Best Metrics to Track for Measuring Email Marketing Success

If you want to see positive impact from your email marketing efforts, it’s essential that you use metrics to track the effectiveness of your campaign.
Reading Time: 12 minutes

Without knowing the best metrics to track for your email marketing efforts, you risk poor email campaign performance or a strategy that yields only results for the short-term, rather than a long-term business growth solution.

Additionally, gathering and inferring data from your email marketing campaigns helps you learn more about your customer, increasing the likelihood of repeat customers and generating new clients through word of mouth.

But how do you know what metrics to track to make sure you get the most impact from your email marketing efforts? We’re here to help you out.

Here are the best metrics to track for email marketing success:

  • Open Rate
  • Click Rate
  • Bounce Rate
  • Unsubscribe Rate
  • Subscribe Rate
  • Spam Score
  • Conversion Rate
  • Return on Investment
  • Web Traffic Driven From Email


Open Rate

Open rate is one of the most important metrics for email marketing analytics. It shows you what percentage of people receiving your email are actually opening it. If you send an email to 100 people, and 20 of those people open the message to read it, you have an open rate of 20%.

Email open rate helps you understand the overall reach of your campaign. Higher open rates are associated with better subject lines and more opportunities to generate traffic and conversions. If your customers aren’t opening your emails, your campaign is valuable for little more than generating periodic top-of-mind awareness for your brand.


An ideal open rate to shoot for your email campaigns is 17-28%, depending on your industry, your target customer, and other factors. The average email open rate in 2022, across all industries, was 21.5%.

Ways to Improve Your Email Open Rate

  • Target a specific audience. Too many email marketers make the mistake of trying to reach as many people as possible with the most generic messaging possible. Instead, target a specific audience. Know who your customers are, segment your lists, and craft messaging that’s relevant to your target market.
  • Craft shorter, punchier subject lines. The most important variable for higher open rates is, arguably, your subject lines. Each subject line needs to be short, punchy, and persuasive.
  • Pique curiosity. Give people a reason to open your email. Stimulate curiosity by teasing your audience with an interesting subject line; for example, you might lead people to open the message with a line like, “An offer you’d be insane to refuse”
  • Include a tempting offer. You can also motivate people to open your messages by giving them a tempting offer. For example, you could send your most loyal customers an email with the subject line “40% off – but only for the next 3 hours!”


Click Rate

Click rate, also often called click-through rate (CTR), measures the percentage of people who click the links in your email, presumably to get to your website or landing page.

One of the main functions of your email marketing campaign is generating traffic to your website. The higher your click rate is, the more traffic you’re going to generate. You may also use your marketing emails to generate clicks to your content on external sites, or to other resources and partners.

In any case, click rate shows how many people are taking meaningful action after opening your email and reading its contents. It can help you loosely calculate the value and impact of your campaign, while guiding you on how to better motivate subscriber behavior.

A good click-through rate is 2–5%, depending on your industry, your target customer, and other factors. The average CTR in 2022, across all industries, was 2.3%.


Ways to Improve Email Click Rates

  • Include more prominent CTAs. If you want your users to click on your links, make that prominent and easy to understand in a call to action. And make sure all your links are functional before executing a new email campaign.
  • Provide better incentives. People are much more likely to click on a link if they believe it to be valuable to them in some way. If you promise users something valuable on the other end, like a free learning opportunity or an exclusive discount, they’ll be much more likely to click.
  • Don’t spoil everything. We tend to be much more likely to click a link if we’re not certain about what awaits us on the other side; accordingly, a prompt like “click here to see your exclusive offer” generally produces a higher click rate than a prompt like “click here for your 10% discount.” Let there be some mystery.


Bounce Rate

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of your sent emails that never reach recipient email inboxes. In other words, these are emails that get flagged as spam or otherwise become undeliverable.

Your marketing emails can only work if they reach recipient inboxes. It’s very hard to have a perfect deliverability rate, due to variables that are beyond your control, but if your bounce rate is too high, it’s going to harm your email marketing campaign – and potentially make you seem like a spam sender.

An ideal bounce rate should be less than 2%. If your bounce rate is 5% or higher, you have a problem to fix. The average bounce rate varies based on industry, from 0.69 to 1.29%.


