of how engaging your subject lines are. In essence, a poor inbox placement rate could mean your emails are never seen, let alone opened.
2. Sender Reputation
Definition: This is a score that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns to an organization that sends emails. The score is based on the quality of past email sends and is used to determine whether to deliver emails to the inbox, spam folder, or reject them outright.
Why Is Your Sender Reputation Important? A poor sender reputation can lead to your emails being blocked or ending up in spam folders, again, leading to low open rates. Maintaining a good sender reputation is crucial for ensuring your emails reach the intended recipients.
3. Domain Reputation
Definition: Similar to sender reputation, domain reputation is a score assigned by ISPs, but this one is based on the quality of emails sent from a specific domain. If a domain consistently sends high-quality emails, it will have a high reputation and vice versa.
Why Is Your Domain Reputation Important? A poor domain reputation, like a poor sender reputation, can lead to your emails being blocked or marked as spam. It's crucial to maintain a high-quality email list and send valuable content to sustain a strong domain reputation.
Monitoring and optimizing your inbox placement rate, sender reputation, and domain reputation can significantly improve the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy simply by getting your email seen by more recipients.
Email Marketing Metrics Tools and Resources
Most ESPs such as Klaviyo and Sendlane, offer built-in reporting. You can also use analytics platforms like Google Analytics & Triple Whale to better measure your email marketing metrics holistically in how they impact your broader marketing efforts.
Download our FREE Email Performance Dashboard Template
Measure, analyze & grow your email analytics with our free Email Performance Dashboard template. Built to easily export & import data from Klaviyo, or manually input - it's up to you!
Best Practices for Email Metrics Tracking
Here are some basic best practices to effectively turn the sea of data you have into information & actually interpret the data you've collected:
1. Establish Baseline Metrics
Start with weekly reporting of your key metrics. This gives you an understanding of your current performance and serves as a baseline for comparison to see whether it's trending up or down. You should also calculate an account-based six-month average (we call this your Account-Based Benchmark) This provides a longer-term perspective on your email performance.
Using baseline metrics is a form of Comparative Analysis which is increasingly more important with updates like Apple Mail's iOS updates & GDPR which can skew the accuracy of your data. By using comparative analysis, you're always
2. Setting Measurable Goals
Goals can be set based on achieving target benchmarks or a specific level of growth in a metric over a certain period (week, month, quarter). Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
There are 4 ways you can set your goals for your email metrics:
- Red Zone benchmarks: This is the approach of ensuring you keep key metrics above a minimum threshold
- Industry benchmarks: This is the approach of measuring against your peers in your industry
- Account-Based benchmarks: This is the "personal best" approach to goal setting where you aim to continually improve your own performance
- Business targets: This is the approach of setting goals based on what you need to achieve to hit the ROI your business needs from email marketing
3. Regularly Monitoring and Analyzing Metrics
Review your email analytics with your team every 1-2 weeks, or even daily during peak sales periods. This helps you stay in tune with your email performance and adjust campaigns as needed. Review your overall email performance with C-Suite & VPs every 1-3 months. This allows for a more strategic analysis of email as a channel and its effectiveness in supporting business goals.
4. Making Data-Driven Decisions
As a marketer, you should always be making data-driven decisions but the question is... what decisions are you making based on the data? Here are the types of decisions you should use your data to make when it comes to building your email marketing strategy:
- The types of email campaigns you should do more of or stop doing in your email marketing calendar
- How to position your product or brand in a way that resonates with your audience
- Whether you should adjust your audience segmentation
- Identifying the areas of your email marketing strategy you should focus on improving net month
- The number of emails you send each week
- Which products or collections you should feature in an email
Interpreting and Acting on Email Metrics Data
Now that you're consistently tracking, measuring & interpreting your data... we need to create action plans from those insights in order to actually build a data-drive email marketing strategy
1. Identifying Areas of Improvement
Start by identifying which metrics you'll want to build an action plan to improve. You can do this by classifying each metric into red (needs immediate attention), yellow (requires improvement), or green (performing well) categories based on whether they're hitting your goals & benchmarks.
Then prioritize your red and yellow metrics based on their difficulty & potential return on investment (ROI) if improved.
