10 KPIs for Email Marketing

How do you set you KPIs for email marketing?

Email has become a highly effective marketing strategy to convert prospects and turn one-time buyers into loyal brand advocates. It’s become a channel of communication that you can’t ignore because most of your customers check their email every day.

So how do you know if you’re doing it right? It all comes down to tracking the right metrics that can optimize your your approach. Here are 10 KPIs for email marketing success.


1. Open Rate

Email open rates give you an idea of how the subject line of your emails are performing. A good open rate means the the subject line was relevant and engaging enough for the recipient to open the email for more information.

How to calculate open rate:

(Number of unique email opens / Number of emails sent) * 100


2. Click rate

Your click rate is a main marker of audience engagement and measures how many times a recipient clicks a link in your email. A high click rate is a good indication that your email copy and/or imagery is resonating with your target audience.

How to calculate click through rate:

(Total clicks OR unique clicks / Number of delivered emails) * 100


3. Click:Open rate

Click-to-open rate (CTOR) is a metric that compares the number of people that opened the email to the number that actually clicked. CTOR measures the performance and effectiveness of the content of the email.

Since open rates are more volatile, CTOR becomes a more useful metric to understand customer behavior and reactions to your marketing content.

How to calculate click:open rate:

(Number of unique clicks / Number of unique opens) * 100


4. Conversion rate

Email conversion rate is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on a link within an email and completed a desired action, such as filling out a lead generation form or purchasing a product.

This metric is a good indicator of return on investment. So it’s important to be able to directly correlate the success of email marketing efforts to a hard number, like the sales associated with the conversion rate.

How to calculate conversion rate:

(Number of people who complete a desired action / Number of total emails delivered) * 100


5. Unsubscribe rate

Your unsubscribe rate is the number of unique email addresses that requested to be removed from future email communication. Unsubscribe rates are key to recognizing if your content sucks.

A high unsubscribe rate can hurt your reputation as a sender and impact your ability to hit the inbox. If it goes on for long enough, a high unsubscribe rate could affect your email conversion rates and overall revenue.

How to calculate unsubscribe rate:

(Number of contacts who unsubscribed / Number of emails sent) * 100


6. Bounce rate

A bounced message is an email that is returned to the sender because it cannot be delivered for some reason.

There are two kinds of bounce rates:

  • Hard bounce – Failure to deliver because of a permanent error (usually that the email address doesn’t exist). This contact should be removed from your database.
  • Soft bounce – Failure to deliver because of a temporary issue (e.g. receiving mail server is down).

How to calculate bounce rate:

(Total number of bounced emails / Number of emails sent) * 100


7. List growth rate

Email list growth is the foundation of email marketing program and growing your list is crucial due to ongoing attrition. The growth rate of your email list is the net results of new subscribers minus the unsubscribes and email/spam complaints.

How to calculate list growth rate:

([(Number of new subscribers) – (Number of unsubscribes + spam complaints)] /
Total number of email addresses on your list]) * 100


8. Forward rate

The rate at which your email recipients forward or share your email with others is an important metric that you should be tracking. Encourage your readers to pass along your email to a friend or colleague if they found the content useful, and start tracking how many new people you can add to your database this way.

How to calculate forward rate:

(Number of forwards / Number of total delivered emails) * 100


9. Delivery rate

Many factors impact delivery rates. Email send times depend on the overall size and quality of your email list. This reveals much about the quality of your email address list and the effectiveness of how your accrued these email addresses in the first place.

Technical reasons include:

  • Email address is not correct
  • The recipient mailbox is full
  • Some mailboxes have a limited storage space
  • The email address no longer exists
  • Network related problems

How to calculate delivery rate:

(Amount of emails sent / the amount of emails delivered) * 100


10. Spam complaint rate

Spam complaints are a direct signal from recipients to mailbox providers that your emails are unwanted. Mailbox providers attempt to protect their users from unwanted mail and heavily factor spam complaints into their filtering decisions.

A spam complaint is typically recorded when a recipient:

  • Clicks a button in their email client indicating the message is spam, bulk, or otherwise unwanted
  • Forwards the email to the sender’s abuse team, email service provider, or hosting company

How to calculate spam complaint rate:

(Number of spam complaints / Number of emails sent) * 100


10 KPIs for Email Marketing Success


488 thoughts on “10 KPIs for Email Marketing Success

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