11 Email Marketing KPIs to Live By

11 Email Marketing KPIs to Live By

Email marketing is an especially effective marketing channel because you can customize your emails based on your customer persona.

There are a lot of articles available online and experts available to tell you how to write a sales email, a marketing email, a promotional email, or a newsletter, and which tool to use to send these emails.

But as a marketer, is it just about sending the emails? Optimizing the subject lines? Making it mobile responsive? Is that all you need?

In an age where data-driven marketing is more important than ever, you need to know what data to track for your emails. Measuring the performance of your campaigns is key to your success.

Why Are These Email Metrics Important For Marketing?

For every email marketing campaign, there is a goal to be achieved. You set up your campaigns based on your goals — to know if you achieved your goals or not, you need to know which metrics to measure. Measuring the right metrics helps you identify any areas for improvement in your campaigns so that your future campaigns will perform even better than your current ones.

There are plenty of metrics to track around your email campaigns. Tracking the right KPIs will give you better strategies and a better understanding of the customer persona.

In this guide, I’ll share the 11 most important email marketing metrics to measure. Some of these metrics have to be tracked daily, some weekly, and some will depend on your campaigns.

Here are 11 important email marketing metrics that every marketer should measure:

  1. Open rate
  2. Click-through rate (CTR)
  3. Bounce rate
  4. Unsubscribe rate
  5. List growth rate
  6. Spam score
  7. Forwarding rate
  8. Engagement over time
  9. Device open rate
  10. Conversion rate
  11. Overall ROI

1. Open Rate

This is the first metric you want to track and the first level of engagement with the customer. As the name suggests, this metric tells you what percentage of your subscribers opened your email. Your subject lines are key to increasing your open rate.

The average open rate across different markets is 22.8%. Another important KPI to measure is total opens vs. unique opens. This will tell you how many users went back and opened your emails more than once.

2. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Your click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of users who click on the links in your emails. A high CTR suggests that your emails are relatively engaging. Having a call to action, an image, or a video relevant to your content can help increase your CTR.

Unique clicks vs. unique open rate shows you how many individual users clicked on the content in your emails vs. how many individual users opened your email. The average CTR is 3.5%.

3. Bounce Rate

This metric shows you the number of emails that are not delivered to your subscribers’ inboxes. There are two types of bounces:

  1. Soft bounces happen if the user’s inbox is full or their server has an issue.
  2. Hard bounces mean that the recipient’s email address is invalid

Monitoring your email list and removing the email addresses that bounce frequently can help you keep your bounce rate low. Bounces can negatively impact your email deliverability. Track your deliverability (delivery rate) to see how many emails reach the inbox of your users.

4. Unsubscribe Rate

The percentage of your users who unsubscribe from your email list is your unsubscribe rate. The average unsubscribe rate is 0.122%. It’s important to keep track of this metric on a regular basis.

If your unsubscribe rate is high, you might want to rethink who you’re sending emails to and the content of those emails. You should also track subscribers vs. unsubscribers, which tells you how your list growth compares to your unsubscribes.

5. List Growth Rate

Your list growth rate shows you how much your email list has grown over a certain period of time, like a year or a month.

To grow your email list, you can offer a downloadable ebook or offer promotions and discounts in exchange for subscribing.

Also keep track of your unengaged subscribers, the users who are on your list but never respond or even open your emails. Keeping them on your list can harm your delivery rates. When you track your list growth rate, remove unengaged users from your email list.

6. Spam Score

Every marketer should know their email spam score. Many tools are available to tell you your spam score based on the copy of your emails, the number of links, type of links, and trigger words. The higher your spam score, the more likely it is that your email lands in the spam folder.

Your spam rate or complaint rate tells you how many people have marked your emails as spam or junk. This happens mostly because your emails are not relevant to them or they feel that your emails are too sales-y. To reduce your spam rate, make it a habit to check the spam score of your content before you send an email.

7. Forwarding Rate

Your forwarding rate is also called the email sharing rate. This shows how many people forward your emails. When someone forwards your email, it means that you’re reaching a new audience. Try including a share button or social icons at the bottom of your emails to make it easy for people to share if they like the email.

You can also track how many users click on the share button or the social icons to share your emails. By tracking which emails get the most shares, you can figure out what content your audience finds the most engaging (and shareable).

8. Engagement Over Time

Your open time tells you when customers tend to open your emails. When you track that metric alongside your engagement rates tells you what time and day you should send your emails for maximum engagement. Most marketers don’t have this metric on their list to track.

To know what your customers expect from your emails (and when), tracking this metric is important. Every audience is different, so it’s important to know when your audience engages with your content — not a generic best send time.

9. Device Open Rate

If knowing how many people have opened your emails is important, it’s equally important to track which devices (mobile, tablet, or desktop) they’re opening your emails on. For example, if you see that most of your subscribers open email via mobile, you need to make sure that your emails are optimized for mobile.

You should also keep an eye on the email clients that your subscribers use and the open rate for each email client. Tracking this metric helps you design optimized email templates. Gmail tops the list as the email client with the most opens.

10. Conversion Rate

Marketers often confuse conversions with purchases. Every email campaign has an objective, like clicking through to read a blog, signing up, filling out a form, or buying an item. Your conversion rate is the percentage of people who receive your email and complete the objective of the campaign.

To boost your conversion rates, your email content and calls-to-action should be closely aligned to your objective. This metric shows how effective and successful your email campaigns are.

11. Overall ROI

The final important email marketing metric to track is your return on investment (ROI). Email may not require as much spend as social media or display ads, but every email campaign has some investment, like the tools you use to send email and maintain your email list and the time and resources you put into each campaign.

Your ROI tells you how cost-effective your email marketing campaigns are. This is more of a sales-driven metric and is only valid if your objective is to sell. Tracking this metric will help you see which campaigns are most effective, and how your email marketing ROI compares to other marketing channels. Email marketing often has the highest ROI compared to other mediums.

Ready to Improve All of Your Email Marketing Metrics?

Now that you know the metrics to track, the question still remains:

What should I write?

You don’t need to be a professional copywriter to write great emails, either. 

Trust us.

With these free email copywriting templates, you write emails that open hearts, minds… and wallets.



The lovely content team here at DigitalMarketer works hard to make sure you have the best blog posts to read. But some posts require a group effort, and we decided to stop the rock-paper-scissors tournaments that decided the byline so that we had more time to write. Besides, we all graduated from kindergarten: we can share.

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