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A comprehensive guide to email metrics: Understanding your email campaign’s performance in 2023

21 September, 2023 | 14 Min Read

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Email metrics are the backbone of a successful marketing campaign. These metrics offer treasured insights into the overall performance of your email campaigns, allowing you to determine the effectiveness of your techniques, optimize your content, and force better effects. In this article, we will discover the significance of email metrics in email advertising and marketing and spotlight critical regions to be aware of.

Creating an email campaign to measure a campaign’s results is a long journey. So, we will first identify the critical steps in this journey. It is essential to understand the technical details to know how to send an email before learning the forms of measurement of the campaign’s success. In other words, the campaign’s success will rely on how well you designed your email campaign.

The result of any campaign is to measure success or failure. Hence, knowing the essential email metrics is the key to identifying what went right and wrong. Knowing the campaign’s performance will help improve further through future campaigns and increasing your return-on-investment (ROI).

Hence, this article consists of 3 sections and by the end of the reading, you will learn the following;

  • The journey of an email
  • The critical email metrics
  • The importance of email metrics

The journey of an email

The progression of an email entails several steps, from creation to delivery in the addressee’s inbox. Understanding this journey is crucial for email marketers to maximize their campaigns and guarantee successful email delivery. Let us delve into this progression step by step.

Creation and design

The journey starts with the creation and design of the email. Marketers craft attractive content, choose relevant visuals, and optimize the layout for numerous devices. Keywords, along with compelling titles, engaging copy, and pleasing visuals, are critical at some point at this level.

Email service provider (ESP)

Once the email is created, it is sent through an Email Service Provider (ESP). The ESP acts as a platform that manages email campaign sending, tracking, and monitoring. Marketers add their email content material and recipient lists to the ESP.

Spotzee combines these two stages with its built-in drag-and-drop email template builder.


The ESP initiates the sending procedure. The email is sent to the recipient listing, either instantly or at a scheduled time selected with the aid of the marketer (e.g., A confirmation email is sent instantly, while a Monthly Newsletter is scheduled at a given day/time of each month).

The sending stage also includes technical protocols like SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) and authentication processes such as SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) to verify email security and legitimacy.

Internet service provider (ISP) filtering

Once the email leaves the ESP, it enters the ISP’s filtering system. ISPs (Internet Service Providers), like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook, use complex algorithms and junk mail filters to assess the email’s content, sender reputation, and varied factors to decide its fate.

ISP classification
Spotzee provides an automated tool that classifies ISP of each email you import into your contact list. This allows you to warm-up specifically warm-up specifically targeting each ISP. See our complete email warm-up guide.

Inbox placement

Based on ISP filtering, the email is either delivered to the recipient’s inbox, diverted to junk mail or even considered spam. Proper sender recognition and email content quality are crucial for inbox placement. Keywords, sender authentication, and engagement records play essential roles.

Engagement and interaction

Assuming the email lands successfully in the recipient’s inbox, the journey continues through the recipient’s engagement. The recipient interacts with the email by opening a link, clicking, or performing an optional action (e.g., purchasing through a call-to-action link in the email body). Engagement metrics such as open and click-through rates are watched at this level.

Tracking and analysis

Post-delivery tracking systems record the recipient’s actions. Marketers analyze these metrics to measure email success and recipient engagement. Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as conversion, bounce, and unsubscribe rates are monitored. Graphics such as diagrams or pie charts create a visual representation and easy understanding of these metrics.

Spotzee provides an excellent overview and in-detail reports on customer interaction and tracking, helping organisations analyze the data and better understand their email campaigns.

Scenario explanation of an email journey

Imagine that a retail company sends out emails to promote its products. The email includes stunning images, a catchy headline (“Huge summer sale: don’t miss out!”), and links to the company’s online store. The ESP sends this email to recipients on the company’s mailing list.

The email goes through the ISP’s filtering system. If the sender has a good reputation (domain reputation is one of the critical elements of a bulk email delivery system) and the email content does not trig trigger spam filters (because of the correct use of keywords and the absence of suspicious content), it lands in the recipient’s inbox.

The customers who find the offer appealing open the email and click on the link to buy a product (Call-to-action). The company then tracks open, click-through, and conversion rates to evaluate the email campaign’s success.

The key email metrics

Email metrics are vital to measure successful email marketing campaigns. They include measures that provide insight into how emails perform, how recipients engage with them, and how they contribute to business or marketing goals. These metrics are vital in analyzing email campaigns effortlessly, enabling data-driven decisions for optimal optimisation.

The last two stages of the email journey (above) describe the pathway of the email campaign and the way to move forward. Analyzing these metrics allows email marketers to tailor their strategies, personalize content, optimize email campaigns, and achieve higher engagement and ROI (Return on Investment) - (Refer to Section 3 for the importance of email metrics).

Let us understand the key metrics one by one.

Open rate

Open rate is the percentage of sent emails that recipients opened.

