Your email marketing strategy is incomplete without metrics to guide and measure performance over time. Email marketing KPIs help you understand your customers and audience, build on what works, and eliminate what doesn't.
Different email metrics will be right for you at different times, depending on your goals and how far you are in your marketing journey. This article walks you through how to set and monitor email marketing KPIs — you’ll also learn how Wrike helps marketing managers monitor and analyze email marketing metrics.
What are email marketing KPIs?
Email marketing KPIs are metrics that help you understand how your campaigns are performing. They measure the performance of critical elements of your email campaigns, improving marketing efforts and aligning them with business goals.
To determine the success of your campaigns and grow your audience, you must learn to draw insights from marketing reports that show how your emails perform. Monitor campaign performance and compare against previous performance, trends, and industry standards to make data-driven decisions that will improve your email marketing campaigns.
When do you set email marketing KPIs?
Set email marketing KPIs as you create your email strategy. Before you send out any email campaigns, consider what you want them to achieve. This will influence the email marketing metrics you select.
Keep in mind that email metrics may change as business needs and goals evolve. As you implement, monitor, and make progress with email marketing, focus on specific email KPIs. Once you're clear on your marketing goals, choose the most relevant and critical email marketing metrics to monitor your progress.
Your main goal may be generating sales while you work on smaller goals such as audience re-engagement, growing your email list, spreading brand awareness, gathering data about subscribers, collecting feedback from customers, and so on.
How do you set email marketing KPIs?
Setting email marketing KPIs begins when you clarify your goals and develop your marketing strategy. Choose the best metrics to measure campaign performance in alignment with your goals.
Consider your company's market positioning, audience engagement level, and email marketing experience. If you're a small business building your brand reputation and email list, metrics such as open rate, click-through rate, and list growth rate are crucial to your marketing success. An established business with a strong brand presence and market reputation may, in contrast, prioritize metrics such as conversion rate, bounce rate, or overall ROI.
Setting and monitoring relevant email KPIs guides marketing teams to create better email marketing campaigns and achieve their goals. Make sure to set a schedule for conducting regular email marketing campaign reviews.
Types of email marketing KPIs
There are many important email marketing KPIs that help marketers improve their campaigns. Below is a list of ten crucial email marketing KPIs to track.
This measures how many subscribers do not receive your emails out of the total emails sent. A high bounce rate may signal that your email list has lots of old or fake email addresses. Bounce rate helps to determine the quality of your subscriber list.
Email delivery rate
This metric tracks the number of emails successfully delivered to a recipient's inbox. Your email delivery rate depends on many elements, such as email service provider, email list quality, email frequency, and IP reputation. Successful marketers aim for a delivery rate of 95% or higher.
Open rate tracks how many recipients opened your email. It’s a sign of good audience engagement, typically resulting from a good brand reputation, an engaging subject line, or catchy, relevant content.
Click-through rate tracks the number of recipients who clicked on one or more links in your emails. It indicates good subscriber engagement and active interest in your emails and products.
This tracks the number of people who clicked a link in your email and completed a specific action. Conversion rate measures how much you've spent on a campaign against the number of people who took your intended action, showing if the campaign is working or not.
List growth rate
This metric monitors how fast your email list grows over time. It’s essential to email marketing success because it helps you reach a larger audience and achieve your marketing goals. A high list growth rate indicates that your email list is growing quickly.
Email sharing/forwarding rate
The email sharing/forwarding rate calculates the percentage of recipients who forwarded your email or shared it on social media. This helps to track what percentage of recipients are recommending your emails to others.
This measures the overall ROI of your email campaigns. The overall ROI is the total revenue your campaign generated. It shows how much email marketing efforts are adding value to the company.
Spam complaint rate
The spam complaint rate measures the number of people who report your email as spam or mark it as junk. A high spam rate could indicate that your emails are difficult to unsubscribe from.
This shows which devices your audience reads your emails on. For example, if most of your audience reads your emails on a smartphone, it would be beneficial for you to design and optimize your emails for mobile.
How to monitor email marketing metrics
To get helpful, actionable results, track your email marketing performance against the benchmarks below.
How your email marketing campaigns perform over time
With a new or young business, you may have ideas about your audience's preferences but no data to back them up. It’s only by launching email campaigns and engaging with your audience that you can improve your campaigns and get closer to your marketing goals.
It's crucial to measure the performance of your email campaigns against previous performance to see how much it has improved or declined.
How your email marketing campaigns perform compared to each other
A single company can have several email marketing campaigns within a year. This may include campaigns to upsell a product, nurture high-quality marketing leads, or grow and maintain thought leadership. You may have email campaigns to attract top talent, promote your company, or empower employees.
Compare the performance of different email campaigns, taking time to identify recurring elements that are successful or need improvement. You can then replicate the successful ones to advance future email campaigns.
How your email marketing campaigns perform compared to the industry standard
Compare your email marketing statistics with your industry's average. Different sectors fare differently with email marketing — the finance industry, for example, has a higher email open rate because most subscribers open emails from banks or financial services applications. By contrast, not every subscriber reads emails from entertainment companies or gaming applications.
Compare your email campaign performance with your industry benchmark and notice how companies like yours are doing. Your industry average can serve as a baseline for your growth and performance.
How do you conduct an email campaign marketing analysis?
The real skill with email marketing analysis is drawing insights from the metrics and applying them to improve future campaigns. Most email marketing service platforms track different metrics and share marketing reports on a schedule. Check your settings and enable tracking of your key email metrics.
When your reports show a dip or increase in specific areas of your campaigns, look at the relevant data, put it in context, and figure out the root cause of the change. When you're confident you've arrived at the right conclusion, use creative marketing tactics to steer your email campaigns back on track. Here are the basic steps to follow:
- Review specific areas of your email campaigns, e.g., subject line, email copy, images, and design
- Analyze the accompanying, relevant data
- Creatively adjust and tweak elements in subsequent campaigns
- Compare differences in results and improve consistently
You may conduct email marketing analysis on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly schedule. You may also choose to do it campaign by campaign. Choose what works best for your team, considering your goals and the resources available.
What happens when email marketing KPIs haven't been met?
If your team occasionally misses their email KPIs, don't panic. Conduct campaign analysis and get to the root cause. If they consistently fail to meet the email marketing KPIs, schedule a review session to hear from the team, gather qualitative and quantitative feedback, and revise aspects of your marketing strategy.
It may be that your email KPIs are not aligned with your business goals and where you are in your email marketing journey. The best way to gain clarity and get back on track is to adopt a marketing project management solution like Wrike.
What are the challenges of email marketing metrics?
The main challenge of email marketing metrics is figuring out the fundamental reason why campaigns fail or succeed. Email marketing metrics can show you the numbers, but you must interpret why subscribers took specific actions.
For example, a high click rate on mobile devices but not on larger screens may indicate that your emails aren't optimized for desktop users. However, it may also indicate that most of your market is a younger demographic who mostly use mobile devices.
Verify the conclusions you draw from your results by testing them in subsequent campaigns and seeking feedback from customers, your marketing team, and other stakeholders. Refer to your conclusions with a degree of caution until you're sure of their accuracy and can use them authoritatively in strategy, planning, and other marketing tasks.
How to set email marketing KPIs and metrics in Wrike
Wrike's marketing project management software delivers digital campaign performance insights right into your workspace, helping you monitor critical metrics and real-time progress across email campaigns.
Easily integrate Wrike with your email service provider and enhance collaboration by communicating and storing all email marketing assets in a single source of truth. Kick off your planning with our marketing campaign management template and keep your email KPIs front and center. Get started with a free two-week trial of Wrike today.