Three Email Metrics That Publishers Should Track

Written by Zach Behm

Want to be an email expert?  There’s some analytics that you should be paying attention to.

There are a lot of things competing for my attention on a daily basis.  My family, profession, and friends are among the most important.  Then comes menial household tasks, bills, errands, exercise (from September to February my fantasy football team may even be higher on this list).  By the time the day winds down, I get my daughter to sleep, kick back and watch Netflix, there’s not a lot of time for personal email.  To win my time, I need to be interested in your content, intrigued by your offer, or fooled by your subject line (just kidding).

There’s a lot that goes into email marketing and promotion.  Your template layout needs to be simple and not too image heavy to assure quick load time and readability.  There’s a whole science behind subject lines, a/b testing, content organization.  This is only to get someone to not delete or abandon your email!  What I want to talk about is the analytics side of email and 3 things that you can measure to ensure you’re on top of your campaigns.  After all, you need to measure and assess your success before you can develop any strategies or change.

Open, Read, and Click Rates

Your flagship metrics for any email campaign are the open, read, and click-through rates.  The open rate measures how many people decided to advance to the copy of your email instead of moving it to their trash.  If you’re new to email promotion, your initial impression of open rate may be underwhelming.  However, a good open rate is anywhere from 20-25% of your email list.  This is the goal to shoot for and if you’re experiencing this, you can start to relax again.  Nxtbook deploys email campaigns for some of our clients, and the most successful enjoy open rates upwards of 30%!

The read rate measures anyone who opens and sticks with your email content long enough that they’re intrigued or thinking about clicking on something.  A standard to go by is usually 5 seconds but may vary depending on your email provider.  The read rate is the less sought of the three.

Everyone loves a good click-through rate.  This will, of course, be the lowest of the metrics.  It will be hard to stomach the fact that not everyone who reads your email wants to click.  Take comfort in the fact that most click-through rates will fall below 5%.  If you’re experiencing higher than this, then congratulations because you have a very engaged audience!

Bounces and Unsubscribes

There are two types of bounce rates, a soft bounce and a hard bounce.  Both signify a non-delivery of your email.

A soft bounce means that the email address is correct, but the email couldn’t get through because of a technological barrier.  A soft bounce can occur because of a problem with the intended recipient’s server, the inbox has no more space, or the size of the email was too large.  After a few soft bounces, an email address is usually placed on a suppression list and the owner of the address needs to opt back in to receive your content again.

A hard bounce occurs because of an invalid or nonexistent email address.  To ensure your achieving maximum open rates, it’s best to track hard bounces and clear your email lists of invalid email addresses.

Unsubscribes are the least fun metric.  Nobody wants to see their email lists shrink from opt-outs and unsubscribes.  We all do it though.  Nxtbook clients use email to get their digitally published content on the eyes of an audience.  Hopefully, your lists are thriving and growing, but lifestyles and hobbies can change and even the best content will experience unsubscribes.

List Growth

The main goal of our clients’ campaigns is to grow readership and gain audience exposure.  There are a lot of different channels that can be used to get people signed up and opted into your content.  A way you can measure this success is list growth.  You can figure list growth out by taking your new subscribers, subtracting unsubscribes/hard bounces, dividing that number by total email addresses on your list, and multiplying by 100 to get a percentage.  As long as you’re attracting and signing up a greater number of readers than those opting out, you’ve got positive list growth!

Bonus:  Conversion Rate

This may not apply to all of our clients and readers of this blog.  However, the purpose of your email is to get someone to click-through to the intended content.  Most of our clients are asking that you click through and consume their content.  Sometimes the goal is for the clicker to complete a task on the other side.  This goal may be signing up for special content, giving more information, completing a survey, or responding to an event invitation.  These are conversions because the recipient of your email is not only clicking through but completing the desired action.  If you can figure out how many people completed the action, you can determine the conversion rate by comparing that number to total emails sent.

Hopefully, you’ve learned a nugget of knowledge on email metrics.  Use these tips to master email promotion.  Good luck!