Email Marketing

Email Campaign Reporting That Drives Value Through Insight

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Email marketing is one of the most critical tools your business can use to build relationships with past, current, and potential customers. It’s also extremely valuable due to email tracking metrics that can give measurable insights into how successful your campaigns are — or need to be. This is where the significance of accurate email campaign reporting plays a role.

When creating a strategy, your team will inevitably need to answer the question: What is the goal of this marketing campaign? Email campaign reporting will teach you whether those goals were realized.

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Why insights are critical to your business

When it comes to quantifiable engagement with customers, email is a marketing professional’s best friend. While email is a direct means of building relationships with your target audience, email campaign reporting allows you to understand who opened your messages, when they did so and what content is most impactful to them.

These insights will help you dig into the ways your email marketing campaign strategies are performing and where there are areas for improvement. They also help build a broader picture of your growth in subscriber engagement over time.

For your campaign to evolve with your audience and products, you must be able to not only access these insights but also understand their significance.

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Insights and KPIs you need to track

Email campaign reporting metrics can provide an overwhelming amount of data for marketers to sort through. However, it’s important to categorize between the basic key performance indicators, like the number of subscribers, opens and clicks, and more specific data, such as long-term subscriber activity, engagement trends, and actions taken outside of email.

Through your initial data, you’ll be able to track the engagement of each campaign and adjust them for optimal results. With your long-term insights, such as engagement trend data, you can change your strategy to maximize return on investment.

Two fundamental insights to track your campaign’s engagement and health are overall email performance and subscriber activity.

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Email Performance

The main purpose of email marketing is to build a long-term, loyal relationship with your subscribers. Through email, your team can provide direct information and communication to your audience. But this can only happen if they receive and open the email.

Engaging and relevant content is important, but it doesn’t mean much if it’s never viewed. This is where overall performance data is essential to your marketing strategy. Below are three goals marketers can use to evaluate and ensure improved email marketing insights:

1. Journey Performance

Are your subscribers receiving your emails? This touchpoint is essential to your email campaign performance. By analyzing your inbox placement rate and sender reputation, your team will be able to measure if your emails are being sent to subscriber inboxes and then course-correct accordingly.

2. Content Performance

Successful content needs to be personal, relevant, and informative to engage your audience. Compare metrics like open rates or responses for different emails based on their subject lines. Do shorter subjects increase engagement?

It’s also important to understand content engagement beyond subject lines and click-through rates. In fact, only ¼ of responders engage with campaigns by using a click-through link. Subscribers may choose to interact with a campaign by visiting a social media page, calling a customer service number or even visiting a physical store. It’s critical that email marketers find ways to measure these alternative actions to track content performance.

3. Campaign Performance

Do your KPIs show a broader picture of your campaign performance? Tracking data is only as strong as the insights it can give to your overall campaign strategy. Understanding how your campaigns perform will ensure that your email campaign reporting is working for you through every step of the process.

“Metrics create a virtuous circle of performance improvement […but] can also be used in a way more akin to the tail wagging the dog! Deliverability, opens, and clicks are sometimes reported like desired outcomes in their own rights, rather than discrete points in a customer journey.”

– Guy Hanson, Deputy Chair of DMA Email Council, and VP of Customer Engagement at Validity

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Subscriber Activity

Subscriber engagement is the cornerstone of email marketing. As a marketing professional, it can be easy to assume that your team’s mailing lists consist of primarily active, engaged subscribers, but it’s critical to do your due diligence and explore potential weak points – for example, mistyped or inactive emails, or unengaged subscribers.

Inaccurate mailing list data can not only hurt your email campaign reporting and strategy but also damage your email deliverability. Your email deliverability is affected by your reputation score, which can be harmed by factors like bounce rates and inactive subscribers.

Below are two factors to consider when analyzing your email list health:

1. Monitor how new subscribers are acquired or maintained

Insight into your subscribers’ “health” will reveal both how well your campaign is doing and how well it could be doing. Is a portion of your mailing list inactive? If so, you can try to “reactivate” these subscribers through personalized content and offers. The greatest sign of email campaign success is interaction.

If that doesn’t work, it may be time to remove them from your list as they negatively affect your data and performance. Similarly, if your emails experience hard bounces where the contact is permanently undeliverable, it’s best to figure out if those contacts were mistyped or do not exist and remove, as needed.

Mailbox providers such as Gmail take note of low engagement rates and deliver your emails to junk or spam folders. These emails might then be technically marked as sent and delivered, but the chance your subscribers will actually read the emails is significantly decreased.

Focusing on active subscribers will increase your team’s productivity and help prioritize return on investment.

2. Track how subscribers are viewing your emails

As technology advances at a rapid pace, so do the devices and email clients that your campaigns will be viewed on. Understanding what devices and mailbox providers your subscribers are using to access your emails is key.

Learn what platforms your customers are using to optimize your content and design for a seamless user experience. If most users are accessing your emails on their mobile devices, learn how to best create content for iPhones or Androids.

