9 Key Email Marketing Metrics & How to Optimize for Them

9 Key Email Marketing Metrics & How to Optimize for Them

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Digital marketing and email marketing are effective ways to engage with customers on a long-term basis. That said, not all campaigns are equally effective. 

You need to constantly monitor your performance to determine how to best improve your efforts. That means familiarizing yourself with certain key email marketing metrics, or KPIs.

KPIs are metrics that organizations can track to more thoroughly understand how successful they are at achieving their goals. Marketing performance metrics shine a light on what a business can do to boost success.

It’s particularly important to track digital and email marketing campaign metrics when looking for ways to drive revenue. Companies often devote substantial amounts of time and money to marketing campaigns. By keeping track of marketing KPIs, they can learn which tactics are providing a strong return on investment, and which are less effective.

Determining what KPIs are important to track and measure may vary depending on your goals. For example, if you are trying to boost sales of particular items with an email marketing campaign, you want to focus on email KPIs that focus on how often an opened email translates into a sale.

The following are the most important general key performances indicators (KPIs) you should be tracking. The points below will also help you better understand how to optimize for these metrics in future campaigns.

1. Track Sources to Understand Digital Marketing Campaign KPIs

People may visit a website through any number of potential sources, such as:

  • Typing the URL directly into a browser
  • Finding a site by performing a related web search
  • Following links on other websites
  • Discovering a site via social media
  • Following a link via email marketing

 All of these channels can affect your marketing campaign metrics.

Tracking where most of your traffic comes from helps your team determine if a particular marketing strategy is working. Perhaps you want to know if subscribers to your email list are visiting your site regularly after opening one of your messages. Tracking this email marketing KPI will provide the insight you need to determine if an email campaign is helping to boost traffic and/or conversions.

2. Track Open Rate as an Email Engagement Metric

Your open rate is simply the number of emails that recipients actually opened from a given campaign divided by the number of emails that were delivered. Multiply the result by 100 to get your open rate.

Study how your rate compares to the average in your industry to determine if you need to focus on improving this email marketing metric.

You can improve a weak open rate by simply adding a recipient’s name to the subject line of your emails. You can also segment your list into separate groups to ensure your followers receive relevant content. Both tactics have been shown to improve open rates.

3. Always Look to Reduce Email Bounce Rate as You Set Your KPIs

Your emails aren’t going to deliver much value to your business if they aren’t getting delivered. That’s why your bounce rate is one of the most important email metrics to track.  

Your bounce rate is calculated by dividing the number of bounced emails (emails that were not delivered) by the number of emails sent, then multiplying the result by 100.

Email addresses “go bad” all the time. For instance, maybe someone signed up for your list with a work email that no longer exists because they left the company.

It’s important to reduce your bounce rate as much as possible. A high bounce rate not only affects your campaign performance, but also can harm your sender reputation. Luckily, there are tools you can use to scrub your email list of invalid addresses before sending a message to both improve campaign results and avoid getting flagged as a spammer.

4. Email Click-Through Rate is a Metric That Proves Performance

Every email you send needs a call to action that links to another site. For example, if you want to boost sales with a campaign, your CTA should bring readers to your online store.

Your click-through rate is the number of clicks a link received divided by emails sent and multiplied by 100. Only by clicking can readers convert into paying customers, so CTR is one of the most crucial email metrics to track and optimize.

By tracking this email engagement metric, you can boost your click-through rate by optimizing your CTA. You want it to stand out from the rest of the content. Thus, you might consider using a larger font and dynamic colors for the CTA.

Or, you could get more creative by designing a unique graphic to entice readers. Perhaps you can include a linked, animated button that suggests the action of unwrapping a present. These are simple but effective ways to generate more clicks.

5. Look at Conversion Rates

If your goal is boosting revenue, you should focus on methods that have proven to yield a substantial return on investment. For example, email marketing remains popular because it delivers an average return of $44 for every dollar spent.

