Email campaigns have long been valued for their insights into subscriber engagement and response, however very few marketers pay attention to what happens to an email campaign once subscribers have clicked through to their website.
Yes, the basic metrics – delivery, open and click rates – have their value, but there’s so much more you can explore, from subscriber retention to website interaction and conversions. I’ve broken down the basic email metrics marketers find valuable, but pay attention to how these form the basis for the real measurement: what they do once they reach your website…
The Most Popular Email Metrics
Email metrics allow you to understand what happens when a user receives your email, while they’re still in the inbox. These lay the foundation for optimising and reworking your email efforts. Here are the most popular ones:
Delivery rate looks at the percentage of emails that were successfully delivered – in other words, emails that did not bounce back or get blocked by the recipient. However, delivery rate does not take into account emails that land in spam or junk folders.
Open rate, on the other hand, will tell you how many of the delivered emails were actually opened by the recipient.
Once the email has been opened, there are a few things that can happen. A user can:
- Close it without reading anything
- Read over the content without clicking on any of the links
- Read the content and click on a link that leads them to your website or microsite
- Unsubscribe from the mailing list
Subscriber Retention Rate
Subscriber retention rate is the rate at which your subscribers either leave your database or stay.
- Subscriber retention rate = # subscribers – bounce backs – unsubscribes / # subscribers
A retention rate of 100% means that none of your subscribers are unsubscribing and you are not losing any to bounce-backs. The lower your retention rate, the fewer subscribers you are keeping – this could be for a variety of reasons. It is up to you to delve deeper and investigate these reasons.
Having content that is relevant to your database and setting up accurate subscriber expectations from the get-go will ensure that more subscribers engage with your email.
Click-through rate compares the number of clicks to successfully delivered emails. These users (who click on links) can provide us with a large amount of information, but we often forget to analyse their behaviour post-click. Understanding your engaged database will allow you to answer the following questions, and many more:
- How do they behave when they visit your website/microsite?
- Do they convert or leave immediately without browsing further?
- Are these visitors new to the site or have they been there before?
Key Metrics For Understanding Your Email Database
Before you can start analysing this data, you need to ensure that you are actually collecting it.
This, the part where the recipient moves beyond the inbox, is where campaign tracking is vital. Always make sure that every link in your email that points to your site is tracked. Tracking email links is easy: simply use campaign tracking on every link, and you’re set.
Here are three key metrics to help you understand your email database, post-click:
Bounce rate is an often-overlooked metric that provides so much insight into user behaviour. It allows you to see what your users did when they arrived on your site – whether they left immediately without viewing any additional pages or whether they browsed through to other pages and sections of your site.
A high bounce rate means that a high percentage of users viewed only one page on your site before they left. A low bounce rate shows that many visitors browsed further than the first page they encountered on your site. Based on this, you can identify possible improvements on that landing page or optimise your calls to action.
Depth Of Visit
For the visitors who do browse through your site, the depth of visit metric would be highly valuable. This metric allows you to see what percentage of visits from email campaigns lasted more than a certain amount of pageviews. For example, if you have a blog and are regularly adding new content to your site, which can be read from your homepage, you would expect to have a high bounce rate with a pages/visit of around one. A high bounce rate because visitors are viewing only one page (their landing page) and leaving and a pages/visit of around one because the majority of visitors are only viewing one page, with a few browsing further.
Investigating the visitors who browsed other pages after reading the homepage, will provide insight into the type of content they were looking at and if they converted during their visit.
Conversion Rate By Medium
Looking at conversion rate by medium will help you understand the actions your email visitors take. This can provide copious amounts of insight into your campaign, emails and visitors. You may find that visitors from emails convert more or less than visitors in general.
Using the blog example, a visitor may read your post on the homepage and then browse to another page of your site, where they may comment on your post. Depending on your objectives, commenting on a post may be a goal, i.e. you want and encourage the engagement. If this is the case, commenting would be a conversion.
Using all the above metrics together will paint the bigger email picture. Use this information to take action, and make adjustments accordingly, to really optimise both your website and your email campaign.