When running reports on email metrics, marketers know to remove the bounces so that they are reporting only the response rates of the emails that were delivered. This method makes sense – an email that bounces can’t possibly generate a response. Including the bounces would make your metrics look much worse than they really are.
So it’s surprising to me that email marketers don’t also remove the messages that don’t make it to the inbox because of deliverability failures. These messages are no more capable of generating a response than your hard bounces, but get included in – and therefore depress – your metrics reports. This means that you are not taking the credit you deserve for the revenue your email is generating.
Let’s look at an example to illustrate this point:
You have 1,000,000 records. You typically get a 2% bounce rate, meaning you actually calculate your metrics off the 980,000 emails that you think of as “delivered.” If you record 14,700 clicks then you would report your click-through rate as 1.5%.
However, if your inbox placement rate is only 85%, then I would argue that you should remove another 147,000 messages as incapable of generating response. Calculating your clicks off the remaining 833,000 gives you a CTR of 1.8% — a 15 % increase in response!
You can do these calculations across all your metrics, but it might be most interesting to consider dollar per email in this context. You may find that each email you send is actually much more productive than your reports would have you believe.
Obviously, the worse your deliverability is the more of an impact this subtraction will have. And this will give you leverage to argue for additional resources to help you fix deliverability problems. Reverse the math by taking the number of messages that should have been delivered and calculate your response with now higher CTR. In our example above you, a 1.8% CTR on the original 980,000 messages would have translated into nearly 2,600 additional clicks.
Do your own math – is your program actually performing better than you think? Make sure your superiors know that when the email gets through, it works and works well. Then, help them see how much better could you be doing if all your email was in the inbox.