Back to the Basics: Email Metrics


3 minute read

Back to the Basics: Email Metrics

Email marketing may seem daunting for the uninitiated, but if one takes the time to master the basics, it does not have to be difficult. This article will focus on the cornerstone of every successful email marketing plan: metrics. Which email metrics should be tracked? Why? These are the five email metrics every marketer worth their salt tracks during each marketing campaign.

Open Rate

Analyzing email open rates is essential for effectively optimizing email marketing campaigns. The first step of any successful email marketing campaign is getting people to actually open the email.

Total Opens: the number of times an email is opened.

Total Open Rate: the percentage of people who received your email, then opened it.

Unique Opens: focuses on the unique individuals who viewed the campaign. Counts an individual opener only once regardless of the number of times they opened the email in total.

Unique Open Rate: the unique email opens divided by the total number of emails delivered.

While these metrics may not be perfect, they should be used as a guide towards benchmarking for the future. Keeping an eye on open rates is beneficial for understanding your audience, just make sure to not obsess over them and go down a rabbit hole of futility.


An email campaign’s click-through rate (CTR) is one of the most important email metrics a marketer can measure. Quite predictably, CTR measures the number of people who clicked on a link in your email against the total number of emails delivered.

While most email marketers measure CTR, many don’t take the time to measure the click-to-open rate (CTOR), and that’s a big mistake.

CTOR compares the number of people who actually opened an email to the number of people who clicked on a link in the email. Essentially, CTOR is unaffected by factors such as subject line, timing or “from” fields. By measuring the CTOR, an email marketer is able to actually measure the quality of their content along with engagement.  

Bounce Rate

Not only do email marketers always need to measure the bounce rate of an email campaign, they need to measure both types of bounce rates. That’s right, there are two different types of bounce rates–hard bounces, and soft bounces.

A hard bounce happens when an email address is wrong. Whenever a hard bounce is recorded that email address should be removed from the targeted list immediately.

A soft bounce occurs when an email address is temporarily unavailable. An email can become temporarily unavailable for a number of reasons, including a full inbox or a server error. When a soft bounce is recorded, those emails should be retargeted at a later date.

Spam and Unsubscribes

Many email marketers focus on the data that showcases the success of their email marketing campaigns. However, to truly maximize the potential of email marketing one must also focus on the data behind failed emails. That means measuring spam complaints and unsubscribe requests. A high number of spam, or unsubscribe requests, damages the email list the campaign is pulling from and can have a drastically detrimental effect on the sender’s reputation. Not only that, but it’s also a big red flag indicating that the content of that email campaign is subpar and worth revisiting.

Opens by Device

A less well-known email metric that every marketer should be tracking is opens by device. This data will allow marketers to see how many recipients are viewing an email on a smartphone vs a tablet vs a computer. This information allows marketers to optimize their email designs based on which devices people are using to read their content.

There is a lot to know about email marketing, but if you take the time to master the basics you will always be in a position to stay on the cutting-edge of the industry. For more detailed information about email marketing analytics, talk to a professional at Trendline Interactive.



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