The Most Important KPIs For Your Email Marketing Plan

The most important KPIs for your email marketing plan

Table of Contents

During the last weeks we have seen why email marketing is important for every business.

We saw how you can create and grow your mailing list, preferring quality to quantity. And which strategies you can use to win the attention of your users.
But how are you going to measure your email marketing campaigns?

The best way to know if your are doing right or wrong is to select and monitor some KPIs.

They are specific metrics that will help you understand how good your are and how to get better.


Email Marketing KPIs Differences

 To get the best out of your email marketing campaign, a wide mailing list won’t be enough.
 You will also need to set some metrics and track them.

Before choosing which metrics you should keep an eye on, you have to know them.

In fact, there is a main distinction when it comes to email marketing KPIs:

1. On-mail. They are the metrics which relates to the interaction between the user and the message. The email marketing platform measures them for you. You can check them anytime you want, with ease.
Some examples are: opening rates, clicks, unsubscriptions, etc.

2. Off-mail. They are the metrics that measure the results of the email outside of the email platform. Is the case of purchases, visits, and other actions driven by your email.
This means that users will complete these actions after clicking a link on your email.

In the next paragraphs we will see many KPIs. We will explain you in details all you need to know.


#1 The Email Delivery Rate & the Bounce Rate 

When you send an email to your mailing list you have to know that not everyone will receive it. The delivery rate is the metric that says how many addresses received your email. 

This index is important because it helps you understand the quality of your mailing list. In fact, the email delivery rate is deeply connected to the bounce rate. 

Bounces are those emails that can’t be delivered to the inbox of your addresses. 

There are two types of email bounces possible and we will see them in details in the next paragraphs.


1.1 The Hard Bounce 

Hard bounces happens when an email address is either invalid or non-existent. 

The email will never reach the inbox because there was no target in the first place. 


1.2 The Soft Bounce 

Soft bounces, instead, are temporarily. They are caused by a full inbox or an error with the email server. Once the problem is solved, your email will reach the inbox safe and sound. 

The bounce rate formula is the following. 


To improve your email delivery rate and reduce the bounce rate, you have to clean your mailing list. Remove all the non-existent contacts. In this way you will improve your results. 


#2 The Unique Open Rate (UOR) 

The unique open rate measures the number of opened email among the total delivered ones. This means that you won’t take into consideration bounces.  

This index is important because it allows us to understand how many contacts opened your email. Therefore, how many are interested.

To improve the opening rate you can work on the subject and preheader. They are the more important factors when it comes to OR. If you want to know how to get better at writing them, read our previous article

#3 The Click-Through Rate (CTR) 

The CTR is one of the most popular metrics in all marketing activities. 

In email marketing, the CTR measures the total clicks of your emails. 

To track CTR you have to insert at least a link in your email. And, of course, include a call to action (CTA). 

This KPI helps you understand if your content is interesting and, of course, if you your CTA is clear and powerful

In case you have high UOR but low CTR the best way to proceed is to change the copy and appearance of your CTAs. 

#4 The Click-to-open Rate (CTOR)

The click-to-open rate is a KPI that few businesses focus on. It is a better index for your business because it measures the number of clicks out of the email delivered. 


The metric lets you measure the real effectiveness of the email marketing campaign. 

 To improve the CTOR (as the CTR) you have to improve the relevance of your email with  your subject line. And, of course, improve your CTAs.

 #5 The Conversion Rate 

 The conversion rate is the most important metric of your email marketing campaign. As well as of every other marketing activity. 
 It measures how many people completed the desired action. This doesn’t meant that it has to be a purchase. You can ask them to follow you on your social media. You can make them complete a survey (to measure your NPS), and much more. 

The conversion rate says to you how effective or ineffective your message is

To improve your conversion rate you need to try different version of copy and CTA. Try to test not only the message itself, but also the way you present it to your audience. 

#6 The Unsubscribe Rate 

The unsubscribe rate tells you how many people voluntarily got out of your mailing list. 

This KPI can be a useful signal for your email marketing strategy. In fact, if the rate exceed 2%, you will need to start thinking about your email marketing campaign.

It tells you that something is wrong and you will have to understand what by testing. It could be because you send emails too often. It can be due to irrelevant content and so on. 

To lower the unsubscribe rate you need to test and adjust different factors, like: frequency, copy, interactive content, etc. 


#7 The List Growth Rate 

As we told you in our article about the mailing list, you will always have some unsubscribers. It’s a natural process that can also help you get better results. In fact, people that are not interested in your content can lower your opening rates and affect your performance. 

This is why you have to do your best to keep raising the number of subscriber

The list growth rate measures how your mailing list has grown in a determined period of time.  

If your mailing list keeps growing you can keep going on with your email marketing campaign. While, if it doesn’t, you must start looking for the cause of the problem. 

Again, we remember you that the most important factor when it comes to the mailing list is quality. You don’t want to buy an existent list of contacts, because they won’t be interested in your content, affecting your performance. 

If you don’t have a steadily growing list of contact, stop and think about new incentives to make people subscribe. Reading again our article will help you find interesting sparks


#8 The Opens by device 

With the growing use and importance of mobile devices, it’s important to know how many of your addresses use them. The opens by device is a metric that helps you track the number of people who opened your email from a smartphone or tablet. 

This number is very important because it helps you understand what you have to do with your future and past emails. 

In fact, if you have a higher audience who reads the email from a mobile device you have to adapt the design of your content to it. 

Giving your addresses the best experience while opening your emails it’s fundamental to improve the email marketing results. 

#9 The Spam Score and the Spam Complaint Rate 

When you send an email there is always a possibility that it will end up in a spam folder. 

The web has loads of anti spam software that analyze the email and give a score to every element perceived as spam. 

When the total of the scores is higher than 5.0 (usually) your mail will be likely to end up in a spam folder

If your spam score is low, your email could still end up in the spam folder because of your addressees. In fact, they can report your email as a spam if they have difficulty in subscribing. This is why you should
make the unsubscribe button visible and easy to find

#10 The Return on investment (ROI)

The return on investment is one of the most important metrics of marketing. It tells you how much have you earned from a determined campaign, considering the costs. 

In other words, it tells you the economic effectiveness of your campaign

Email marketing is the marketing field with the highest ROI of all. Yet, if you want to improve your return on investment you can follow some of this strategies: 

  • Use a double opt-in; 
  • Run A/B tests on your emails;
  • Include interactive content.


These are just some examples to help you raise your ROI with ease. 


Email marketing can help you turn a small business into a successful and popular brand. With a small investment you can reach a wide audience and educate it to turn prospects into loyal customers. 

Having a clear idea of the most important email marketing KPIs will help you understand what is working and what is not. This is fundamental to adjust and improve your campaign to get better results. 

Thanks to a powerful and balanced email marketing campaign, you can boost your business, increase your revenues and create true, trustable and durable relationships with your clients. 

All fundamental ingredients for your future success. 

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