June 28, 2011

Marketing Research Chart: Top email marketing metrics, tracked by email maturity phase

SUMMARY: When selecting email marketing metrics, identifying what to measure and understanding a metric’s purpose are the first steps. Selected metrics should be actionable, helping organizations consistently make improvements and gain necessary budget approvals.

This week’s chart takes a deeper look at the top email marketing metrics tracked and used by organizations.
by Jeff Rice, Senior Research Analyst

Marketing Research Chart: Email marketing metrics tracked, by maturity phase

Q. Which of the following email marketing metrics does your organization track?

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The first step in selecting email marketing metrics is identifying what to measure and understanding a metric’s purpose for communicating progress and impact on objectives. The next step is to decide which metrics fit your organization’s unique strategic requirements. The metrics chosen should be actionable so your team can consistently make improvements and gain necessary budget approvals.

The majority of organizations track delivery, open and clickthrough rates. ESPs easily provide this response data in their campaign reporting systems. These metrics can be helpful for benchmarking your results and spotting trends. Collecting this data will enable you to make improvements to the execution of your email campaigns.

It is important to note that the metrics listed in the chart do not always tell the whole story and can be fallible. For example, open rates are commonly misinterpreted as a measurement dropping in stature.

Open rates are unreliable because they only apply to HTML emails, and if the email client blocks images or viewed in a preview pane the message will not be recognized as open. Open rates are better served to evaluate trends and look for spikes in the numbers. A jump or slump in your open rate justifies an inspection of your subject line, send times and any other offline initiatives to find a reason.

For many marketers the short-term goal of an email is to get a click. Moving the subscriber to take action to visit a website landing page or make an offline task represent success. This is why CTR is often used to measure an email or newsletter’s effectiveness.

Organizations in the strategic phase* of email marketing maturity are significantly more likely to track many performance indicators. These metrics stretch from the most fundamental delivery, open and clickthrough rates to the emerging social sharing rate. As an email marketing program matures and become more complex, marketers seek post-click metrics like conversions and revenue per email.

* Strategic phase organizations have a formal process with thorough guidelines for email marketing they routinely perform. Transition phase organizations have an informal process with a few guidelines for email marketing they sporadically perform. Trial phase organizations have no process or guidelines in place for performing email marketing.

For additional research data and insights about email marketing, download and read the free Executive Summary from the MarketingSherpa 2011 Email Marketing Advanced Practices Handbook - LEAPS: A proven methodology to accelerate your email performance.

Useful links related to this chart

Members Library -- Marketing Research Chart: Top tracked email metrics

Members Library -- Webinar Replay -- Improve Email Deliverability: Tactics for Handling Complaints and Boosting Reputation

Members Library -- Email Marketing: LEAPS methodology for improving performance

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