The Top Metrics All Email Marketers Should Be Tracking

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There are numerous ways that email marketers can try to determine just how well they are doing from a performance standpoint.

And while the overall list of potential metrics can be exhaustive, there are several metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that EVERY email marketer should be looking at to optimize their campaigns.

These basic stats are the foundation of understanding how your contacts and customers are engaging with your messages.

What you will learn in this article:

  • The top email marketing metrics you should be tracking
  • What each metric means
  • How to calculate each metric
  • Tips to help you improve your campaign performance

Opt-In Rate

What it is: The percentage of site visitors who subscribe to your email list

How to Calculate It:


What is a "Good" Opt-In Rate? The best landing pages average a 5-15% opt-in rate. 20% and higher? You're in excellent shape! This metric reflects the total number of visitors that arrived on your landing page and found it so compelling that they decided to opt-in to your list. Your opt-in rate will tell you a lot about your offering’s quality and the visitors you are funneling to your landing page.

Want To Increase Your Opt-In Rate? Ask Yourself These Three Questions...

  • Where is your traffic coming from, and how much time are they spending on your page?
  • What's your offer? Does it appeal to the wants and needs of your visitors?
  • Do you have strong copy, a compelling CTA, and a well-designed landing page?

Open Rate:

What it is: The percentage of recipients to whom you sent an email that opened it

How to Calculate It:


What is a "Good" Open Rate? Arguably, your open rate is the most important metric for your email marketing campaigns. If your contacts aren’t opening your emails, they aren't clicking on the links or buying the products you promote. It all starts with the open. The average open rate across all industries is 24.79% but, we recommend always shooting for a 10% open rate at the very least. 

Quick tips to improve your open rate:

  • The Subject Line: Long and unappealing subject lines will cause a massive drop in your open rates. Subject lines that are spammy will cause a double whammy by not getting an open AND receiving a spam complaint. It's always best to stick to a subject line that is clear, concise, and gives a little hint as to what's inside.
  • Timing: The right time and day to send will depend on your list. That's why it's essential to monitor your stats and see what days and times seem to accumulate the most opens. To save time, you can just use Sendlane’s Machine Learning Open Predictability! This feature will track each of your subscribers’ open patterns and habits to send your emails at the most optimal times based on their behavior. Ensuring you are always messaging your contacts and customers on the right days, times, and timezones.

Click-Through Rate:

What it is:  The percentage of people who opened the email and clicked at least one link, button, or clickable image link in the email

How to Calculate It:


What is a "Good" Click-Through Rate? The average click-through rate across all industries is 7.8%. CTR gives an email marketer a quick look at initial performance in their campaign without having to dive in too deep. It allows a glance at how current efforts are performing and gives a good look at performance over time. Additionally, looking at CTR can be a great way to run various tests with your email marketing, whether it’s copy, creative, headline, etc.

Selling The Click Getting clicks isn’t about selling the product; it’s about selling the click. Some email marketers will provide all the necessary information about the product for the subscriber to make a buying decision without ever needing to click on the link to get more information from the sales page. So if you sell the product in the email, why would someone click on the link to get more information? Your email should be more about the benefits of clicking on the link rather than the product’s benefits. Remember, “Sell the sizzle and not the steak.“

Making The Most of Your Clicks: Keep in mind; most people make buying decisions based on emotions. If you can tap into the subscriber’s emotion and translate that into a benefit by clicking, you’ll see a rise in your click rates. Let the sales page sell the product, and you sell the click.

Bounce Rate:

What it is: The percentage of email addresses in your subscriber list that did not receive your message

How to Calculate It:


Understanding Your Bounce Rate: There are two different kinds of bounces, soft bounces and hard bounces. A soft bounce could be due to a temporary server issue or something else that prevents the email from being delivered, but once the problem is resolved, the email will be sent through, or you can try resending. A hard bounce will result from an email address that is no longer valid, meaning you should immediately remove any hard bounce email addresses from your list. Too many hard bounces can hurt an email sender’s reputation. Sendlane helps you keep a clean list by automatically removing hard bounce email addresses from your list so they cannot be emailed in the future.

Unsubscribe Rate:

What it is: Percentage of recipients who choose to opt-out of your mailing list

How to Calculate it:


Where Your Unsubscribe Rate Should Be: The average unsubscribe rate across all industries is .48%. If you are utilizing a well-maintained and properly used email list, unsubscribe rates should be no more than one percent at the absolute most.

Unsubscribe rate too high? It's time to ask yourself the following: 

  • Are you offering valuable content to your subscribers?
  • Have you taken the time to segment your list?
  • Are you sticking to a regular sending schedule?
  • Do your emails display well on mobile?

