Email Marketing Metrics Every Ecommerce Brand Should Track

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With the email marketing sector expected to be worth $17.9 billion in 2027, it is undisputedly one of the most important tools in a marketers arsenal. However, the success of any email marketing campaign depends on careful planning, strategy, monitoring and tracking the email campaign’s performance, and then making amends if required. The most important piece in this puzzle perhaps is to track the performance of your email marketing campaign, more so if you are an ecommerce brand.

You could be running email marketing metrics for direct sales or to engage with customers post-sales, generate leads or grow your number of subscribers, whatever it is, you will need to assess the efficacy of your campaign. This can be done by tracking some basic metrics. But what are email marketing metrics and what are the most important email marketing metrics should you track as an email marketer? Most importantly, how can you improve these metrics? It is understandable that as an email marketer you must have been struggling with these. In this blog, we will discuss all things related to email marketing metrics like

  • What are email marketing metrics by industry
  • Most important email metrics to track
  • How to improve email marketing metrics

So, let’s get started.

What are email marketing metrics?

Email marketing metrics refers to data points that help you ascertain how your emails are performing and how recipients are engaging with your emails. Tracking these metrics can help you make changes required if any to your email marketing strategy to get desired results.

Use case:

Anna runs an online protein shake powder business. To keep her customers engaged and coming back to her for their protein powder stock, she rolls out a newsletter every 15 days which educates the readers on the importance and benefits of working out, having balanced meals, and not missing out on their daily protein intake. She has been doing this for the last 1 year and it has worked well for her business so far. However, in the last 1 month, way too many people have unsubscribed from her newsletter. The content possibly needs to be checked, and any other red flags need to be identified now. Tracking unsubscribe metrics helped Anna identify what was working and what was not, and take the appropriate action well in time.

The most important ecommerce email marketing metrics every DTC brand should track

1. Open rate

You are sending emails to a long list of people you have identified as your target audience or to your subscribers. But how do you know if they are opening and reading your emails and if yes, how often are they doing it? You can get to know this by tracking the open rate of emails you send. The open rate indicates how frequently are recipients opening your emails, the first milestone to cross once emails have made it to the recipient's inbox. Open rates indicate how engaging your email campaign is. Higher the open rate, the more engaging the campaign is.

How to calculate open rate:

Open rate can be arrived at by tracking the unique number of people who opened your email and then dividing it by the total number of emails that were delivered. For example, if you send out 10,000 emails and 2,000 unique email recipients open them, your open rate will be calculated as (2,000/10,000 * 100) = 20%. The industry average open rate of marketing emails is 21.33%. However, analyzing the open rate for a single email being sent out is not enough. When running a campaign over time, make sure to track the open rates for every email being sent.

Tips to increase open rate:

Follow these tips to maintain a healthy open rate or increase your email open rate if they are slugging

  • Make sure to send emails consistently and on a regular basis, but not too often like daily or every alternate day.
  • Write an attractive subject line.
  • Personalization is the key. Using RFM segmentation can help you understand different customer groups, get insights into their spending habits, identify customers who value your offering, and send emails relevant to their interests.

2. Click-through rate (CTR)

Links and CTAs are usually a part of any email because you want the reader to visit your website or sign-up for your services or buy your product. But how do you know if the email recipients are clicking on the links you have shared? Tracking the click-through rate helps identify the number of recipients who actually click on the links inside an email and visit your ecommerce website. CTR is a fundamental email marketing metric that measures the percentage of email recipients who actually go beyond just opening your email. These are the people who are actively engaged with your email and what you have to offer.

How to calculate CTR:

To calculate the click-through divide the total number of unique email IDs who clicked on a link by the total number of emails actually delivered. For example, if out of 2,000 emails delivered, 200 people click on the links inside the sent email, the CTR will be 200/2000*100 = 10%. The average CTR for emails across industries is 7.8% with a variance of +/- 1-2 % from industry to industry.

Tips to increase CTR:

Follow these tips to maintain and boost your CTR

  • Provide something that is of value to the recipient such as a discount code, or create a sense of urgency by giving a limited-time offer, exclusive access to an upcoming event, and so on.
  • Make sure the links you are sharing on emails work, open on both mobiles and desktops, and load fast. Basically, test all the links well and ensure they are easy to navigate.
  • Doing an A/B test on a small group to determine which email layout, link location in the body of the email, and number of times to include the link works best is a good idea.

3. Conversion rate

Your email is delivered, a decent percentage of recipients opened the email and clicked on the links as well. But how many people took the desired action like making a purchase, sign-up for an event or your services, subscribing to your newsletter, and so on and so forth? Conversion rate is a metric that helps you track how many people have taken the desired action or converted into your customer after receiving your email. It is an indicator of how successful your business strategies actually are in getting people to engage with your brand, and hence extremely important to track.

How to calculate conversion rate:

For example, you send emails to 5,000 people with a link to a special discount coupon, of which 1,000 people open the email, 500 click on the discount coupon link, and 200 people end up making a purchase. To calculate your conversion rate you will divide 200/5,000*100 = 4% of the email recipients made an actual purchase or converted as your customer. The average conversion rate among ecommerce businesses is 1.62%, however, this number varies from product to product with health and well-being businesses having the highest conversion rate of 3.72%.

Tips to improve conversion rates:

The end goal of any business and marketing activity is to get more sales and high conversions. There is a strong correlation between email marketing metrics by industry and conversion rates. So how does one improve email marketing metrics to boost development and conversion? Here are our two cents on how you can increase the conversion rates of your DTC business.

