Measuring your email marketing campaigns will tell you which email subject lines perform best, who’s clicking on what, and whether your emails are being read by their intended recipients.
Email marketing metrics provide insights into what works and what doesn’t, so you can improve your email marketing strategy and avoid sending emails into the ether (or, worse, into spam folders).
What are email marketing metrics?
Email marketing metrics are numbers or percentages that indicate the success of an email marketing campaign. They provide information about campaigns, like how many and which people open an email, how many people click through to a website from an email, and how many people unsubscribe.
Why you should track email marketing metrics
Metrics helps you understand how subscribers engage with your content. They paint a picture of what content resonates, so you can use it to improve every future email.
Shopify Email automatically tracks your chosen metrics so you can connect with customers and build lasting relationships via email. Measure results like how many people clicked through to your store from your emails, how many went on to add products to their cart, and how many eventually made a purchase. Even better, you can access it all through your Shopify account, which is linked to your product catalog, for deeper, more detailed performance insights.
10 email marketing metrics you need to track in 2023
Deliverability rate shows the percentage of sent emails successfully delivered to a recipient. High deliverability rates indicate a clean, healthy list and confirm your emails are landing in the right inboxes. But if you start to see the numbers drop, it might mean your emails are being marked as spam or you’re sending emails to invalid addresses.
How to calculate deliverability rate: Divide the number of delivered emails by the total number of emails sent and multiply the result by 100.
What’s a good deliverability rate?
Ideally, you’d hit 100%, but aim for 99%—there are bound to be some anomalies in your list. If your delivery rate is 97% or less, audit how you collect your email addresses to make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance at success.
Open rate is the percentage of recipients who opened your email. High open rates might mean your subject lines are compelling, or it might mean customers anticipate your emails in their inboxes. If you’re seeing low open rates, try experimenting with subject lines, use personalization, consider incorporating emojis, or think about changing your sending cadence.
How to calculate open rates: Divide the total number of emails opened by the number of recipients and multiply the result by 100.
What’s a good open rate?
3. Click-to-open rate (CTOR)
Click-to-open rate is the percentage of people who clicked on a link inside your email after opening. This evaluates two metrics in one: The number of people who opened the email and the number of clicks. Many use this metric to measure the overall success of the campaign, as it’s an effective way to understand how many people found your content engaging—or click-worthy.
How to calculate CTOR: Divide the number of people who clicked on a link in an email by the total number of people who opened the email and multiply the result by 100.
What’s a good CTOR?
Aim for 10.5%, reported as the average industry benchmark by Campaign Monitor in 2021. To improve your click-through rates, make sure your content is relevant to your audience, test out different send times, and use a strong calls-to-action (CTA) that includes an incentive.
The conversion rate of an email is the percentage of subscribers who performed a specific action (i.e., a purchase). This is one of the most important metrics of an email campaign, since it’s usually the overall goal.
How to calculate conversion rates: Divide the number of people who took the desired action by the number of emails delivered and multiply the result by 100.
What’s a good conversion rate?
Conversion rates in ecommerce are notoriously low—anything above 2% is considered good. If you’re not getting that, try adding a discount offer to your subject line, checking if your design is mobile responsive, and using a clear CTA.
You can also try adding automated emails to your strategy, since reaching customers at the right time is a great way to boost your results. The industry average for conversion from a welcome email is around 3%, according to eMarketer—and you can set up welcome emails directly in Shopify using marketing automations.
The unsubscribe rate is the percentage of users who opted out of a subscriber list after an email campaign was sent.
How to calculate unsubscribe rates: Divide the number of people who unsubscribed by the number of emails delivered and multiply the result by 100.
What’s a good unsubscribe rate?
The lower the better. Aim for 0.5% or less. To keep this metric low you can test your email frequency and keep content digestible and relevant. Email frequency refers to the number of times you email your subscribers. It’s important to build your send cadence into your strategy right from the start so your subscribers don’t feel like you’re sending them too many emails.
You could also try segmenting your list, so you're sending more relevant content to your subscribers. Try grouping subscribers by whether they've made a purchase, what they've bought, or how much they've spent with you in the past, and send targeted emails just for that group. Shopify users can set this up with marketing segmentation tools.
