A Guide to Email Marketing Analytics for Non-Marketers

Have you ever asked someone from a different department than yours what you thought was a simple question, and then wondered what language they were speaking when they gave you an answer? We tend to develop our own lingo within our departments at work. It becomes so natural for us that we don’t even realize we’re spouting off gibberish.

So here you are. You want to know the results from a recent email campaign, but your marketing team isn’t speaking your language. All of the different “rates” and percentages are making your head spin. The numbers sound pretty good, but who can really tell?

Here are some email marketing terms to help you understand some basics of email analytics:

Subscribers – Thanks to the CAN-SPAM Act, there are rules about sending emails for marketing purposes. I know you’re probably thinking that’s no fun, but it’s actually a good thing for all of us. In order to receive marketing emails, users are required to subscribe or opt-in. Therefore, when a marketer says “subscribers”, they’re talking about the list of people they emailed.

Delivery Rate – There are numerous causes for an undelivered email. Anything from a full inbox, a busy email server, or an invalid email address, among other issues, can cause an email to bounce. The delivery rate tells us how many emails were successfully delivered out of the number of subscribers it was sent to. It’s important to note that a successful delivery does not actually mean the email reached the subscribers inbox—it could be in their spam for all you know, but we’ll dig into that in the future.

Open Rate – This refers to the number of people who actually opened the email out of the number of people it was sent to. A good open rate is really relative to your industry. According to Mail Chimp, the average open rate for Recruitment and Staffing emails is about 20%. That may seem low, but most industries should expect open rates to be anything between 15-25%.

Click-Through Rate (CTR) – Besides just opening the email, you’ll want to know whether or not your subscribers engaged with it. The CTR is the percentage of subscribers who clicked on a link in your email out of the number of opened emails.

Unsubscribe Rate – Another requirement of the CAN-SPAM Act is a clear way to opt-out of receiving emails, which is also known as unsubscribing. The unsubscribe rate tells you the percentage of subscribers who decided they didn’t want to hear from you again after opening the email. The average unsubscribe rate for all industries is less than 0.5% for all industries… If your unsubscribe rate is even close to that, you need to rethink your email marketing strategy.

You can learn a lot about what works for your email marketing efforts and what doesn’t by tracking your campaigns over a period of time to discover trends. But, in order to successfully track the campaigns, you first have to understand what the data means.

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