Right On Track: 8 Vital eCommerce Email Metrics You Can't Ignore

1 May
Right On Track: 8 Vital eCommerce Email Metrics You Can't Ignore


There’s a lot of it. And when you’re running an eCommerce store, there’s even more data you have to dig through and make sense of — and your email marketing metrics is an important part of that.

You can learn a lot about your customers solely from the data gathered from your email marketing.

It’s truly a wealth of valuable information.

For instance, you can get answers to important questions like, what time of day drives the most sales? How much revenue have your emails driven?

Do people like the content that you're sending? Are they clicking through to make a purchase? How much money did your last campaign bring in?

And really, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s money in your metrics, and when you measure the right metrics, you can find opportunities that were hidden before and double down on what works.

8 eCommerce Email Marketing Metrics You Need To Keep Track Of

1. Open-Rate & Unique Open-Rate

How is this calculated?

# emails sent ÷ total # emails opened - bounced emails = open-rate  

# of unique user email opens ÷ # of emails delivered = unique open rate

What’s the number one thing you want someone to do with your email once they get it?

To open it.

After all, the purpose of the email becomes a moot point if nobody opens the email.

The open-rate metric simply measures how many times your emails are opened.

In Sendlane, you can see the open-rate of your campaigns when you login to your dashboard.

But don't just pay attention to your open-rate.

Another powerful metric to keep track of within your open-rate data is your Unique Opens. Is a unique open different from the total number of opens your email campaign gets?

Simple answer:


Some people mistakenly think that total opens means how many people opened the email.

That’s not actually the case.

A unique open is how many times one subscriber opened your email, however, total opens account for all opens in your email campaigns.

Like in this image below.

While the campaign here got 9,588 total opens, the true amount of people who opened the email was in fact 5,398.

That means that quite a few people opened the email more than once — and that’s a good thing!

Unique opens give you the actual amount of people who opened your campaign, which is an important metric to track and focus on improving.

Generally speaking, the effectiveness of an email sent has to do with the subject line and any preview copy that goes with the email.

You may find that using the person’s name in the subject line improves the open-rate of your campaign. Or you may find that a sending at a certain day and time may be what works best for your campaigns as a whole.

The better your open-rate is, the better the overall effectiveness of your email marketing will likely be.

On average, email campaigns tend to have an almost 14% open-rate. However, every industry is different so it’s always a good idea to take a look at what the standards are for the industry you’re in so that you have a benchmark to measure against.

If you’re below the standard, then there’s some room for improvement. Writing better subject lines is a good place to up your game.

If you need a bit of help in that department, then you should check out our 878 Of The Best Email Marketing Subject Lines ebook to give you some ideas on how to craft subject lines that get your emails opened.

2. Click-Through-Rate & Click-To-Open-Rate

How is this calculated?

# all opens ÷ # all clicks x 100 = click-through-rate (CTR)

# unique opens ÷ # unique clicks x 100 = click-to-open-rate  (CTOR)

You’ve likely heard of tracking Click-Through-Rate (CTR) which is the metric you should use to track how many people click through on the links in your email after they’ve opened it.

That metric looks at the total number of opens, divides it by the total number of clicks and then multiplies it by 100 to give you your rate.

And within your individual campaigns, you can see Unique Clicks versus Total Clicks.

Similar to Unique Opens, unique clicks measure all how many subscribers clicked a link regardless of how many times they clicked it. That’s an important number to know because it plays into a better but lesser-known metric: Click-to-open-rate. (CTOR)

CTOR gives you a better idea of just how engaging your emails are because it tends to be more granular than CTR alone.

What this does is count the number of unique opens and divide that by the number of unique clicks and multiply it by 100 to give you the percentage.

Often you’ll find that this metric gives you a different percentage than CTR and your open-rate. You could have good numbers in both of those areas, but have a lower CTOR.

That’s common.

However, if it’s dramatically lower, that’s a red flag that your content isn’t connecting with your audience.

On average, 10%-15% for your CTOR is a good place to aim. Obviously, higher is better but this benchmark can give you a good place to start.


3. Revenue-Per-Open

How is this calculated?

$ total per campaign ÷ campaign open-rate = revenue-per-open (RPO)

How much money do your email campaigns generate? What’s the ROI for each email sent?

Oomph. Those are a couple of powerful questions, am I right?