Open rate

Open Rate = (Total Opens / Total Delivered emails) x 100

If you sent 1,000 emails, and 100 were opened, your open rate is (100 / 1,000) x 100 = 10%.

A high open rate means your subject lines and sender names are appealing, and your emails arrive in the inbox. Conversely, a low open rate could indicate email deliverability issues or your content’s relevance.

Click-through rate (CTR)

Click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of email recipients who click on one or more links in the email.

Click-through (CTR) rate

CTR = (Total Clicks / Total Delivered emails) x 100.

If you sent 1,000 emails, and 250 recipients clicked the link in the email, your CTR is (250 / 1,000) x 100 = 25%.

A high CTR means your email content and calls to action are compelling and convincing. It measures how effective your email is at driving desired actions.

Click-to-open rate

Click to open rate is the percentage of clicks against the number of opened emails.

Click-to-open rate = (Total Clicks / Total opened emails) x 100.

If the total number of opened emails is 2000, and 100 recipients clicked the link, your click-to-open rate is (100 / 2,000) x 100 = 5%.

A higher click-to-open rate depicts an excellent email campaign with an offer the customer cannot refuse. It also suggests that the email was viewed entirely and read before the call to action.

CTR and click-to-open rate are two different metrics and should not be mixed. The accuracy of these two metrics could be better (e.g., A customer might click the same link multiple times, giving a false picture about the campaign).

Spotzee provides an excellent solution for the accuracy of these metrics with advanced customisable fields for each campaign.

Conversion rate

Conversion rate is the percentage of email recipients who completed a desired action, such as purchasing or filling out a form.

Conversion Rate = (Total Conversions / Total Delivered) x 100

If you sent 1,000 emails and 30 recipients completed the desired action, your conversion rate is (30 / 1,000) x 100 = 3%.

A high conversion rate indicates that your email effectively motivates recipients to take the desired action. It directly affects the ROI of your email marketing efforts.

Bounce rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of emails sent that fail to reach the recipient’s inbox. Bounces can be classified as “hard bounces” (permanent issues, e.g., invalid email address) and “soft bounces” (temporary matters, e.g., recipient’s inbox is full).

Bounce rate

Bounce Rate = (Total Bounces / Total Sent) x 100

If you sent 1,000 emails and 20 bounced, your bounce rate is (20 / 1,000) x 100 = 2%.

Explanation: A high bounce rate may affect the sender’s reputation and email deliverability. So, it is crucial to maintain a set of best practices to avoid such bounces. The sender can avoid hard bounces and often depends on the sender’s end. Soft bounces, however, are beyond the sender’s reach and could be an issue with the ISP or the recipient. Hence, focusing more on hard bounces and trying the best practices to avoid them is crucial.

Spotzee has numerous tools to avoid hard and soft bounces. Spotzee’s email validation is one of many tools that help clients to prevent errors in their lists. Maintaining good email list hygiene is essential before sending email campaigns.

Unsubscribe rate

The unsubscribe rate is the percentage of email recipients who choose not to receive future emails from your list.

Unsubscribe rate

Unsubscribe Rate = (Total Unsubscribes / Total Delivered) x 100

If you sent 1,000 emails, and 20 recipients opt out, your unsubscribe rate is (20 / 1,000) x 100 = 2%.

This metric often analyses how well you drafted your emails. A higher unsubscribe rate indicates that your emails are not appealing to your customers. Another reason for unsubscribing could be that they are outside your niche market. So, it is vital to identify your target market target group and know about your customers before rolling out a campaign. Monitoring this rate can be helpful to monitor your current strategy and refine your strategy for upcoming campaigns.

Nowadays, the unsubscribe rate can be challenging for businesses since there are default measures by various email apps and devices to avoid bulk email forwarding and emailing to common lists. For example, the Mail app on Apple devices uses an “Unsubscribe” link at the top of the email message (if the email is from a familiar list), giving an extra push for the customers to unsubscribe from such emails.

Unsubscribe from this mailing list (Apple Mail)

Spam complaint rate

The spam complaint rate measures the percentage of your email recipients marking your email as spam. This metric can be overly sensitive and often exceeds the unsubscribe rate.

Complaint rate

Spam Complaint Rate = (Total Spam Complaints / Total Delivered) x 100

If you sent 1,000 emails, and 10 recipients mark your email as spam, your spam complaint rate is (10 / 1,000) x 100 = 1%.

The spam complaint rate is where the customer goes beyond the unsubscribe option and complains about the email campaign. The reasons could be irrelevant content, too many emails or even unnecessary links within the email body.

Even though the unsubscribe rate does not directly affect the sender’s reputation, the spam complaint rate will directly damage the sender’s reputation. Hence, monitoring complaints and handling the subscribers’ issues is vital.

Email forwarding rate

The email forwarding rate measures the percentage of recipients who forwarded your email to others.

