Are you getting the most out of your email campaigns? In almost every organization, email marketing is one of the most effective tactics for driving sales. Anna Kennedy and Ken Yan, email marketing experts at, shared which email metrics will help you understand what drives your audience, gain the insights needed to grow your subscriber base, and convert more prospects.

Bounce Rate

The first step in any email marketing campaign is getting your message to the intended recipients, but first, a few hurdles need to be cleared. Bounce Rate measures how many emails couldn’t be delivered to your list. There are two types of bounce rates to track. A “hard bounce” occurs when the recipient’s email address is invalid; a “soft bounce” indicates a server issue. Neither is desirable. Too many hard bounces will make your account look like a spammer and you may be blacklisted by an ISP. The average bounce rate is 4% of the total number of emails sent. Once the rate hits 10%, ISPs will start blocking emails from that IP. If you see a large number of hard bouncebacks you can take the following actions to resolve the issue:

  • Locate the emails that generated the high number of bouncebacks and investigate the source of the list. Check your ESP’s bounceback report for insight into the specific reasons for the bouncebacks (bad addresses, invalid domains, DNS failures, etc.)

  • If the addresses were acquired organically via form submissions, consider using a Confirmed Opt-In process. With Confirmed Opt-In, an individual is required to enter an email address to access your site or content. Upon registering their email address, a verification email will be sent to the address provided. This way, new subscribers can only submit valid, active email addresses. 

Delivery Rate

The delivery rate is the percentage of emails that actually make it into your intended recipients’ inboxes. To calculate this, subtract the hard and soft bounces from the total number of emails sent, and then divide by the total number of emails sent. To increase your delivery rate, try the following:

  • Comply with the guidelines in the federal CAN-SPAM legislation. Most importantly, make sure that all requests for removal from your mailing lists are honored. The easiest way to get your message identified as spam is to send it to people who don't want it or to addresses that are defunct.
  • Minimize your bounce rate by scrubbing your database for invalid email addresses.

List Growth Rate

Your List Growth Rate indicates how fast your subscriber list is growing (or shrinking). By tracking your subscriber count and growth rate period over period, you’ll be able to identify trends that contributed to growth or churn. Here’s how you can boost subscriber acquisition:

  • Include an email sign up form on your website, blog, or Facebook page.

  • Rather than asking for name, address, company, and so on, keep it simple. Try limiting your form to one field: the email address.

Email Sharing

Email sharing refers to how often your email is forwarded or shared on social media. It’s a great indicator of relevant content, or influence beyond your current mailing list. A well-designed email will clearly display options for sharing without sidelining the featured content and CTAs (calls-to-action). To improve your email sharing, try these:

  • Include social sharing buttons at the top of your email. When the recipient clicks the share button, have the social post populated with interesting copy and a shortened link.

  • In some cases, including a forwarding text CTA or button may serve as an effective reminder to share.   

Click Through Rate (CTR)

Click through rate is calculated by unique clicks in your email divided by the total number of emails delivered. With any online marketing campaign, click through rate is a key indicator of compelling content. If your CTR is low, then your content isn’t resonating with your audience, or your CTA isn’t clear. Check these rules to make sure that you’re optimizing your emails for the highest CTR:

  • Optimize your email templates for mobile.

  • Recipients often only read the subject line or the first few lines of an email. Include your CTA early on in your email.

  • Some ESPs block images to protect users from spam. To be safe, stick to text CTAs or include both a text and visual CTA.

Conversion Rate

This is the metric that proves the value of your email marketing efforts. Did you entice an email subscriber to sign up for a trial? Did you turn a prospect into a customer through your email? The conversion rate measures the number of recipients that followed through on your CTA.

  • Include an offer that is valuable to your recipients.

  • Segment your list to better serve relevant content to specific individuals.

  • Master the five previous metrics.

To learn how to create a successful end-to-end email marketing strategy, download the free ebook below.