  • Your website means everything, make sure your website loads quickly, is easy to navigate, and user-friendly.
  • Have a user interface that’s easy to maneuver.
  • Make the website dynamic and attractive.
  • Keep a seamless checkout process along with multiple options to make payments including COD (cash on delivery) if possible.
  • Mention any hidden charges such as shipping costs and taxes on the product page itself.

4. Bounce rate

When running an email campaign you send out emails to thousands of people in one go. It is highly likely that many of the email IDs you sent emails to may not receive your email in the first place. Bounce rate is the percentage of emails that have not successfully reached recipients. There are two types of email bounce:

  • Soft bounces: Refers to temporary issues with an email ID such as no storage because of which the email bounced back.
  • Hard bounces: Refers to permanent issues with email IDs because of which email was never delivered.

Tracking bounce rate is critical as it gives you an insight into the quality of the mailing list and the database available to you. A high hard bounce rate is an indicator of many fake or disabled or incorrect email IDs on your mailing list.

Tips to reduce high bounce rate:

The last thing you want is your emails bouncing back. But here’s what you can do to reduce bounce rates.

  • Use double opt-in. Using this feature you can send an email with a link to confirm a subscription when a user signs up for your email marketing list. If a recipient gives a confirmation he/she gets added to your marketing list. Double opt-in confirmation significantly reduces spam addresses.

5. Unsubscribe rate

Every activity you do will have some positive and some not-so-positive outcomes. People unsubscribing your emails is one such scenario that is bound to happen. The average unsubscribe rate is 0.48% across industries. The unsubscribe rate refers to the number of people unsubscribing from your mailing list. Keeping a tab on your monthly unsubscribe rate is important to get insights into your growth rate and what could be going wrong with your email strategy. The reasons for a recipient to unsubscribe could be many, with the top reason being that people receive too many emails.

Tips to reduce unsubscribe rate:

While some minuscule percentage of users unsubscribing from your email lists is inevitable, taking appropriate measures well in time is important for the numbers to reach an alarming level. Here are our go-to tips to reduce your unsubscribe rate:

  • Proper segmentation: Segmenting your email list is the first step towards sending relevant and personalized emails to your target audience, you can’t go wrong here.
  • Email frequency testing: Proactively perform an email frequency test and then arrive at an optimal frequency rate at which to send emails. No one wants an email landing in their inbox every day no matter how much ever they like a brand.
  • Fast-loading emails: Make sure emails load fast and open conveniently on both mobile and desktop

6. List growth rate

Businesses grow over time and so does their customer base. List growth rate helps a business track the rate at which the number of subscribers opting to receive your email/newsletter is growing.

How to calculate list growth rate:

To calculate your list growth rate subtract the number of unsubscribes by the number of new subscribers, divide the number by the total number of email addresses on your list, and then multiply it by 100.

Tips to increase list growth rate:

There will always be a small percentage that will unsubscribe hence it becomes important to take initiatives so that new people keep subscribing to your emails and the customer base keeps getting replenished and growing. Here are a few tips:

  • Give subscribers an option to choose the frequency at which to receive emails.
  • Make all your new subscribers feel welcome by sending them a personalized welcome note.
  • Maintain list hygiene (remove duplicate IDs, delete hard and soft bounce emails, correct typo errors if any).

7. Email Sharing Rate

81% purchase decisions are a result of social media posts, and friends and family recommendations. Email sharing rate tracks the number of times an email recipient shares your email on their social media handles. Tracking this metric gives an idea of how many brand advocates a brand has and the percentage of subscribers who are recommending your emails to others. This metric also helps establish some useful email marketing benchmarks.

How to calculate email sharing rate:

Most emails have a share this email button. To calculate the email sharing rate you will have to divide the number of “share this” clicks by the number of total emails delivered and multiply the result by 100.

Tips to increase email share rate:

Recommendations on social media, by friends and family, or social media influencers work. To make sure these groups share your email on their handles follow these tips:

  • Extend the discount promo code to their friends, family, and followers so that they can share details or the promo code on social media for others to use.
  • Make sure to include a “share this email” CTA in your email.

8. Revenue per email - RPE

RPE is one of the most important ecommerce email marketing metrics for any business and plays a vital role in determining the email marketing budget. It gives marketers an insight on whether or not their marketing budget is being utilized efficiently. RPE is the revenue generated by the total number of emails sent.

How to calculate RPE:

RPE is arrived at by dividing the total revenue generated by an email campaign by the total number of emails sent, which is RPE = Total Revenue generated/Total number of emails sent.

Tips to increase RPE:

Getting a handsome return on any marketing strategy is what every marketer and business owner desires. Here are our top tips to maximize your revenues per email.

  • Optimize emails to open fast and easily on any device.
  • Create catchy, engaging subject lines and well-designed CTAs.
  • Personalize your emails.

9. Spam Rate

Also known as spam complaint rate, this refers to tracking the number of recipients who marked your email as spam out of the total emails sent. Tracking this metric is important as a high spam rate can have long-lasting effects on your future e-mail marketing campaigns. A high-spam rate means most of your emails won’t get delivered at all. The industry acceptable limit of spam rate is 0.1% make sure to not exceed this rate.

Tips to reduce spam rate:

Keeping your spam rate to a minimum is crucial for the success of your current and future email campaigns.

  • Ask for recipient permission or opt-in to send emails.
  • Optimize/ limit the number of emails being sent, with the general rule being not sending more than one email per week.
  • Send short, crisp, and engaging emails.

Wrapping up!

With the world of technology changing, and service providers giving users more control over what brands can track, it's important you're upto date with the latest trends in email marketing.

The IOS 15 update released last year for Apple’s Mail Privacy has impacted how DTC brands are looking at their email metrics. It about time that DTC brands move away from pixel-based email tracking and focus on metrics that are reliable and actionable.