Metrics You Need To Track Beyond Open Rates

What statistics do you need other than open rate?

When small business owners look at their email statistics they usually focus on one specific metric: the open rate. It’s reasonable to assume this is an important metric. After all, those who’ve opened the email will have read it.

However, email marketing should always go far beyond reading an email. Your business should be looking at generating more interaction and results, and for that you need more metrics. The more you measure and assess, the better you can tailor your future campaigns for your audience for greater results.

So what are the other metrics you might need and what are you looking for in them?

1. Click Through Rate

Most, if not all, small business owners know this is an important metric. Not only does it signify that your business’ emails are being read, but people are clicking through for further action. If you aren’t monitoring this, then you need to immediately look at.

A good click through rate can be tough to generate. Some industries have low rates, while others can have high achievements.

It can also depend on the type of email you are sending. If you are sending a notice about store opening times, you can expect lower clicks than if you were offering a special discount.

2. Unsubscribe Rate

This is another important metric which should be high on your list to monitor. The problem is that very few business owners really take notice. Essentially this metric is the number of people who have unsubscribed from your mailing list and will no longer receive information from you.

There are numerous reasons why they might unsubscribe, such as no longer being interested in your brand, or they have all the information they need from you. Alternatively, they may feel that your emails are an intrusion into their day or that they never subscribed in the first place.

You need to monitor this. If your unsubscribe rate goes above 0.5% then you need to consider changing tactics and looking at your emails for better content.

3. Bounce Rate

Another vital statistic is the bounce rate. There are two types of bounce rates: soft and hard. Soft is where there’s a temporary problem with delivery of your email (full inbox, their server isn’t working, etc.). A hard bounce is more long lasting and demonstrates that you’ve been blocked from sending them mail or the email address is no longer active.

Any, and all, hard bounces should be removed immediately. If you have a significant number (more than 0.5%) than you need to investigate why. Someone could have reported your emails as spam or you could have an old list.

Monitor the soft bounce rate too. Find those who continuously soft bounce and remove them as well.

4. Return On Investment

This is probably one of the more interesting metrics that small business owners want to measure, but often forget to. The Return on Investment is the amount of money made for the cost of sending the email.

Don’t forget to include all costs including time to create, format, test and send the email as well as the cost for any images, text etc. you’ve purchased.

Most businesses can expect to receive an ROI of about $44 for every $1 they spend on email marketing, but it does depend on your industry and the type of email you send.

In addition, it can be harder to determine email ROI if you offer long-term services. For instance, if you sell a monthly subscription, the ROI is about the lifetime value of the customer, not that first purchase.


Monitoring the performance of your email marketing campaigns is vital for the successful continuation of your business. However, you need to know what you should be monitoring and what are the best benchmarks.

Use the above metrics as a quick guide of the essential metrics you should be looking at.

What do you use to monitor email marketing performance? Do you perform better or worse than expected?

Let us know in the comments below.

Image supplied by Pixabay.

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