September 9, 2021

The Most Important Email Marketing Metrics to Drive Engagement

The email marketing landscape is shifting. 

Google disabling third-party cookies is shifting focus to first-party channels like email, which will become invaluable to business’ survival going forward. But new privacy features from Apple will affect how publishers and brands reach, track, and target their audiences.

So, there’s a question that has come up many times but is perhaps more consequential now than ever: What are the most important email marketing metrics to focus on for growing brand awareness and engagement? 

More specifically, are email open rates really set to be obsolete? Should you be looking at engaged time per person? Which analytics can you still track even with upcoming privacy measures? And how do these email marketing metrics impact overall revenue?

After all, email is still the most trusted channel for driving engagement. Even Gen Z and millennials, who grew up in the age of social media, trust and use email. According to Jeeng’s 2021 Digital Publishing Consumer Survey, nearly 80% of Gen Z and 93% of millennials check their email several times a day, and it’s their preferred channel for receiving real-time alerts. In fact, those who subscribe to email newsletters do so because they trust the publisher and want content that’s relevant to their interests.

Now, how can publishers ensure they’re harnessing that trust and optimizing campaigns to drive engagement?

They can measure these top 6 email marketing metrics.

Email marketing metric #1: Clickthrough rate

The clickthrough rate (CTR) is the most significant metric that email marketers can track right now. This is the number of people who clicked on a link, call-to-action (CTA) button, ad, or piece of content within your email divided by the number of emails sent. CTR is perhaps the clearest indication that audiences are engaging with your emails.

It’s important to note that open rate used to be one of the most important email metrics to track. Calculating the number of emails opened divided by the number of emails delivered helped businesses understand how many people were seeing their messages and responding to their subject lines.

Why are open rates on the way out?

Because Apple’s new Mail Privacy Protection feature will prevent email senders from knowing when people open their emails. In fact, they won’t even be able to track people’s IP addresses and locations. 

As a result, email marketers are being forced to go back to the drawing board and build new strategies based on engagement-based metrics like CTR.

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Email marketing metric #2: Share rate

The share rate is the number of people shared or forwarded an email divided by the number of emails sent. There might even be a CTA within the email encouraging recipients to send the newsletter to a friend or share it with their networks. 

This email metric helps publishers understand how many brand advocates they have. Beyond just clicks, share rate indicates that subscribers care enough to spread the word about your emails and recruit others to sign up for more.

Email marketing metric #3: Conversion rate

The conversion rate is the number of people who completed a desired action — such as signing up for a trial or making a purchase — divided by the number of emails sent.

Email marketers can drive conversions with clear and direct CTA buttons. For example, if you want readers to access an ebook or audio file, your CTA button could say, “Download now.”

Email marketing metric #4: Return on investment

The return on investment (ROI) is the amount of revenue generated by an email campaign divided by the budget of the campaign. This tells advertisers how money they earned from their newsletters. ROI can even be broken down into revenue per email or revenue per subscriber.

While ROI is commonly used to calculate the number of purchases people made as a result of a digital marketing campaign, it can also be used to calculate the amount of revenue generated from monetization, such as by running programmatic native ads within an email newsletter.

Email marketing metric #5: Bounce rate

The bounce rate is the number of emails that weren’t successfully delivered to subscribers divided by the total number of emails sent. Bounce rates can track two different types of bounces: soft bounces, which are temporary problems like a full inbox, and hard bounces, which are more permanent problems like an invalid email address.

The bounce rate is an important email marketing metric because it can indicate bigger issues that exist within your email marketing software or internal service provider (ISP). Too high of a bounce rate also signifies that you need to clean and optimize your subscriber list. Otherwise, you could be missing out on a significant portion of your audience, engagement, and conversions.

Email marketing metric #6: List growth rate

The list growth rate is the number of new subscribers minus the number of unsubscribes divided by the total number of subscribers on your list. It’s important to track list growth rate so you can, well, grow your subscriber list.

After all, you don’t just want to keep reaching the same amount of people. You want to expand your audience so you can increase revenue, nurture customer relationships, create brand advocates, and gather more first-party data about your audience.

Remember that it depends on your goals

Ultimately, the email marketing metrics you decide to track will depend on your goals, as well as your audience behaviors and the types of emails you send. 

If you’re monetizing emails with programmatic ads — and driving people back to your website for further monetization opportunities — you’ll want to track CTR and ROI. If your goal is to grow your subscriptions or even drive paid memberships, you’ll want to keep an eye on your list growth rate. And if you want to drive audiences to a landing page or signup page, CTR and conversion rates will be top of mind.

Still, remember that if your email marketing goals used to be based on open rates, you’ll need to rethink your approach and pivot to prioritizing performance-based metrics instead.

Why you need a performance-based email platform

If you want to track these performance-based metrics, the solution is simple: You need a performance-based email marketing platform that’s built to help you measure and optimize campaigns to generate results. 

That’s Jeeng. As an all-performance platform, we were designed to navigate Apple’s privacy changes before they were even announced. And we’ll gather all your most important email metrics in one place so you can keep driving engagement and revenue.

Ready to get started? Contact us to learn more.

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