The Top 5 Email KPIs to Watch

Ready to talk email KPIs?

Think of your email marketing plan as a puzzle and each metric within as a piece of that puzzle. The more pieces you have, the clearer your picture of how your campaigns are performing will become.

Metrics make data actionable and meaningful. They help you gauge your audience and answer such questions as “Why don’t my leads convert?” or “Why did we see this drop in revenue from email?”

In the 1970s, it took months (!) for guys like David Ogilvy to get feedback on their campaigns. In 2022, reports are virtually instantaneous and you can course correct the second the numbers are in.

Different metrics for different goals

Jump into Klaviyo, GA, Wicked Reports, Shopify... there are countless KPIs at your fingertips. We’ll keep it simple though, and focus on a few. These are the first things you’ll find in your Klaviyo dashboard.

Open rate used to be one of the simplest and most commonly used email marketing metrics. That changed when Apple introduced Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) in 2021. Still, when used with caution, the open rate is a great indicator of your customer engagement. The higher it is, the better: it means your sending frequency and segmentation is ideal, and your customers are interested in your brand and products. (And your copywriter is on top of their game.) According to Klaviyo, 20% or higher is considered a solid open rate.

Low opens are alarming, though. It means your list is disengaged and your message isn't getting through -no matter how amazing your offer may be. To put it simply, low opens mean low revenue.

Worse, poor open rates can hurt your sender reputation, and inbox providers like Gmail will punish you by sending more of your emails to spam.

  • What to do? If you find your opens are consistently under 20%, start slicing down your list. Test towards actions like engagement - opens, clicks, and/or site visits in the last 180 days, 150 days, 120 days, and so on 'til you get an open you can brag to your friends about. ;)

Click rates are another a key performance indicator of your email marketing efforts.

Click rates will tell you how much your audience likes your content. This metric gives you insight into whether you need to improve your campaigns, ie. adjust your tone of voice, your CTAs text, colour, and placement. Ultimately, higher click rates lead to higher conversion and higher revenue.

Klaviyo considers 2.5% or higher a great click rate.

Click rates under 1%, on the other hand, may have a negative impact on deliverability. If your subscribers don’t click, inbox providers will come to the conclusion that they don’t care - and they might be right.

  • What to do? Try making your calls to action more visible - move them up, try different colours, etc. If the click rate in one region is materially different than what you see in another, consider that gmail specifically may be clipping your messages keeping the CTA outta site. Klaviyo has some great recommendations on what to do about that.

Let’s keep your emails in the inbox, shall we?

Hitting the inbox once is nice - but far from satisfactory. Deliverability is not a one-time process. Let’s take a quick look at the key deliverability metrics and see what they tell you.

Unsubscribing is your customers' way of saying thanks but no thanks. It’s actually kind (compared to marking your campaigns as spam). Consider it a self-cleaning process for your list (which is good). On the flip side, too many unsubscribes will alert both your ESP and the inbox providers.

  • What to do? Make sure your unsub link is visible, not confusing, and where a user would expect to find it (read: bottom of the email). Do not - repeat: do not - use tiny type in hard to read colours.

Bounces occur when an email cannot be delivered. It’s called a soft bounce if the failure was due to a temporary issue (ie. the recipient's inbox was full). A hard bounce means a permanent error: either the email address is invalid or inactive, or the user blocked your messages.

  • What to do? Keep an eye on bouncing emails. Klaviyo automatically suppresses hard bounces, and automatically suppresses soft bounces that don't deliver 7 times. 

Spam complaints probably don’t require much explanation; we all do our best to avoid getting into spam. It’s called junk for a reason. High bounce and spam rates are no joke: inbox providers are dead serious about taking measures to prevent abuse. Maintaining a clean, healthy list by removing inactive and unengaged subscribers is a priority.

Regular and meticulous list cleaning will also decrease your costs (incl. the carbon footprint of your emails), and improve segmentation. In short: your overall performance will benefit.

  • What to do? Monitor your spam rate closely. If and when things hit the 0.08-0.15% range, you've got to start tightening things up as that's considered the danger zone. Anything over 0.15% is considered critical and will have a major deliverability impact in due course.  

TL;DR: Monitoring metrics is vital for marketing success. The data provides valuable insights into what you can improve to achieve optimal results. Don't just assume your plan is working - focus on the metrics that matter and fine-tune your strategy accordingly. Optimal revenue awaits!

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