Email marketing metrics

Email marketing metrics

This is Part 5 of the Metrics that matter for bloggers series. In this chapter, we will cover all the metrics related to your email marketing efforts – email marketing metrics that matter. Besides Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing and a growing email database are two of the most important tools for every blogger.

An email is one of the most intimate online possessions (to how many people would you give access to your main email account?) and therefore also the best way for a blogger to build close relationships with readers. So here we are:

Metrics that matter for bloggers

You can also download (1) the completely free eBook with all the seven chapters included and (2) a free Excel template for your monthly blogging metrics report and analysis. Plus, (3) a list of potential ways to make money blogging and (4) a list of 170+ affiliate programs and ad networks for bloggers.


List of files available for download:



RSS Subscribers

Before we go to email marketing, here’s the place where RSS deserves to be mentioned. There’s a big debate out there if RSS is dead or not. On the one hand, companies like Google, Twitter and Apple dropped RSS but on the other hand, Feedly (as one of the most popular RSS apps) has seen tremendous growth in the past few years.

You’ll have to decide how much effort you’ll put into building your RSS subscribers and whether the number of RSS subscribers is a metric important to you.

Here are a few tools that can help you with RSS analytics:

Email marketing metrics

Email marketing metrics

Now let’s start with email marketing metrics. Here are the most important email marketing metrics for bloggers you should be tracking:

List size / Emails sent

List size is the total number of recipients (email addresses) that you have in your database (a list or all the lists combined) and you are sending your email message to.

Number of email campaigns sent

Then we have the number of email campaigns you send in a specific month. You have to decide how frequently you’ll send an email to your subscribers and measure how the frequency influences different email marketing metrics.

Email marketing frequency research statistics show that, very roughly, 1/4 sites send an email once per month, 1/2 on a weekly basis and 1/4 send more than one email to the readers per week. So sending your emails out on a weekly basis probably makes the most sense.

If you don’t yet have any data about when your audience is most likely to read your email, target midmornings during the work week. An A/B test may help you get an answer of the best timing (more about split testing in the next chapter).

Below are a few tactics bloggers are using, but you have to decide what your strategy will be. These are just ideas, not proven best working tactics. Many bloggers send:

  • An email for every new blog post (and automate it with IFTTT)
  • A monthly or bi-weekly newsletter
  • New paid offers they have and product information emails
  • Updates from their personal life
  • Special reports (income report, what I am reading etc.)
  • Thank you email (for downloading, subscribing, reading etc.)
  • Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary emails

Let’s go on.

Bounce Rate and Delivery Rate

The bounce rate is the percentage of total emails sent to your subscribers that couldn’t be delivered to the recipient’s inbox. If an email isn’t delivered, we call that a bounce. There are two types of bounces:

  • Soft Bounce: Temporary problem with the inbox, such as a full Inbox, account problems (deliver later)
  • Hard Bounce: Email doesn’t exist anymore, so you should immediately remove these emails from your database (even if only to uphold reputation with your ISP provider).

Based on the bounce rate, you can also calculate your delivery rate. Delivery rate is calculated by subtracting hard and soft bounces from the total number of emails sent, then dividing that number by gross emails sent. Your delivery rate should be higher than 95 %. Lower than 80 % is a really bad delivery rate. If one of the emails has a lower delivery rate, check the title and other elements of your email that could mark you message as spam.

Delivery rate = Emails sent – Bounces / Emails sent

Open Rate

Open Rate shows how many subscribers opened your email. It’s at the top of funnel metrics for email marketing. Metrics can be misleading since they don’t count emails that may have been opened – if a recipient has some kind of image blocking in their email client, your stats will show that an email hadn’t been opened, even if it might have been. On the other hand, some email clients or preview panes automatically open emails, which also impacts your stats.

Open rate = Emails opened / Emails delivered

You can definitely influence the percentage of Open Rates by optimizing the subject line, but you shouldn’t forget to focus your efforts also on CTRs and conversions.

The best value of measuring open rates is to use them as comparison, for example looking for similarities between emails that had high open rates.

You should also know that the highest percentage of email opened usually happens about one hour after delivery. Research shows that emails with the best open rates are the ones with a medium length of a subject line, counting between 25 and 40 characters.

An open rate of 20 % – 30 % or more is considered good. 40% and more is considered really good.

Click-Through Rate

Click-Through Rate (CTR) is calculated as the proportion of the subscribers who clicked on one or more links contained in an email message. It shows performance of every email you sent to your subscribers.

