metrics to know

All too often content developers and those executing content plans are disconnected. There are many reasons for this, from working in silos to dealing with a remote team, and a lack of overall transparency. When it comes to emails, this disconnect often becomes a chasm but for entirely different reasons.

Creating successful emails is a joint effort, relying upon the email team’s knowledge, the designer’s skills, and your content. To improve results each time you send, you need to communicate which means you need to speak the same language. All too often, however, those in content development don’t have the technical knowledge they need to join the conversation.

Today I wanted to help bridge the gap by covering some email KPIs all writers should know about email. While there are many more metrics you may want to dive into at some point, the following offer you a great starting point. 


1. Open rates: Generally this refers to the number of emails opened compared to the total amount of emails sent or delivered. It can be more complicated than this, but the basic formula for open rate is simply: Open rate = Emails opened / (Emails sent – bounced emails).

For example, if you sent out 100 emails, 20 bounced, and 10 were opened, then you would have an open rate of 12.5%. Higher open rates mean more people want to read the email you sent, and it indicates good deliverability and good subject lines.

2. Bounce rate: This refers to the number of emails that could not be delivered. You calculate it by dividing the total number of bounced emails by the number of emails sent. So if your campaign sent 10,000 emails and 75 of them bounced, then you have a 0.75% bounce rate. A high bounce rate is bad and it typically indicates that you have a problem with your lists.

3. Click-through rate (CTR): This rate is determined by the number of links clicked divided by the number of emails delivered. A high CTR is a good thing and is typically indicative of good content, including images and message as well as good deliverability.

4. Click-to-open rate (CTOR): This compares the number of emails that are opened to the number of clicks. To determine this rate you divide the number of clicks with the number of emails opened. While similar to CTR, this is strictly indicative of how your actual content performs because it eliminates factors related to deliverability.

5. Unsubscribe rate: This simply refers to the number of people who unsubscribe from your emails. To calculate it you divide how many unsubscribes you have by the number of delivered emails. A high unsubscribe rate can mean you have a problem with the quality of your list or your content.

Now that you have an understanding of the top email marketing KPIs to consider, you can work on improving your own email’s performance. Just keep in mind, there are additional KPIs to learn about as you dive deeper into the interesting world of email marketing.