2. Reviewing Upcoming Campaign Calendar
Next, look at your upcoming email campaign calendar to identify any campaign topics you want to swap out or adjust that will improve those metrics. For example, you might find that you want to increase the conversion rate of your email campaigns & that blog content emails typically perform poorly for conversions.
You'll also want to brainstorm new campaign ideas that may improve a low-performing metric. For example, if you want to improve your AOV, you may test a new email marketing campaign that is a roundup of all your product bundles.
You'll also want to assess your optimal send days, send times & audience segmentation of your email marketing calendar based on how your email marketing metrics perform on different days. You may notice that certain days or times have higher open & click rates because those are the days your audience is most engaged.
3. Reviewing Upcoming Email Campaigns
Next, you'll want to use your email marketing metrics data to make strategic changes in your email content. For each of your upcoming email marketing campaigns, review your strategy brief to potentially change the product recommendations, content or product/brand positioning based on the analysis of your email metrics. For example, you may find that highlighting certain features of your products gets higher click & conversion rates than other features.
4. Optimizing Email Content & Design
Once you've locked in the optimal email marketing campaign topic & content, you'll want to optimize the actual layout, design & copy of your emails based on your email campaign performance. For example, you may find that featuring too many products lowers your click rate.
Consider A/B testing different email structures, layouts, and placements to find out what works best for your audience. Follow best practices but email design isn't one-size-fits-all, and testing is the best way to discover what resonates with your subscribers.
5. Implementing Changes & A/B Testing
Lastly, you may have some email marketing metrics that you want to improve, but don't have conclusive results yet on what works best. In these cases, develop a few hypotheses on what you think might improve the email marketing metric & develop A/B tests to validate the hypothesis.
6. Analyzing the Data
After implementing and testing, run through the best practices to analyze the data. Did your changes improve performance? If not, why? The goal here is to learn from each iteration and continuously refine your strategy. Remember that this is a cyclical process. As you gather more data and insights, you will need to revisit your plans, make adjustments, and test again.
Common Email Marketing Metrics Challenges and Solutions
Here are a few actionable improvements & tests you can implement right away for common challenges we've seen with email marketing metrics:
1. Low Open Rates
- Check your inbox placement rate and spam test results
- A/B test subject lines and preview text
- Refine audience segmentation based on engagement
- Test various send times and days of the week
2. High Unsubscribe Rates
- Avoid buying email lists or relying solely on giveaways for opt-ins
- Collect email addresses through welcome pop-ups on your site
- Review email frequency and content relevance
- Improve audience segmentation to better target potential customers
3. Low Click-Through Rate (CTR)
- Adjust audience segmentation to target recipients more likely to engage
- A/B test email lengths to identify audience preferences
- Add a navigation bar and CTA button above the fold
- Experiment with different email layouts to maximize attention
4. Low Conversion Rate
- Ensure CTA buttons lead to high-converting pages on your site
- Test various product positioning angles to resonate with subscribers
- Craft persuasive email copy that increases purchase intent
- Implement personalized, dynamic product recommendations based on customer preferences
These action items are a first step to improving these key performance indicators, but remember, the key to success is continuous testing, learning, and optimizing.
- Check out our Email Marketing Glossary for a comprehensive list of email marketing metrics you need to know & their definitions.
- Learn more about how to measure the success of your email marketing in our Beginner's Guide To Email Marketing
Effectively leveraging email marketing metrics to run a data-driven marketing strategy is a process that involves gathering the right data, translating that data into meaningful insights, and using those insights to guide action. This process is critical to optimize your email marketing efforts and maximize the ROI from your email marketing channel:
- Identify and monitor key email metrics weekly: This includes open rate, click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, bounce rate, unsubscribe rate, forward rate, inbox placement rate, sender reputation, and domain reputation.
- Interpret the data: Establish baseline metrics and set measurable goals. Use benchmarks to categorize your email marketing metrics into red/green/yellow in order to determine which metrics you want to improve.
- Create action items: Prioritize the metrics you want to improve each month then review your upcoming email marketing campaigns to adjust your topics, content, send days & layout.
Remember, the power of data is only as good as your ability to interpret and act on it. A strong understanding of email marketing metrics, coupled with a commitment to continuous testing and improvement, is what will drive better performance & more revenue from your email marketing efforts.