Understanding Your Email Marketing Reports

Published: 07-Nov-2022
Last Updated: 07-Nov-2022
Understanding Your Email Marketing Reports

If you're an email marketer, your favorite part of your job probably isn't analyzing email metrics in your campaign reports. Although, you might be slightly addicted to refreshing your latest email marketing campaigns report to see the number of opens and clicks.

That being said, email campaign reports are critically important to improving your email performance. Understanding these metrics and how to act on them is how great marketers separate themselves from the pack. 

Email Marketing Metrics You Need to Know

Understanding the marketing metrics in your campaign report is the first step to being a data-driven email marketer. In addition to understanding each metric, you need to know the average rate for your industry. Knowing your industry average provides your team with a benchmark for your email marketing. This knowledge will allow you to evaluate the success of your campaign and how to improve your email marketing strategy. 

Bounce Rate

Balls bounce down stairs.

Average Bounce Rate - 9.94%

Average Hard Bounce Rate - 0.40%

Average Soft Bounce Rate - 0.58%

Bounce rate is the percentage of email messages in a particular campaign that were rejected by recipient email servers. If a recipient server rejects your message, it fails to reach your subscriber's inbox. Bounce rate accounts for both types of bounces (soft bounce and hard bounce). 

Some email marketing tools track hard bounce rate and soft bounce rate separately. If this is the case, pay special attention to your hard bounce rate. Hard bounce rates are a permanent deliverability issue with a particular email address. 

It's important to keep track of this metric because it affects sender reputation and email deliverability. You should avoid sending to email addresses that routinely bounce. If you identify these bad email addresses, attempt to correct them; however, if you can't find a clear error, remove them from your list. 

Open Rate

User scans email inbox choosing which one to open.

Average Open Rate - 21.33% - 25.39%

Open rate, probably the simplest email marketing metric, is the percentage of recipients who receive and open your email campaign. The usefulness of this metric is often debated, but we think it's important to know how your open rate compares with the industry average.

If your organization's open rate is below the average and decreasing, you probably need to reevaluate your email program. A low open rate is a signal that your email subscribers are losing interest in your marketing emails. If this sounds like your organization, we suggest evaluating the value of your content,  email segmentation methods, and A/B testing your subject lines/preview text. 

Click-Through Rates (CTR)

Woman clicks mouse to open email.

Average Click-Through Rate - 1.25% - 2.62%

CTR is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on a link(s) included in your email campaign. CTR tells you whether or not your email subscribers are engaging with your content.

Getting clicks is one of the most important goals for an email campaign. Clicks aren't direct revenue drivers, but in a well-designed marketing strategy clicking moves subscribers towards making a purchase. Clicking might mean that the user is going to read your blog post, visit your product page, or schedule a demo.  

Spam Complaint Rate 

Spam written in red.

Average Spam Complaint Rate - less than 0.02% - 0.1% 

Spam complaint rate is the ratio of email messages that were marked as spam to those that were not. This metric is important to track because if your spam rate exceeds industry standards it will affect your ability to send future emails. 

There's little leeway with spam complaints because it is a strong signal to email service providers that your email was low quality. CampaignMonitor sends a warning to their users who send an email with a spam complaint rate above 0.2% and suspend accounts that send an email that exceeds 0.5%

Engagement by Time and Day

Notepad and tablet with calendar open.
a tablet with an open calendar for 2021 year, a red alarm clock, chestnuts and a craft paper notebook on a wooden boards table background

Engagement by time and day tracks when your subscribers are engaging with your emails. This metric will provide your team with valuable insight on when you're likely to have the most engagement from subscribers. 

This metric will look different from tool to tool, but most will have a way for you to discover when your subscribers are most active and engaging with your emails. For example, ActiveCampaign tracks "Open/Read Trends". The Open/Read Trends in ActiveCampaign provides users with a breakdown of opens and reads by day of week and hour of the day. 

You're not the only marketer who has Googled the best time to send a marketing email. It's a common question (and an important one). We refuse to write a blog post on the best time to hit send because it varies for everyone. It varies by the time zone you operate in, the time zone where your customers live, industry, and many more factors. But that doesn't mean that you can't find the right time for your business to send emails. It just means that you need to draw conclusions from the actions of your own list of subscribers. 

Unsubscribe Rate

Woman waves goodbye.

Average Unsubscribe Rate - 0.1% - 0.26%

Unsubscribe rate measures the number of subscribers who no longer want to receive emails from your company. 

If your subscribers are leaving your email list at a rate above the average, it means they aren't getting value from your emails. A user unsubscribing isn't necessarily a bad thing; you don't want inactive subscribers on your email list, but you don't want a mass exodus either. If you see a concerning trend of unsubscribers, consider switching up your content. 

Wrap Up

If you're not basing your email strategy adjustments on data, you're guessing. Guessing leads to unpredictable email performance and sales. Studying your email marketing analytics will also help you identify and predict problems with your email marketing campaigns.

For example, if suddenly your marketing emails are receiving zero opens, you might have a deliverability issue. Noticing this issue allows your team to address the issue and prevent further damage to your email marketing efforts. The only way to notice is to monitor your email marketing reports.


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We've got plenty of articles that discuss many of the topics that we'll talk about over the phone!

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