In the course of email marketing, to calculate how effective your emails are, track the conversion rate. This digital marketing KPI doesn’t just tell you how many customers opened an email or read through it. If, for instance, the call to action at the end of a message urges the reader to buy one of your products, the conversion rate will tell you approximately how many people actually have.

Calculating conversion rates as a marketing campaign metric is fairly simple. Select a specific goal from a recent email or campaign – perhaps you just completed an email campaign that marketed a new product exclusively available to your subscribers. Divide the number of purchases by the number of successfully delivered emails, then multiply the result by 100.

There’s no “good” conversion rate that applies across all industries. You’ll have to study industry standards to determine how your rate compares. However, taking this step in tracking email marketing KPIs will provide a more accurate depiction of a campaign’s effectiveness.

6. Determine Number of New Customers and Total Monthly Revenue

Social media and email campaigns are helpful because they allow you to track the essential marketing performance metric of the amount of new customers a particular campaign brings in.

That said, attracting new subscribers to your email list does little for you if those subscribers don’t make purchases. You want to monitor the relationship between your growing customer base and revenues to determine a campaign’s revenue-earnings potential. Monitoring this digital marketing KPI will allow you to save money on ineffective campaigns, and direct efforts toward ones that boost your ROI.

For example, you can divide your monthly revenue by the number of new subscribers your email list attracted that month. This marketing campaign metric will help you estimate the value of a new subscriber.

7. Calculate Revenue Per Email to Distinguish KPIs Between Marketing Campaigns

Tracking digital marketing KPIs often makes it easier to determine how much money to spend on a campaign. That’s why you should track Revenue Per Email and similar advanced metrics.

For example, perhaps an email you sent yielded purchases worth $10,000. In this scenario, assume that 100,000 subscribers received the email (whether they opened it or not).

If you divide the revenue total by the number of successful email deliveries, you get 0.10. This means, on average, every successfully delivered email provided 10 cents in revenue.

This marketing performance metric is also helpful if you want to measure the effectiveness of two different approaches to the same campaign. For instance, A/B testing may initially tell you that one version of an email yields a higher open and conversion rate than another.

However, there are instances when an email that may not yield the highest conversion or open rate actually delivers a higher RPE; this may happen if the content of the email results in customers making larger purchases. If your goal is to boost revenue, that should be the version you use.

8. Another Way to Track Email Engagement is to Focus on Share Rate Metrics

Many email marketing metrics tell you how effective your content is at engaging current followers. However, it’s important to remember that once you determine what email metrics are important to track and measure, you can also reach new leads. Design strong content, and your followers may share it with others via forwarding or social media posts.

Your share rate is the number of times readers clicked on a share or forward button divided by the number of emails sent. Multiply the result by 100.

Boosting your share rate is often as simple as making certain sharing and forwarding buttons are displayed prominently in the email. However, you could also implement a referral program in which followers are rewarded for sharing your content with others. Studies show that 84% of people trust recommendations from people they know. Thus, a referral program can be a smart way to leverage your current customers as you work to attract new leads.

9. Your Email Marketing Unsubscribe Rate is a Metric for Revealing Weaknesses

You certainly don’t want your campaign to drive customers away. To ensure it isn’t, divide the number of unsubscribes during a given campaign by the number of emails sent, and multiply by 100.

If you feel your unsubscribe rate is too high, survey your followers to find out what you’re doing wrong. There are many reasons people unsubscribe from email lists. Sometimes they feel the content they receive isn’t valuable. Sometimes they feel you’re sending emails too often. Or, they may not have meant to sign up in the first place. Surveying them along with the other email metrics to track helps you better understand how to improve your campaigns.


While digital marketing is very effective, you still need to be vigilant about monitoring your campaigns. When asking what email metrics are important to track and measure, it’s worth remembering that the specific goals you have for your campaign should dictate what you focus on. Tracking these digital and email marketing KPIs will tell you when a campaign is working, when it’s not, and in many cases, what you can do to improve it.

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