Conversion Rate

What it is: The percentage of subscribers who clicked on a link in your email and completed a desired action

How to Calculate it: 


What Your Conversion Rate Means: Conversion rates tell you about your email campaign’s return on investment (ROI). A high conversion rate means the money you’re putting into your campaign pays off (AKA more dolla-dolla bills!)

There are a TON of tips we can share to help you increase ROI, but here are a few to get you started

  • Personalize it - It’s no doubt that personalized offers convert better. Go beyond the first name basis with your customers and send them something they’ll be stoked about!
  • Clear and concise CTAs (we talked about this, remember?). 
  • Sometimes people need that lil nudge to get them going. Social proof will help build trust with subscribers and encourage them to take action quickly.

Overall ROI

What it is: The overall return on investment for your email campaign. In other words, the profitability of email marketing. 

How to Calculate it:


What Your Overall ROI Means for You: The end goal is revenue, right? Overall ROI evaluates the efficiency and profitability of your investment in email marketing.

We could go on for days with tips on boosting ROI, but to name a few

  • Make automation your new BFF. Automating your marketing will save you time and effort in crafting emails AND boost ROI by sending your customers personalized messages.
  • Segmentation allows you to send the right message to the right person at the right time, all on autopilot. So while your contacts enjoy hyper-targeted messages guaranteed to convert, you can sit back and relax! 

Engagement Over Time

What it is: Engagement over time shows you how your subscribers interact with your email campaigns. 

How to Calculate it: Your ESP should display this for you. If you’re a Sendlane user, our helpful dashboard makes it easy to view your email marketing performance at a glance. 

What Your Engagement Rate is Telling You: Depending on how active your subscribers are, you can segment them into engagement categories and send targeted messages to help push them along the journey. 

Keep Your Contacts Engaged with These Tips

  • Each of your contacts has a different taste, don’t send “one-size-fits-all” messages to all subscribers. Remember, make it personal! 
  • Create a segment based on your highly engaged subscribers, offer them an exclusive discount or gift as a thank you. 
  • Segment another group based on your inactive subscribers; consider a small incentive or re-targeting to try and win them back!

Mobile Open/Click Rate

What it is: This metric works the same way as the regular open/click-through rates. The only difference is it applies specifically to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. 

How to Calculate it: Calculating your mobile open and click rate is similar to your overall open rate, but instead, use your mobile engagement data. This can be found in your Sendlane campaign reporting.

Why Mobile Open/Click Rate is Key: Mobile opens/clicks account for nearly 46% of all email opens! This metric tells you if your email campaign was optimized for mobile, and if you use a platform like Sendlane, your analytics will share which devices your campaign gets the most clicks. 

Trying to give your open/click rate a boost? Here’s how:

  • Ensure your emails are optimized for both desktop and mobile.
  • Test how your email displays on smartphones before launching it—For example, font sizes, body text, images, and layout.

Domain Open/Click Rate

What it is: The percentage of people who open your email or click any link on your email sorted by the email provider. 

How to Calculate it:


What Your Domain Open/Click Rate Means: This metric tells you how your email campaign performs at different Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and whether you have deliverability issues at a particular domain. You can find this valuable information in your Sendlane Campaign Reporting and use it to optimize your emails based on the domains your contacts frequently use. 

Here a few tips to boost domain open/click rate

Revenue Per Email

What it is: How much money you earn from each email

How to Calculate:


Why it’s Important: Revenue per email tells you how much revenue a successfully delivered email earns. Once you find what works for your store, you can replicate the pattern for future emails and keep the revenue coming. 

Boost your revenue per email with these tips

We’ll leave you with this one tip that’s a sure-fire way to rack in a few extra bucks: set up an abandoned cart email funnel to automatically retarget distracted buyers and bring ‘em back to your site. 

Revenue Per Contact

What it is: How much each subscriber contributes to your email marketing campaign’s revenue 

How to Calculate it:


Why it’s Important: This metric represents the rough amount of revenue from each subscriber (this is another great segmentation tactic). Using this data, you can also determine the break-even amount to get new subscribers. 

Looking to increase your revenue per contact? Here’s how

  • Implement reward programs to help increase customer loyalty.
  • Segment your audience based on Total Revenue by creating spending tiers. This will help you uncover your brand champions and those weed out those who you haven’t heard from in a while! 

The Bottom Line

Pay attention to your metrics. Sendlane's analytics and reporting features help you actively monitor your email campaigns’ performance and the health of your email list to give you a clear insight on how to improve upon your overall email marketing strategy.

Ready to start tracking? Take Sendlane for a spin for 14-days, free of charge! 

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