It is important to note that recently more mail clients and mailbox providers are protecting privacy at the expense of tracking this type of data. For example, Apple’s plans to introduce Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) for its native Mail client users may require you to adjust how you review open rates and engagement.

Meanwhile, you should also adjust your strategy according to what email service providers your readers use. Not all inboxes will render your email content in the same way. If a large part of your audience uses Gmail, rather than Outlook, you may follow different design methods to best suit that inbox environment.

Set the foundation for analyzing your email programs’ performance.

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How to measure email marketing success

Email campaign reporting doesn’t just inform your marketing team when your strategy is successful — it also flags potential weak points that need to be improved.

Through email, your company can create direct relationships with customers that can benefit:

  • Sales
  • Client loyalty
  • ROI
  • Productivity

So how can you best use email marketing metrics to measure success? Read below to learn six steps to streamline your email marketing campaign strategy.

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Step 1: Understand everything you can measure in email marketing

Every email marketing campaign is unique. Before you begin to create or improve your strategy, you’ll need to recognize what metrics will work best to measure your effectiveness.

Do you know what data your team will need to pull and document for best practice campaign reporting? These are some of the key metrics you should keep your eye on:

  • Inbox Placement Rate
  • Clickthrough Rate
  • Conversion Rate
  • Bounce Rate
  • List Growth Rate
  • Email Sharing/Forwarding Rate
  • Overall ROI
  • Open Rate
  • Unsubscribe Rate
  • Complaint Rate
  • Microsoft Sender Reputation Data (SRD)

However, your campaign may require different tools to reach your campaign goals. Before you outline your next steps, take a step back and take inventory of what data you need and how you can track it.

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Step 2: Set up goals

What is the ultimate purpose of your email marketing campaign? For most marketing campaigns the primary objective is to deliver sales. But what other goals does your campaign want to prioritize? Does your marketing campaign build brand awareness or generate new leads? A common rookie mistake is to track every possible metric without understanding how the data corresponds with your goals.

When building your strategy, start by identifying what the purpose of your campaign is. What do you want to achieve?

Based on your answer — or answers — you can choose which email campaign reporting metrics will best show you how you measure up and where you can improve.

Accurate and campaign-relevant metrics will help your team transform your goals into results.

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Step 3: Define KPIs

Key performance indicators measure the different interactions and data information of your email campaigns. These metrics can be broad and show who is opening your emails or what your delivery rate is. However, this information doesn’t necessarily show the success or weak points of your campaign.

To optimize your campaign strategy, it’s best practice to use KPIs to establish trends within your audience and evolve as you learn more. Helpful metrics such as unsubscribe rates and click-through rates will help you highlight what changes need to be made.

Once you narrow down which KPIs are imperative to your strategy, your team can start tracking your campaign’s progress.

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Step 4: Track Metrics

So now that you’ve determined what metrics your team needs, how do you get those actionable marketing insights?

With Everest, Validity’s fully integrated email success platform, your business can uncover in-depth engagement analytics to increase message visibility and performance. Our platform provides:

  • Inbox placement insights that tell you if your message went to the inbox, the spam folder, or went missing;
  • Sender reputation monitoring to keep an eye on the signals that impact your reputation and deliverability;
  • Data that shows the time of day your emails are opened, what devices they are opened on, and how long people are looking at them; and
  • An activity chart that allows you to quickly see short-term trends, long-term trends, and metric outliers over the past 30 days.

With our solution, you’ll get actionable insights to identify problem areas, prioritize goals and evolve your email campaign reporting to achieve your goals. Learn more about Everest here.

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Step 5: Evaluate your metrics

After you’ve sent out your campaigns and collected your chosen KPIs, it’s time to assess what the numbers mean. For example, if you have a low delivery rate, you’ll want to figure out what’s causing your emails to bounce.

Ideally, your metrics will show you where to change your strategy to improve and what areas are succeeding with your audience. If a specific email campaign results in more engagement from subscribers, note what choices you made that you want to reapply to future campaigns.

With a database of metrics for each campaign your business runs, your team can follow engagement trends to create their own best practices.

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Step 6: Improve

You’ve followed all of the previous steps — now it’s time for your strategy to evolve.

It may feel tedious to report on your campaigns’ data insights, but the information collected can lead to unpredicted potential. Gather your insights and focus your team’s efforts on improvement. Your strategy is only as strong as its weakest point, so working on this is where you’ll find your greatest results.

After you’ve sent out your campaigns and collected your chosen KPIs, it’s time to assess what the numbers mean. For example, if you have a low delivery rate, you’ll want to figure out what’s causing your emails to bounce.

Ideally, your metrics will show you where to change your strategy to improve and what areas are succeeding with your audience. If a specific email campaign results in more engagement from subscribers, note what choices you made that you want to reapply to future campaigns.

With a database of metrics for each campaign your business runs, your team can follow engagement trends to create their own best practices.