Ways to Improve Email Bounce Rate

  • Scrub your email lists. Bounce rate is sometimes artificially increased by inaccurate information in your email subscriber list. That’s why it’s important to periodically go through your lists and scrub them of obsolete or redundant information.
  • Avoid spam indicators. Spam indicators in your messages, such as specific triggering words (like “free”), an abundance of links, or an improper balance of images and text can make your emails more likely to be flagged as spam. Limit these indicators to ensure your messages appear legitimate to spam filters everywhere.
  • Aim for more natural signups. Special offers can be a great way to incentivize new signups, but it can also be a way to attract low-relevance subscribers and fake email accounts. Strive to optimize your opt-in strategies for more natural signups.
  • Use a reputable email service provider. Make sure you’re using a reputable email service provider to protect your own reputation.


Unsubscribe Rate

Unsubscribe rate is the percentage of people who unsubscribe from your email list, based on the number of emails delivered.

Unsubscribes are always bad for your email marketing campaign. Each unsubscribe is another person you can no longer reach, and if you accumulate too many unsubscribes, it can reflect poorly on your reputation as a sender. Additionally, while you may not want unsubscribers, it’s important the email recipients have a clear understanding of where to unsubscribe; therefore, it must be easily accessible to them. If it’s not, this can lead to more harm than good for your email marketing campaign efforts.

A solid unsubscribe rate is below 0.5%, but most businesses are below 0.2%. You want this to be as low as possible.


Ways to Reduce Email Unsubscribe Rates

  • Double opt-in. After customers initially opt into your email campaign, ask them to confirm their email address and subscription with a welcome email. This “double opt-in” approach helps make sure all of your email subscribers are legitimately interested in your content.
  • Master the art of email frequency. Unsubscribes are often a byproduct of excessive email frequency. It’s good to reach out to your customers regularly, but avoid spamming them with too many messages.
  • Provide genuine value to your subscribers. People don’t unsubscribe from email subscriptions that give them genuine value. Make these messages worth their time by providing better information, financially advantageous deals, and unique offers.
  • Prioritize consistency. Keep the quality of your emails consistent. If your subscribers perceive a drop in quality or integrity, they’re going to leave.


Subscribe Rate

Subscribe rate, also known as an opt-in rate, is the percentage of website visitors who subscribe to your email list.

The more subscribers you have, the more valuable your email strategy becomes. This metric helps you evaluate your ability to attract new subscribers.

On average, websites see an opt-in rate of 1–5%. Anything less than 1% requires closer inspection; the highest performers can see upwards of 25%.


Ways to Improve Your Email Subscribe Rate

You can improve your onsite subscribe rate with the following strategies:

  • Consider making a special offer. As we’ve mentioned before, making special offers to incentivize email list sign ups is a bit of a double-edged sword. As long as you choose a strategically positioned offer, you can use this as a way to generate legitimate subscribers.
  • Provide consistent value. Let users know what they can expect by subscribing to your list. What do they have to gain?
  • Make signups prominent onsite. Try to make your email list sign ups more prominent on your website. Additionally, make it easy to sign up, only requesting the bare minimum information from your users.
  • Market and advertise your email list. You can also see better results if you deliberately market and advertise your email list across channels like PPC ads, SEO, and social media marketing.


Spam Score

Spam score reflects the quality of your sales emails; the higher your spam score is, the more your content seems like spam. Spam score can be calculated in different ways and for different purposes. For example, some email marketing tools estimate “spam score” for each individual email produced. But for our purposes, spam score is a measure of a sender’s authority, as calculated by Moz.

If your spam score is too high, as a sender or within a message, your deliverability will be jeopardized. This is also an indication of poor content, as spammy senders and messages tend to see worse performance metrics overall.

A spam score of 1–30% is considered low, a spam score of 31–60% is considered medium, and a score of 61–100% is considered high.


