Author: Meera  |  

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Out of boredom, I was teasing Alexa, “What is success?”

“Success is an abstract noun, courtesy OED,” she replied in her candid tone.

In disagreement and to solace my alter ego, I dialed this suave friend who had spent years at marketing board rooms and war rooms. Asked him the same question. “Success is tangible and measurable,” he retorted.

What does success look like to you?

As an email marketer, success means data to me. Data that allows me to constantly monitor and measure the email campaigns sent to engage or re-engage with my audience. It reflects the result of hard work, days and weeks spent to determine the right copy, images and the right time to send it.

These numbers set the path for my next campaign.

Well, data-driven marketing is nothing new, after all, we are in 2020. Yet what is new and rather confusing is which one should you measure, especially to gauge the success of an email campaign. Putting out some thoughts here based on collective experience.

Each email marketing campaign is unique. Few are sent to generate leads while a few to grow a subscriber base and a few more to re-engage with your subscribers. Depending on whichever layer you belong to, there are few basic metrics that every email marketer should track to monitor their campaign.  

  • Click to Open Rate (CTOR)
  • Click through Rate  (CTR)
  • Open Rate (OR) / Unique Open Rate (UOR)
  • Unsubscribe Rates
  • Conversion Rate (CR)

5 Email Marketing Metrics to track

Click to Open Rate (CTO or CTOR)

Click to open rates is the measure of who opened your email, and actually clicked on a link inside your email copy. It is generally calculated as follows:

For example, if your email receives 200 clicks and 250 opens, then your CTOR is 80%

Going by the market standards, a good CTOR ranges between 20% to 30%. However, this average might vary for the industry you operate in.

In general, CTOR gives you a larger picture of how your content is performing. It boils down to whether your subject line was relevant and email copy was resonating with the subscriber to actually click on it.


Apart from content, other factors like the quality of your email list, email address of the sender and the day/time you send the email also influence CTOR.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Click-Through Rate helps you determine how many people clicked on the links in your email. It gives you an overview of how well your email campaigns are performing. For example, if included a link to subscribe or redeem a coupon, CTR would measure what percentage of subscribers clicked on that link of yours.

Here is how a CTR is calculated:

Let’s say you’ve 100 clicks and 500 opens, then your CTR is 20%. The average click-through rate is about 2.5%. If your email does not contain links, then you should focus on the open rate or response rate. That is, how many people responded to your email.  

Remember, there are two types of click-through rates - total Click-Through rates (TCTR) or CTR and Unique Click-Through Rates (UCTR).  While the total click-through rate measures the number of clicks the link inside your email receives, unique click rates measure the number of unique clicks of the link inside your email copy.  

For example, if one of your subscribers clicks on your link, revisits the page in some time and clicks on it again then it is calculated as total CTR. Whereas the unique click rate is only 1 in this case. In short, a unique click rate is the number of unique individuals who have clicked on your link.  

Open Rate (OR) / Unique Open Rate

Simple as it sounds, email open rates denote the number of recipients who opened your email. Here’s how an email open rate is calculated.

This metric gives you the actual idea of what happened once your email reaches a mailbox, whether it performed what you intended for. While a high open-rate is a booster, a low open rate indicates that most of your emails are landing up in a junk folder.

Personalized content, segmenting your audience are few ways to boost your open rates. Here’s a brilliant piece on how to boost your open rates.

Similar to CTR, there are two types of open rates - Total Open Rates and Unique Open Rates (UOR). For example, if a subscriber opens your email more than once it's calculated as the total open rate, while the unique open rate is counted as only 1 here.

Unique open rates help you understand how effective your subject line is since subscribers tend to open your campaign after reading that. If you are looking for inspiration, here’s a compilation of top email subject lines to boost up your UOR.

Unsubscribe Rates

As the name suggests, it is the percentage of users who unsubscribed from your mailing list. These are the folks who had clicked on the unsubscribe button that you had included at the bottom of your emails.  

An unsubscribe rate is calculated as follows

The Unsubscribe rate is really helpful in understanding your audience. While it gives you the number of people who voluntarily opted out of your email list, it also gives you the picture of who stayed back and what they want.

In general, you are doing a good job if your unsubscribe rate hovers around 0.2% to 0.5%.

Conversion Rate

The conversion rate is a significant KPI. It helps you understand whether you have met the objective of your email campaigns. This could be anything depending on your business goals - from registering for an event or webinar to buying your products, subscribing to your email list and so on.  

Ultimately, conversion rates give you the idea of who clicked/ responded to your call to action items/links in the email copy. If this rate is good, you’ve achieved your business goal. Time for a party!!!

How is the Conversion Rate calculated?

It is generally calculated like this:

*people who clicked on your call to action or completed the goal you desired for

Well, there’s no universal figure for a good conversion rate as it depends on your business goals. Yet there’s a benchmark for various industries depending on their open and click-through rate.

How are you tracking your Email Marketing KPIs?

Tracking these metrics might look challenging, but if you have the right email marketing tool like SendX built with a powerful analytics engine, then it's a breeze.  

Email marketing is unique, the goals and objectives vary from one campaign to the other. I have managed to list here the most common yet significant metrics one should be tracking to determine the overall success of email marketing.

You must understand the objectives of your email campaign and measure its performance accordingly. As long as you do this efficiently, your email marketing is on track.