It gives you good insight into how many of your subscribers are engaging with your content and are interested in reading your new blog posts. Emails with more links usually bring higher CTRs, but not necessarily. If you have too many links, spam filters may tag your email.

Average companies achieve around 2 % – 6 % CTR. A Click-Through Rate of around 10 % is really good, more than 10 % is super excellent. So if 10 out of every 100 subscribers click on a link in your email, you have a super healthy email list.

CTR = Unique clicks / Emails delivered

Adjusted CTR = Unique clicks / Emails opened


You can also calculate the Click-To-Open Rate (CTOR) that shows how many subscribers who opened your email also clicked on one of your links. A weak open rate and a high CTR can show that your email subject was weak.

A CTOR between 10 % and 15 % is considered normal, from 16 % to 40 % is excellent.

CTOR = Click-through rate / Open rate

Unsubscribe Rate

The Unsubscribe Rate shows the percentage of people who unsubscribed from your list (clicking the unsubscribe link when you send an email and then following through the opt-out process). It doesn’t really show the health of your email list, but you should keep an eye on your unsubscribe rate.

A high unsubscribe rate can show that you’re doing basic email marketing mistakes (irrelevant content etc.) or, if many people unsubscribe after a specific email, that they didn’t like it.

The average unsubscribe rate is between 0.1 – 0.5 %, if you achieve less than 0.1 % you’re doing excellently.

Unsubscribe Rate = Unsubscribes / Emails delivered

email marketing

Churn Rate

The Churn Rate is the percentage of subscribers who leave your email list for various reasons. Transparent churn are all people who unsubscribe in a specific period, indicate your massage as spam or don’t receive your email anymore because of the hard bounce.

These are all the subscribers who don’t receive your emails anymore. In addition to the people who clearly say they don’t want to receive your messages, opaque churn indicates all the readers who are emotionally not interested in your content anymore, but they don’t opt-out. They simply don’t check their email accounts very often or ignore your messages. It’s expected that with time, interest in your content from a specific person decreases.

When dealing with your list size, expect that the natural churn rate for an email list is up to 25 % every year. That means that you’ll lose a quarter of your subscribers per year. You have to grow your list much faster than your churn rate is.

Churn rate = (Unsubscribes + Bounces + Spam Complaints) / List size

List Growth Rate

You should, of course, strive to grow your email list to expand your audience. The List Growth Rate is the measurement of how fast your email list is growing.

You should calculate your growth rate by subtracting hard bounces, complaints and unsubscribed readers from the number of new email subscribers in a given month, and then dividing that number with the number on your size list.

List Growth Rate = (New Subscribers – Unsubscribes – Hard Bounces – Complaints) / List size

Forward Rate (Referral/Share)

Email Sharing and Forward Rate is the percentage of your subscribers who open your email and click any social sharing button to post content on social networks or click the forward button and forward your email to their friends. Sharing and forwarding is one of the best ways for you to gain new audience. Therefore, you have to encourage your readers to share your content. Ask them to do it.

Forward rate = Number of Emails forwarded / Emails delivered

Complaint rate

Complaint rate is the percentage of your subscribers who label your message as spam. Spam complaints are taken very seriously by many email marketing service providers (Mailchimp, Aweber etc.).

You should make sure that people can easily unsubscribe and that you’re sending emails only to people who really opted-in to your mailing list. Your complaint rate should be lower than 0.05 %.

Spam complaint rate = Spam complaints / Emails delivered

Conversion Rate (CR)

Conversion rate is the most important metric besides CTR. The conversion rate is the percentage of your subscribers who clicked on a link within your email and completed a desired action, be it a micro or macro conversion. The conversion rate also depends greatly on your landing page and a clear call-to-action.

Earnings per Email Sent

At the end of the day, you want to calculate how profitable your campaign was. You can simply calculate that by dividing the total revenue generated from the campaign with the number of emails sent. Of course, to calculate Earnings per Email Sent, you must have call-to-actions for macro conversions in your email. For that, you need to build up your conversion funnel with your monetization strategies as quickly as possible.

To sum up email marketing, here are the metrics you should target when sending emails:

Delivery rate 95 %+
Open rate 25 %+
CTR 10 %+
CTOR 20 %+
Complaint rate less than 0,05 %
Yearly Churn rate less than 25 %

That’s it. We have covered all the basic email marketing metrics. Now it’s time to move on to social media metrics.