Forward to friend

Email Forwarding Rate = (Total Forwards / Total Opens) x 100

If 200 recipients opened your email, and 20 of them forwarded it to others, your email forwarding rate is (20 / 200) x 100 = 10%.

A higher forwarding rate indicates that customers are satisfied with the content and find it helpful. Informational emails such as a cancer awareness program conducted by the sender could have a higher chance of being forwarded to another person since they provide knowledge to the customer. Another example could be an appealing promotional campaign for ladies’ wear. A young female student may find it useful for her colleagues and will forward it.

It is crucial to include knowledge-sharing emails, customer value-addition emails, and empowerment emails in the email marketing strategy to enhance these metrics.

List growth rate

List growth rate refers to how fast your email list grew. It helps you monitor the health of your email subscriber base.

List growth rate

List Growth Rate = [(New Subscribers - Unsubscribes - Bounces) / Total Subscribers] x 100

If you started with 10,000 subscribers (already had), gained 500 new subscribers, had 200 unsubscribes, and 40 bounces, your list growth rate is [(500 - 200 - 40) / 10,000] x 100 = 2.6%.

Measuring the list growth rate is essential because it indicates how fast your list is expanding and how healthy your list is. It is an extra measure of the success of the email marketing campaign.

Understanding and monitoring these critical email metrics is vital to the success of your email marketing efforts as an email service provider. These metrics provide insight into the performance of your email campaigns and help you make data-driven decisions to optimize content, programming and targeting.

The importance of email metrics

Email metrics are essential for any company involved in email marketing. They provide quantitative data and insights into how well email campaigns do and how recipients interact with emails. These metrics are critical in determining successful email marketing strategies, quality campaigns, and desired results. Let us look at the crucial importance of email metrics for a company.

Measuring campaign effectiveness

Understanding the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign is crucial for any company. Email metrics provide robust data that helps evaluate campaign success. Metrics such as open rates, click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates help measure how well a campaign matches the target audience. Analysis of these metrics allows a company to measure the impact of its marketing efforts, and it is possible to make appropriate decisions for future campaigns.

Data-driven decision making

Email metrics enable data-driven decision-making within a company. Instead of relying on theory or assumptions, marketers can base their strategies on facts derived from metrics. This data can reveal recipients’ patterns, preferences, and behaviours, helping to create effective and targeted campaigns. Data-driven decisions are more accurate and more attuned to audience needs and preferences.

Optimizing campaigns for better results

Metrics like open rates, CTR, and conversion rates provide insight into growth areas. If the open rate is low, subject lines need to be optimized or to make them more appealing. A low CTR may indicate that the content or call-to-action needs to be more engaging. By identifying these areas for optimisation, a company can tailor its email campaigns, resulting in higher engagement, better response, and improved ROI.

Enhancing customer engagement

One of the most important aspects of email marketing is engagement. Metrics like click-through rates, email forwarding rates, and social engagement metrics help measure how much attention your emails generate. Increased engagement means your emails engage your audience, foster brand loyalty, and develop stronger connections. Engaged customers are more likely to become advocates for your brand by taking preferred actions.

Segmentation and personalisation

Email metrics provide insight into customer behaviour, preferences, and responses to specific content. This data can be used to segment the email list and customize the content accordingly. Segmentation and personalisation make email more relevant and effective. Customers appreciate emails pertinent to their needs or preferences, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.

Cost-effectiveness and ROI measurement

Email marketing is cost-effective compared to many other marketing channels. By using email metrics, companies can more accurately measure the ROI of their campaigns. Metrics like conversion rates give us a clearer picture of the return on marketing investment. This insight allows companies to allocate their marketing budgets better and maximize ROI.

Improving email deliverability

Monitoring metrics like bounce and spam complaint rates helps monitor and manage quality email delivery. High bounce rates can negatively impact the sender’s reputation and email deliverability and significantly affect future campaigns. By addressing these issues quickly, a company can ensure that its emails reach prospective customers’ inboxes.

Key takeaway

In email marketing, an email’s journey is a multilayer process involving several essential channels. It starts with creating a well-crafted email, including keywords for content and purpose. This email is then sent via an email service provider (ESP), which ensures that it is delivered securely using the SMTP protocol and meets authentication mechanisms such as SPF, DKIM and DMARC. When the email reaches the receiver’s inbox, advanced algorithms analyze its contents, sender reputation and user reviews.

User engagement, measured by open rate, click-through rate (CTR), and conversion rate, is crucial in determining an email’s effectiveness. Metrics like bounce and unsubscribe rates are essential to help maintain list purity and refine targeting strategies.

Email metrics are essential for all email marketers, despite the size of their firm. They will provide actionable insights that drive strategy, optimize campaigns, increase participation/engagement, and measure ROI. By using these metrics, companies can create successful email marketing campaigns, manage customer relationships, and achieve their marketing goals more efficiently and effectively. Ignoring the power of email metrics means missing valuable data that can drive your firm towards marketing success.

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