Ways to Improve Your Spam Score

  • Adhere to regulatory standards. The CAN-SPAM Act and other regulatory measures offer guidance on how to avoid spamming people. Comply with these regulatory standards to the best of your ability.
  • Limit spam words and other spam indicators. Spam words include words and phrases like “do not hesitate,” “exclusive offer,” “free registration,” “sold out,” and “start now.” Avoid using spam indicators in your outgoing messages.
  • Use quality code and professional tools. Use professional tools and quality HTML code to avoid being flagged as spam.
  • Build your reputation as a sender. You can also work on boosting your reputation as a sender, using a professional domain, sending consistently high-quality messages, and remaining patient as you scale your campaign.


Conversion Rate

Conversion rate measures the percentage of successful email recipients who complete a specifically defined action, such as purchasing a product or signing up for a service.

Conversions are usually tied to revenue, so conversion rate is a great indicator of how much bottom-line success your email marketing campaign is producing.

An email conversion rate of 2–5% is pretty solid, but you’ll see some strong variance by industry and based on what you’re selling.


Ways to Improve Email Conversion Rates

Here are some strategies to improve your email marketing conversion rates:

  • Include more prominent calls to action (CTAs). Make your CTAs impossible to miss. People are only going to take action if you specifically prompt them to do so.
  • Write CTAs with strong action words. Persuasively written CTAs include concisely arranged, strong action words to motivate email subscribers to action.
  • Increase the value of a conversion for customers. Your users are much more likely to complete a conversion event if it’s favorable to them. Reducing the price of your product or throwing in a free bonus can help you tip the scales here.
  • Ensure responsiveness and functionality. People will be much more likely to convert if your email is perfectly functional and responsibly designed for optimal mobile performance.


Return on Investment (ROI)

Your email marketing return on investment (ROI) shows how much value the campaign brings to your company compared to how much you’re spending on it.

In some ways, this is the most important email marketing metric since it combines elements of the other metrics to give you a high-level view of how valuable this strategy is to your business.

The average email marketing campaign returns $36 for every $1 spent, but some industries (like travel and tourism) see an average ROI of 53:1 or higher.


Ways to Improve Email Marketing ROI

Here are some of the best ways to boost ROI in email marketing:

  • Use the right tools (and employ automation). Email marketing tools can greatly improve your capabilities and give you access to automation, which limits the amount of time and money you need to spend actively managing the campaign.
  • Segment your email lists. Email list segmentation allows you to reach specific people with specific offers, increasing your relevance and conversion rates in the process.
  • Prioritize quality over quantity for subscribers. It’s tempting to grow your list as quickly as possible, but quality is better than quantity when it comes to building an email list.
  • Send a mix of different email types. Welcome messages, promotional ads, special offers, and content newsletters are just some of the types of emails that you can send to your users. Use a mix of messaging strategies to see better results.


Web Traffic Driven From Email

Web traffic driven from email is a total measure of the number of people visiting your website after opening an email from your business.

Understanding the amount of web traffic driven from email is important because this is an indication of how much web traffic your email marketing strategy is generating.

This is a hard metric to calculate a benchmark for, since web traffic is going to vary so much by industry, target demographics, and other factors.

Ways to Improve Web Traffic Driven From Email

  • Be concise. Concise emails are better at generating traffic, since subscribers will be more likely to seek details that extend beyond the scope of the email message.
  •  Improve your understanding of visitor behavior. Pay attention to what email visitors do on your website and lean into those opportunities when drafting new emails.
  • Tease valuable content. Stimulate interest with a tempting offer, but don’t give subscribers the full story until they visit.


Key Takeaways

These represent just some of the most important metrics to track to measure your email marketing campaign success. Closely analyzing and scrutinizing these metrics can help you better understand your campaign performance, and ultimately lead you to more effective strategies and tactics. Industry and broad-level benchmarks can help you understand your campaign as it compares to those of your peers – but even if you’re technically “above average,” there’s always room for further improvement.

Interested in using email to see a higher marketing ROI, capture more leads, and ultimately generate more revenue? Sapper Consulting has the experts, tools, and resources necessary to help you achieve your objectives. Contact us for more information today!

Share this with a friend:

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

About The Author

About Sapper Consulting

Sapper's sales prospecting team becomes a natural extension of your existing sales efforts, helping you find new leads that are a great fit for your business.

Looking For More?

We publish some of the industry's best guidebooks on lead generation with real, proven strategies to grow business. 

Skip to content