Bounce rate measures the number of emails sent that couldn’t be delivered to the recipient’s inbox for whatever reason. There are two types of bounces: A “soft bounce,” which is a temporary block on a recipient’s inbox (because it’s full or the server is down), and a “hard bounce,” which indicates an invalid or non-existent email address.
How to calculate bounce rates: Divide the total number of bounced emails by the number of emails sent and multiply the result by 100.
What’s a good bounce rate?
Two percent or less is a good bounce rate. While “soft bounce” email addresses may receive your emails later down the line, you can improve your bounce rate by removing any addresses that have “hard bounced” from your email list.
List growth rate
List growth rate refers to the rate at which your email list is growing. The more people you have on your list, the more potential customers and sales opportunities you have.
How to calculate list growth rate: Divide the number of new subscribers (minus the number of unsubscribes) by the total number of people on your list and multiply the result by 100.
What’s a good list growth rate?
Aim for a list growth rate of 2.5%. Improve the percentage by using clear CTAs on your landing pages, providing an incentive for people who subscribe, and placing sign-up forms on your website and on your key marketing channels.
Email sharing or forwarding rate
Email sharing or forwarding rate measures the number of people who have shared the email with their social networks or friends and family. This is usually tracked through a “Share this” button or a “Forward to a friend” button and is a great way to increase your list with very little effort.
How to calculate email sharing or forwarding rates: Divide the number of total delivered emails by the number of clicks on the “Share this” button and multiply the result by 100.
What’s a good email sharing or forwarding rate?
There are no hard and fast numbers here—any share or forward is positive, but it doesn’t necessarily translate to a new subscriber if the recipient receives the email but doesn’t sign up. However, they might click on a link, visit your store, or take another action that has benefits.
ROI stands for return on investment and measures the revenue or sales of a campaign against how much you invested in it.
How to calculate ROI: Divide your total revenue from the campaign by the total spent on it and multiply the result by 100.
What’s a good ROI?
On average, email campaigns generate $42 for every $1 spent—that’s an ROI of 4,200%. But don’t beat yourself up if you’re not hitting those numbers. The takeaway is you’re getting a higher return than your investment. You can improve this by implementing conversion optimization strategies, A/B testing subject lines and content types, experimenting with CTAs, and adding an incentive to your emails.
Number of spam complaints
The number of spam complaints refers to the percentage of people who have marked your emails as spam. It can be discouraging and detrimental to your email marketing strategy—the more spam complaints you get, the more likely it is that future emails will go straight to spam folders.
How to calculate spam complaint rates: Divide the number of people who reported email as spam by the number of emails sent and multiply the result by 100.
What’s a good spam complaint rate?
Ideally, 0%. Keep your spam complaint rate low by making your unsubscribe link visible and accessible, enabling a double opt-in, and avoiding spammy subject lines.
Email marketing metrics and KPIs: A final thought
Tracking your email marketing metrics should be part of your campaign strategy from the start, but the next best time to track your data is now. These numbers tell you what type of content your subscribers respond to, the performance of your email campaigns, and what you need to do to keep moving forward.
Shopify Email automatically enables tracking from the start and reports on all these key metrics, including:
- The delivery rate
- How many subscribers unsubscribed
- The click-through rate
- How many times the email was reported as spam
- How many unique visitors your store had from the email
- How many times a visit to your store from the email resulted in items being added to the cart
- How many orders were placed by customers visiting your store from the email
- The dollar amount in sales made from visits to your store from the email
Although you should keep open tracking enabled, you can always update and personalize your settings. Remember to grow your audience and increase your open rate, analyze your email campaign results, and adjust accordingly.
Email marketing metrics FAQ
What metrics should you track with email marketing?
- Deliverability rate
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Conversion rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Bounce rate
- List growth rate
- Email sharing or forwarding rate
- Return on investment (ROI)
- Spam complaint rate
What are the KPIs for email marketing?
The most important and common KPIs for email marketing are open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate. You can also track metrics like deliverability rate, unsubscribe rate, and list growth rate to understand what your subscribers want and need.
What are some email metrics?
The email metrics you track will depend on your goals and the type of campaigns you’re running. The most common email metrics are deliverability rate, open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, unsubscribe rate, bounce rate, and ROI.
What are the 5 marketing metrics?
The five most common marketing metrics for email are:
- Deliverability rate
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Conversion rate
- Unsubscribe rate