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A Concise Guide to Email Marketing Metrics

13 min read
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As many businesses know, email marketing can be a fun and engaging way to announce new offers, share exciting company news as well as simply keeping in touch with your audience.

However, regardless of whether you are sending out a 1-shot email or an elaborate lead nurturing campaign with multiple automated steps, you need to be able to analyze its results properly. Let's explore some of the most useful metrics that you'll need to look at to make the most of your analysis.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Email marketing metrics provide valuable insights: Monitoring email marketing metrics is essential for assessing the effectiveness of your email campaigns. These metrics offer valuable insights into your audience's engagement, helping you make data-driven decisions to improve your email marketing strategy.

  2. Open rate indicates subject line effectiveness: The open rate metric measures the percentage of recipients who opened your email. A high open rate suggests that your subject lines are compelling and enticing, while a low open rate may indicate the need for optimization. Experimenting with different subject lines can help improve your open rates.

  3. Click-through rate (CTR) measures engagement: CTR is a crucial metric that reveals the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link within your email. It indicates the level of engagement and interest in your content. To improve CTR, focus on creating compelling call-to-action buttons and relevant, well-placed links.

  4. Conversion rate determines campaign success: The conversion rate metric measures the percentage of recipients who took the desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. A higher conversion rate indicates the effectiveness of your email campaign in driving desired outcomes. Optimize your email content, landing pages, and user experience to improve conversion rates.

  5. Bounce rate highlights deliverability issues: Bounce rate refers to the percentage of emails that were not successfully delivered to recipients' inboxes. A high bounce rate can be indicative of outdated or inaccurate email addresses, issues with your email list, or spam filters. Regularly clean and update your email list to reduce bounce rates and enhance deliverability.

  6. Unsubscribe rate reveals audience preferences: Unsubscribe rate measures the percentage of recipients who choose to unsubscribe from your email list. It's important to monitor this metric as it provides insights into audience preferences, email frequency, and content relevance. Use the feedback from unsubscribes to refine your email content and maintain a healthy subscriber base.

  7. A/B testing helps optimize email campaigns: A/B testing involves creating two variations of an email and testing them with a segment of your audience to determine which performs better. By experimenting with different elements such as subject lines, content layout, images, or calls-to-action, you can refine your email campaigns based on actual performance data.

Table of Contents

Bounce Rates & Types

Now this isn't the same as a web page's bounce rate, this refers to the amount of emails "bounced" in relation to a specific mailout. Most of us have misspelled an email address in our time; and the error message that you receive back when you do that is called a "bounce."

If your campaign was sent to an incorrect address and their email server sent back a bounce error, this will add to your bounce rate. You may have also heard the term "hard" or "soft" bounces; this simply refers to the type of error that caused the bounce. Soft bounces are usually temporary issues; maybe the recipient's mailbox was too full, their mail server encountered a problem or the email was too large. Hard bounces are a little more permanent: either the domain name doesn't exist or the username doesn't exist on that domain.

A handful of hard bounces doesn't mean your list is full of irresponsible errors; you must remember that email addresses change, people move on and as such subscriber lists age.

Open Rates

This one is fairly simple - it's the number of people opened your email, or the percentage of people who opened it. Though an interesting metric in itself, you may also want to check out two more "sub-factors" if you are able. Firstly we have "unique opens," or how many separate individuals opened your email; and indeed secondly - whether anyone opened your mail more than once. It may be a good idea to follow up with those who open a specific email multiple times, just to gauge their interest and see if there is any way you can work together.

Link Clicks

This is another metric that does what it says on the tin; simply referring to the number or percentage of people who clicked a link within your email. Email marketing tools that just send out emails can monitor that these clicks have been made, but a platform with integrated, real-time web analytics can monitor both the link clicks within your campaigns, and follow those subscribers through any link clicks in real time, as well as monitor any subsequent purchases or enquiries that may come from that.

Remember to also look at which links within your email that people are clicking - their choices may surprise you!

Reply Rate

This is simply the number of people who responded to your email by hitting "reply" and sending you a message back. The importance of this metric depends on what you want your subscribers to do with your email. If you want them to click on a call to action above all else, then obviously link clicks take precedence; but if you want them to engage with you and respond to your email, reply rates are your friend.

Whichever path you want people to take - it pays to have a glance at both just to get an overall picture of how people are engaging with you.

Unsubscribe Rate

Another fairly obvious one, referring to how many people (or what percentage of the total) unsubscribed from your list off the back of that particular email or campaign or during a set period. If the tool you use allows people to give a reason as to why they unsubscribed, always check out the reasons people gave. If a large amount of people gave one specific answer, you may have a problem; especially if people are saying you've added them to your list without permission.

Churn Rate

This simply refers to the percentage of subscribers who have left your list through one way or another during a set period of time. This can be either voluntarily through an unsubscribe request, reporting your mail as spam or involuntarily due to a hard bounce or other technical issue. It can also refer to people who have "emotionally checked out" of your emails but haven't physically unsubscribed.

One additional point about losing subscribers: it's not always a bad thing unless folks are leaving in drones. Sometimes people move on, companies rebrand, email addresses change and people's requirements progress. Maybe your message just wasn't right for them. Regardless of whether the subscribers have left due to a choice on their part or a technical glitch, it all means that you can focus your efforts on those remaining. You may even find interesting correlations in the types of people who are unsubscribing or those that are staying! People leaving your lists isn't ideal, but it's not always a bad thing.