Learn more about key metrics with Validity’s Guide to Email Marketing Metrics

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Email Marketing Metrics

Below, we detail several email marketing metrics your business should be monitoring to help with successful email campaign reporting:
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Delivery Rate

Your email campaign’s delivery rate tells you whether your emails were received by your subscribers’ mailbox provider and not returned as a hard or soft bounce. Below is a formula to calculate your delivery rate:

(Number of Emails Sent – Number of Bounces) / Total Number of Emails Sent

Just because you pressed “send” doesn’t mean that your email landed in the user’s inbox. To ensure your campaigns are effective, aim for a high delivery rate with low bounce rates.
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Inbox Placement Rate

Just because your mail was delivered, doesn’t mean it landed in the user’s inbox. The inbox placement rate shows you the rate of emails that were delivered to the inbox — instead of the spam or junk folder. Below is a formula to calculate your inbox placement rate:

Number of Emails Delivered to the Inbox / Total Number of Emails Sent

Your inbox placement rate will help you understand how and if your email campaigns are actually reaching your subscribers.
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Bounce Rate

An email can bounce for a variety of reasons, including inaccurate email addresses or a low sender reputation score.

In contrast to the delivery rate, the bounce rate is the percentage of your total emails sent that was not successfully delivered. Below is a formula to calculate your bounce rate:

(Number of Bounced Emails / Number of Emails Sent) * 100

There are two types of bounces to identify:

  • Soft bounces occur when there’s a temporary problem, like a full inbox or a user’s server is experiencing issues. This type of bounce can clear up over time, so feel free to attempt to resend your email messages to soft bounces at a later time.
  • Hard bounces are when emails are permanently undeliverable. This can happen due to an invalid, mistyped or even non-existent email address included in your subscriber list. These bounces can harm your sender reputation, so be sure to remove these emails from your list.
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Open Rate

Your open rate is an estimate of the number of users that open your emails. Most open rates are determined by whether the subscriber has enabled embedded images to load in the email. However, not all emails that are opened will be caught by this metric since many may not have opted to load the image, even if they do open it. Below is a formula to calculate your open rate:

(Total Opens / Total Delivered) * 100

Open rates can be helpful when used to comparatively measure unique strategy variables. By reporting the open estimates, you can compare last week’s email subject line success with this week’s option and tweak as you go along to improve content. This metric works best as a weekly ongoing report.
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Click-through Rate

The click-through rate is the percentage of subscribers who clicked on at least one link within your email. Below is a formula to calculate your click-through rate:

(Total Unique Clicks / Number of Delivered Emails) * 100

Generally used to determine the results of A/B tests, the click-through rate allows you to see what exactly engaged your reader and what content should be expanded upon to grow that number.

If your rate is low, don’t panic! Take a deep breath and compare it to the average click-through rate for your industry or business type. Make sure to use this percentage as a comparative metric to track your own benchmark for engagement growth.

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Conversion Rate

Your conversion rate is a direct measure of the success of your email campaign because it tracks a completed action desired by your team. Examples of tracked actions might include downloading an eBook, filling out a company form or purchasing a product. Below is a formula to calculate your conversion rate:

(Number of People Who Completed the Action / Number of Emails Delivered) * 100

Since your conversion rate is directly tied to your email’s call-to-action, it’s essential that you integrate your email platform and web analytics. This way you can report exactly how successful your campaigns are with tangible results.
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Unsubscribe Rate

The unsubscribe rate, similar to your open rate, gives an estimate of your email list’s health. It’s the percentage of users that choose to unsubscribe from your mailing list after opening an email.

However, many subscribers may choose to simply stop opening or clicking your emails instead of formally unsubscribing. Due to this, the unsubscribe rate isn’t the most accurate measurement of disengagement. You should still keep track of this metric at least monthly to help analyze your overall growth rate over time.

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Complaint rate

Your complaint rate will significantly impact whether your email is sent to a user’s inbox or straight to the dreaded spam folder. The complaint rate shows how often your subscribers complain to mailbox providers about receiving your email by reporting it as spam or junk. Below is a formula to calculate your complaint rate:

Number of Complaints / Total Number of Emails Delivered to Inboxes

Take steps to keep your complaint rate as low as possible. Practice permission-based email marketing and avoid purchased lists. Be clear about your identity, and include a link to unsubscribe. Be mindful of how frequently you send emails, and keep your content relevant to your subscribers. If the complaint rate is high, your email will not be delivered to any inboxes.
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Sender Reputation

Your sender reputation will ultimately determine whether your email campaigns get delivered to subscribers. Every mailbox provider has its own algorithm to determine sender reputation that factors in both domain and IP address reputations, even though they’re independent reputation signals.

Poor sender reputation can cause your email campaigns to end up in the spam folder or — in the worst-case scenario — put you on a blocklist.

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The Value of Email Campaign Reporting

As your email marketing team strategizes the next steps, it’s critical that your team tracks and highlights measurable insights. Without the proper email metrics, marketers are unable to quantifiably show how their campaign results align — positively or negatively — with projected goals.

Validity’s email campaign reporting solutions will help you realize your marketing objectives.

Contact us today to schedule a free demonstration and see how Validity can improve your email open rates and encourage audience engagement.

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