Measuring Overall Success

One of the central theories of email marketing is efficiency - you may have money to spend on your marketing efforts, but you certainly don't want to throw money to the wind. If you miss your target audience, send out an irrelevant message, or fail to connect with your subscribers when they read your message - your efforts fall flat and your return on investment is negatively affected.

  Methods of Measuring Email Marketing Success

The way that you measure the success of your email marketing campaign is critical. Tracking your campaign's performance in-depth can allow you to effectively examine the results of your email marketing and then further customize and optimize future email messages for the best response. Ideally, the key metrics for measuring your success include message deliverability and bounce, open, click through, forward and opt-out rates. Let's look at each of these metrics in greater detail.


If all messages that you sent out actually found their intended recipient that would be nothing short of a miracle. Unfortunately, it never happens like that! There are many issues that affect deliverability of your email messages, the biggest of which may be anti-spam programs in place by Internet service providers and webmail clients. Deliverability metrics give you a look into the percentage of emails that actually reach their destinations - and using this information will allow you to judge the effectiveness of your auto-responder and the effectiveness of the email's source (if you're using third party email services).

 Bounce Rates

One of the most important measurements of your email campaign's success if the bounce rate. The bounce rate of your campaign is an important indicator of the quality of your subscriber or email list because it tells you what percentage of recipients failed to receive your message due to being returned by the mail client or server. High bounce rates can put a real damper on your campaign because they lower your sender reputation and delivery rate. Using data about your bounce rate, you can determine whether the bounce was hard or soft and the best action to take to correct the problem - whether it is deleting the recipient from your email list or fixing a manual error in the entry of the email address.

 Open Rates

In email marketing, open rates are used to determine the number of subscribers or recipients who viewed or opened the email message being sent. Data on open rates can give important clues to the effectiveness of your subject lines in their ability to persuade the recipient to open the email. Open rates can be misleading, however, because they only acknowledge that the email message was opened, not that the recipient was engaged by the email, acted upon it, or even read it.

 Click-Through Rates

A click-through rate or CTR is calculated by dividing the number of recipients who click on a link by the number of times the link was sent out (in this case, by the number of emails sent). For example, if an email was sent out 1000 times and 10 recipients clicked on the link in the email, the click through rate would be one percent. CTR can be useful in determining the success of different links in different campaigns.

 Forward Rates

Although the forwarding rate for any email campaign is typically low, they often indicate a successful email marketing campaign, even with small numbers of forwards. Keep in mind that a 'forward to a friend' or 'tell a friend' link must be included in your emails in order to track forwards (simply hitting the forward button that is built into their email program is not tracked with most software).

 Opt-Out Rates

When subscribers opt-out of future mailings from you, this raises your opt-out rate. The opt-out rate of your email campaign can be an effective measure of the general overall campaign and whether or not your messages are appealing. High opt-out rates may also indicate that you are targeting the wrong group of subscribers.