After all, email should be driving 30%-40% of your eCommerce revenue so it’s really important you know the answer to those questions.

And one of the best ways to find that answer is to look at the total Revenue Per Campaign and Revenue-Per-Open (RPO).

You can see the revenue generated from your emails in your main dashboard for a wider overview of your email ROI or you can click on your individual campaigns or emails within automations to learn how much revenue each email generated.

Or you can view all your metrics including revenue generated over time in your main dashboard.

Aside from being a helpful way to understand how email is impacting your bank account, it can be an eye-opener in terms of finding areas that need improvement.

If you want to do this manually or get even more into the weeds with the data you’re seeing from your campaigns, ClickZ has a great post to help you dissect your RPO.

4. Spam & Bounce Rate

How is this calculated?

# spam complaints ÷ emails sent x 100 = spam rate

# bounced emails ÷ # emails sent x 100 = bounce rate

When you’re sending a lot of emails, it’s inevitable that you’re going to run into the wall of Spam filters — the little robot bouncers at the door of your subscriber’s inboxes sizing up your email to see if it's cool enough to let in or kick to the Spam folder curb.

If a lot of your emails are landing in Spam, you’ve got yourself a problem.

Quite honestly, you’re going to land in Spam sometimes, even when you’re doing everything “right”. I say “right” because each inbox provider has their own way of looking at emails and how they mark things as Spam.

With that being said, you do have quite a bit of power over your ending up as Spam. We’ve covered this and much more in our Inbox Better 2020 guide. Feel free to snag a free copy and read up on how to keep yourself out of the Spam folder.

Bounce rate is just as important as Spam rate and they usually go hand-in-hand when you’re trying to figure out how well your emails are performing.

When an email bounces, it means that your email was not received by the email address you tried to send it to.

This could happen for quite a few reasons like:

  • The inbox was full
  • The email account is no longer active
  • The subscriber gave you the wrong email address
  • You’ve been blocked by either the subscriber or the inbox provider

Whatever the case is, it can be very frustrating since it’s usually not your fault. You want to track this metric too since it impacts deliverability.

You can do it manually by dividing the number of bounce to the number of emails sent and multiplying that by 100.

Your Sendlane dashboard gives you a good idea of where you stand with your eCommerce email deliverability, and shows you both your Spam complaints and bounce rate.

This way you can get a better overview of how your emails reach people’s inboxes and how they’re responding to them.

If you see movement in the wrong direction, then you can shift your strategy and make changes as needed.

5. Unsubscribe Rate

How is this calculated?

# emails delivered ÷ # unsubscribes x 100 = unsubscribe rate

Unsubscribes are a natural part of the email marketing lifecycle. Like, kids losing baby teeth or trees losing their leaves every fall — it’s inevitable.  

But if your kid’s baby all fell out at the same time, that would be a serious cause for alarm...

Likewise, seeing large upticks in people unsubscribing from your email should be viewed as a red flag.

Don’t freak out though.

Depending on your industry, a high unsubscribe rate isn’t actually a bad thing. As I mentioned before, it’s just part of the life cycle.

This metric is calculated by dividing the number of emails delivered by the number of unsubscribes and then multiplying that by 100 to give you the rate.

Thankfully, most ESPs (including us) do the math on this for you so you don’t need to whip out a calculator every time you want to figure this out.

Within your individual campaigns of your Sendlane account, you can see the unsubscribe rate within your campaign reports. You can also better understand how your unsubscribe rate is improving (or not improving) over time on your dashboard.

Again, you should look at your industry benchmarks and use that as your jumping-off point and then study your personal metrics to see where they set.

One great way to lessen the number of people unsubscribing is to make sure you’re personalizing their experience. This is more than just adding their first name — a lot more, really.

You can find some information about how to personalize your email experience better than your competitors with these tips right here.

The Money is In The Metrics

My grandma always used to say that the “Devil was in the details.” Turns out that phrase applies to more than just banter we shared during our daily watching of Perry Mason reruns.

The email metrics, those numbers you see, are trying to tell a story of the people who engage with what you send them.

The closer you look and the more attention you give to those metrics, the more you will learn about your audience and the better choice you can make with your email marketing efforts.

So, yeah, the devil is in the details.

But so is the money.
So grab your shovel and dig through that data.

There’s gold in them there hills.

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