chapter 9

Email Analytics And How to Track Everything

Your email analytics are a goldmine of insight and untapped opportunities. Besides the total number of email subscribers you have and are getting per day, you should be looking at:

  • Open Rate: The percentage of subscribers that opened your last email, sometimes shown as the overall open rate of all your emails.  
  • Bounce Rate: The percentage of emails that don’t make it into a subscriber’s inbox. This happens either due to a technical/server error or a subscriber’s email is no longer active.
  • Click-Through Rate: The percentage of subscribers that click a link in your last email or overall, depending on which click-through rate you are looking at in your email marketing service backend. 
  • Opt-Out Rate: The percentage of subscribers that “churn” or unsubscribe from your email list, either from your last email or overall, depending on where this metric is being calculated from.

But what exactly is a good benchmark to compare your statistics to?

While it isn’t a good idea to obsess over or compare yourself to other companies (you should actually just be comparing between your own emails and constantly trying to improve), it’s good to have a grasp of what kind of open rates and click-through rates other email marketers are getting.

Here are some industry averages as of February 2015, according to Constant Contact.

While traditionally there’s been a focus on optimizing open rates in the email marketing space, at the end of the day your emails are trying to get your subscribers to take an action. So prioritize your click-through rate as the metric to improve.

Whether that means going to your store to buy a product, following you on Twitter, or reading your latest blog post. Your focus is to get those that do open your emails, to click the links in them.

Most email marketing services are pretty good at providing you a lot of data and analytics out of the box. If you need help finding this data we talked about in this section, be sure to look through your email marketing service’s help center or documentation.

Finding The Optimal Times to Send Emails

While there’s no shortage of data about the best days of the week or times of day to send an email to your list, these only offer a place to start — not a prescription.

Every email list will be different and every industry is different. You should experiment with different sending dates and times to learn when you get the best results, especially early in your email marketing journey since you can afford to take risks. Conduct some split tests (A/B tests) to see which times get better open and click rates, which we’ll go into in chapter 11.

A good place to start looking for your optimal email sending times, is your peak purchase times. This gives you some insight into your customer’s online habits. To track this information, ensure you have Google Analytics setup for ecommerce. We will also be talking more about tracking everything and analytics in chapter 10. If your customers are purchasing from your site in the late afternoon, then naturally, that would be a good time to send emails since they are already online and likely will see your email when you send it.

Another thing to consider is that most email marketing services, such as MailChimp and GetResponse, have a “timewarp” feature. This allows you to send an email that will line up with every subscriber’s timezone. So, if you want to send out an email for 8am on Thursday, it will send out that email for 8am on Thursday in the timezone each of your subscribers are in. For example, whether you have a subscriber in New York or in London, they will receive your scheduled email for 8am on Thursday in their timezone.

Track Everything

You should have Google Analytics set up on your website and if you don’t, you can check out our blog post to get you set up. This blog post walks you through the steps you need to take and will ensure you are set up with ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics.

Once you’re setup with Google Analytics, one of the first things you can do is track how well links in your email marketing campaigns are performing using UTM parameters. You’re probably wondering what UTM stands for; it’s Urchin Tracking Module. Basically, it helps Google track specific links to give you more insight to how users navigate your content.

You can also begin to track what percentage of your traffic is opting into your email list. This will allow you to see what type of traffic is converting best (for example, traffic that found your website on Google is found to opt-in the most) and where visitors are converting.

To do this, you need to have a “thank you” page or sign up confirmation page, that your visitors are redirected to after opting into your list, with your Google Analytics code placed in it (as every page should).

Under the Reporting tab, go to Conversions, Goals and Overview.

You’ll be asked to “Set up goals”. Click it and click the button “+ NEW GOAL” to set up your first goal.

Creating your goal is very easy. Give your goal a name, I put “Email list signup”, leave the Goal slot ID as the default, and for Type, choose Destination. Click Next Step.

From here, under Goal details, you will only need to put information into the Destination field. This will be the URL of your “thank you” page, or the page the visitor is redirected to after signing up. This won’t be the full URL. So if the URL of your thank you page is http://www.shopify.com/thankyou/ you will only enter /thankyou/ into this field. Everything else can be left as default. Assigning a value or enabling the funnel is not necessary to track email list sign ups.

That’s it! You’re now tracking your email list sign ups. To keep an eye on how well your list building campaign is going, head over to the Reporting tab in Google Analytics, and look under Conversions and Goals in the left menu.

Next chapter

10. 7 Tips for an Effective Email Marketing Strategy

5 min

Start your free 14-day trial today!