Forward Rate

This is a promising one because it refers to the amount of people who forwarded your email to someone else. Someone either liked your email enough to share it with someone, or maybe knew that it wasn't right for them but they want to make sure the message gets to someone relevant. It can help you reach the right people within an organization - and hopefully grow your list too!

Open Locations

Again, this one might depend on what you're trying to achieve. It's always nice to see where your interested parties are based, but this data may have an added analytical application. For example, if you only deliver your products or services within the UK, but a large chunk of your opens are in the US then you have to address something somewhere down the line. Either you can change your scope to adjust to include the American market; or if that's not possible, you could investigate how they came to be on your list in the first place. Either way - well worth knowing!

Conversion Rate

This is a hard one to pin down, simply because the term "conversion" can mean so many things. Conversion merely refers to "the completion of a desired action," so though online conversion usually refers to making a purchase, it basically means that the subscriber has done the thing you wanted them to. That may be clicking on a certain link, responding to the email or following you on social media. As above, using a system with an "overall" view like FIVE CRM can help you follow a prospect through from their initial subscription all the way to them making a purchase.

Overall ROI (Return on Investment)

To calculate the overall return on investment of an email campaign, you simply take the total revenue directly made thanks to the campaign in question, and subtract the amount that the campaign cost. ROI is often expressed as a percentage, calculated this way:

(Gain from the Campaign - Cost of the Campaign)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------- x 100 = ROI percentage


Cost of the Campaign

However, your gain from the campaign might not just be expressed in sheer monetary value. If you wanted to grow your list, gain social followers, increase visits to a webpage or simply engage with your subscribers, these are all fine too; not to mention easily monitorable.

But is my Campaign a Success?

The rather annoying, cop-out answer to this question is "it depends." Is all hinges on whether you achieved what you set out to achieve. If you did, that's great! However, there are some generic measures of success that are good news on the whole; for example if you have a high open rate and low unsubscribe rate, that could be deemed a success. A high monetary ROI is generally what we are all after in business, so if you achieve that, it generally spells success. Conversely, you may have some negative elements (for example a low click rate) but you may have achieved increased subscription rates, low unsubscribe rates and a high open rate which is all good news. It all depends on what is important to you and how you judge that data.


Mastering email marketing metrics is essential for achieving success in your campaigns. By leveraging the insights provided by these metrics, you can make informed decisions and continually optimize your strategies to maximize engagement and conversions.

Remember, your open rate reflects the effectiveness of your subject lines, while your click-through rate measures audience engagement. The conversion rate indicates the ultimate success of your email campaign, while the bounce rate and unsubscribe rate help you address deliverability and content relevance.

To take your email marketing to the next level and explore the full potential of FiveCRM's comprehensive solutions, we invite you to book a free demo with our team. Discover how our powerful platform can empower your business with advanced email marketing features, automation capabilities, and detailed analytics.

Don't miss the opportunity to revolutionize your email campaigns and achieve outstanding results. Schedule your free demo today by visiting our website or contacting our dedicated team. Let FiveCRM guide you towards email marketing excellence and unlock your business's true potential.


Q: How often should I monitor email marketing metrics?

A: It is recommended to monitor your email marketing metrics regularly, preferably after each campaign. This allows you to identify trends, track progress, and make timely adjustments to optimize your email marketing strategy.

Q: What is a good open rate for email campaigns?

A: Open rates can vary depending on various factors such as industry, audience, and the quality of your email list. However, a general benchmark for a good open rate is around 20%-30%. Keep in mind that open rates can differ between different segments of your audience.

Q: How can I improve my click-through rate (CTR)?

A: To improve your CTR, consider the following tactics:

  • Craft compelling and clear call-to-action buttons.
  • Use relevant and enticing anchor text for your links.
  • Ensure your email content is engaging and valuable.
  • Test different placement and formatting of links within your email.
  • Personalize your emails to increase relevancy and engagement.

Q: What can I do to reduce the bounce rate of my email campaigns?

A: To reduce bounce rates, consider these actions:

  • Regularly clean and update your email list to remove invalid or inactive addresses.
  • Use double opt-in methods to ensure subscribers provide accurate email addresses.
  • Monitor and resolve any issues with your email delivery infrastructure.
  • Segment your email list to target specific groups and increase relevancy.
  • Comply with email marketing best practices to avoid being flagged as spam.

Q: How do I optimize my email campaigns for higher conversion rates?

A: To optimize your email campaigns for higher conversion rates, try these strategies:

  • Create clear and compelling calls-to-action that drive action.
  • Ensure your landing pages are aligned with the email content and provide a seamless user experience.
  • Use persuasive copy and design elements that encourage conversions.
  • Implement A/B testing to refine and improve your email content and layout.
  • Personalize your emails based on recipient preferences and behaviors.

Q: How can FiveCRM assist with my email marketing efforts?

A: FiveCRM offers a comprehensive suite of solutions designed to enhance your email marketing strategies. Our platform provides advanced features such as automation, detailed analytics, and segmentation capabilities, empowering you to create personalized and impactful campaigns. Book a free demo with our team to explore how FiveCRM can revolutionize your email marketing efforts.

Michael King says...

"I can’t think of a time where a client has requested something that we weren’t able to do with FiveCRM. Unlike most systems, it has a lot of flexibility."

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Managing Director, Senior Response


“Each client, and each of their campaigns, has its own unique specifications. We essentially needed to set up mini CRMs on one platform to meet those requirements.”

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Operations Director, Team Telemarketing

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