Saturday, 5 May 2012

How to Measure Email Marketing Success Rate

There are a few specific metrics which need to be measured in order to determine the success (or failure) rate of your email marketing campaign.

If you’re using a tool for your email marketing efforts, such as Aweber or an alternative, are using the services of an Email Service Provider, or are using Google Analytics to gauge the metrics of your email marketing campaign, you’ll have access to certain stats and data about your campaign. All of which will make up a stats pack which will help you ascertain how well your email marketing is doing.

So what exactly are these metrics? Here are six that should help you determine the success of your email marketing campaign:

1. Bounce Rate

Another word for delivery-success rate, bounce rate can be defined as the percentage of emails that went undelivered, as compared to the total emails sent. The resultant number is the bounce rate.

Use these to determine issues with your mailing lists, for instance if you have a high-bounce rate, why is it high? Why are your emails not being delivered. In order to determine these, make sure you know the difference between hard and soft bounce rates. Soft bounce is a result of a temporary problem with the recipient’s email ID, such as problem with the server or a full inbox. Hard bounce are those emails which repeatedly bounce back, and hence points towards an issue such as an invalid email ID, to which an email will never be delivered.

Remove hard bounce email IDs immediately, in order to have an acceptable bounce rate, otherwise you might be flagged a spammer by your ISP or email service provider.

2. CTR (click-through rate)

The number of email recipients who ended up clicking on one or more of the links within your email. This can be measured as a percentage of unique clicks per emails sent/delivered, or total clicks per emails sent/delivered. However only one of the aforementioned should be used, and not interchangeably.

CTR is easily one of the most important and useful statistic when it comes to online marketing, and especially email marketing campaign. Why? Because CTR tells you straightaway how relevant, interesting, related, compelling, appropriate and above all, valuable your message was to your recipients. An email with a high CTR would indicate an interesting and relevant email, and would mean that your subscribers and recipients found it to be compelling enough to open and click on the links within it.

3. Conversions

Conversion rate is simply measured by looking at the number of people who clicked on a link within an email and performed a desired action, which is ideally an action you wanted them to take with the help of the email. This could be anything – form reading your newsletter, to filling out a form, to reading your post, to liking your Facebook page, to purchasing a product off your website.

Conversion rate is another important tool in assessing the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign. Some would even argue that it is the most important tool when it comes to email marketing, as conversions are directly proportional to your success. A higher conversion rate would mean your offers are compelling, and all your marketing efforts are effective.

It is important to note that a successful conversion is one which completes the process.

Also, a lot of different factors contribute towards a successful or unsuccessful conversion rate – factors such as the quality of your landing page, problems with your conversion process and so on. Most importantly however, having a strong, effective and clear CTA (call to action) would ensure that you have a strong conversion rate as well.

For instance a bug in your form, or a dead URL would adversely affect your conversion rate.

4. List Growth

Simple, and pretty self-explanatory: This is a measure of how quickly your list is growing. This can be measured by adding opt-outs and hard bounces and subtracting the result from the number of new subscribers and dividing the resultant number by the total list size.

A good list needs to have a good growth rate, add new members and email IDs constantly and at regular intervals. This is especially important because many email IDs on your list will probably end up being unused to be closed down, as people switch to other providers, change service providers, switch jobs, forget their passwords, etc.

5. Forwards

In simple terms, the number of people who forwarded an email to friends, coworkers, etc, or clicked on the share button to share it on their social media profiles.

This also demonstrates the relevance and interest-level of your email among its recipients. For instance if your emails are interesting enough, and recipients find your newsletter, offer, etc interesting and compelling enough to share with others, they will most likely do so. Emails with interesting content, such as videos and images are likely to be forwarded and shared a lot, giving you the potential to go viral. Likewise emails that are forwarded a lot can end up being chain-emails.

6. Revenue

Return on Investment, or ROI, of your emails and your email campaign in general. Revenue and ROI gives you a clear picture of the success of your email marketing campaign in general, and in monetary terms as well.

While measuring ROI is important for all marketers, as well as all email marketers, ROI is particularly useful for ecommerce email marketers, who would want to determine the sales generated from email campaigns. However measuring ROI usually goes hand-in-hand with measuring bounce-rates, CTR and conversion rates.


  1. Nice to receive your blog.Unbelievable! and its very informative.I hope so everyone can get great knowledge here for measuring the success rate of email marketing services and software.

  2. Nice post really helpful for many people, I was looking for this information for a long time please keep writing articles like this.
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  3. My bounce rate is high. Any tips how to decrease it ?
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  4. Awseome article, I am a big believer in placing comments on weblogs to help the blog writers know that they have added something of great benefit to the world wide web!

  5. Nice post. I've noticed an increase in email marketing lately. I'd suggest not reporting on CTR at all. It's a metric that provides faulty data by default. It incorrectly assumes your content was good based on the number of sends divided by the number of clicks. But what if the problem was your subject line and no one ever got to see the message itself? I suggest going with Clicks-to-Opens. That looks at recipients that actually opened your email and track the percentage of clicks based on that.

    Your messaging, CTA, etc may be rock-solid and giving you great results. It could just be the subject line that is skewing your results.

    Here's an example: You send an email to 100 recipients. Only 6 open and only 3 click. If you use the standard CTR metric you'd end up with 3% (3 clicks divided by 100 sends). So the assumption is that your content needs to be improved. However, your CTO rate is 50% (3 clicks divided by 6 sends). So in this case you'll just need to work on A/B testing your subject line, send time, etc.

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