Click rate & opening rate – newsletter KPIs in e-mail marketing

The classic key performance indicators (KPIs) in e-mail marketing include the click rate, the opening rate, the delivery rate, the unsubscribe rate, and the bounce rate of a newsletter. However, there are a number of other newsletter KPIs that are used to analyze individual campaigns. You should be aware of these so you can measure and optimize your newsletter’s success. To be able to analyze a newsletter successfully, you need various data, which you can obtain quickly and easily using suitable newsletter software. We explain the most important indicators for e-mail marketing:

Data for determining KPIs in e-mail marketing

To analyze a newsletter campaign, you need different metrics, which you can then use to calculate KPIs. Here is some of the most essential information:

  • Amount distributed: the number of e-mails sent within a newsletter campaign. This amount indicates the number that have been sent out, but not necessarily whether they have actually arrived in the recipients’ inboxes or not.
  • Bounces: these are the e-mails that haven’t been delivered within a newsletter campaign. In this case, the mail server should send a bounce message to the sender to inform them that there was an error with the delivery. There are many reasons why an e-mail can’t be delivered. One explanation is that the recipient’s inbox is so full that there’s no space for your newsletter. Since this is usually only a temporary problem, this is referred to as a soft bounce since there might be enough capacity in the inbox when the next newsletter is sent out. However, if this e-mail address continues to generate bounce messages with different campaigns, it could be that this e-mail address doesn’t exist anymore. This is then known as a hard bounce and the e-mail address should be deleted from the newsletter address list.
  • Openings: the number of e-mails that are opened. The opening rate is detected by tracking technology used in newsletter campaigns.
  • Mobile openings: the number of emails opened on a mobile device, which has been detected by tracking.
  • Clicks: the number of times a link has been clicked on in a newsletter campaign.
  • Unsubscriptions: the number of people unsubscribing from a newsletter.

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The analysis of KPIs in newsletters

The above values are required so that the essential KPIs can be determined. We will show you some of the most important indicators for newsletters and how they can be calculated. We also explain the conclusions that can be drawn from the respective KPI values.

Delivery rate

The delivery rate refers to the percentage of e-mails that have landed in recipients’ inboxes. The rate should be relatively high (95% or more) – otherwise you should check the reasons for the weak delivery rate: it’s possible that you have several e-mail addresses in your list that don’t exist anymore. It could also be that the newsletter content has been marked as spam by the mail server and has therefore been blocked. There is a simple calculation to determine the percentage of successful e-mails:

(Shipping quantity - Bounces) / Shipping quantity * 100 = delivery rate(in %)

Bounce rate

The bounce rate is the opposite of the delivery rate. It reveals which portion of the newsletter e-mails hasn’t reached the recipients.

Bounces / Shipping quantity * 100 = Bounce Rate (in %)

Opening rate

The opening rate indicates how many recipients have actually opened the newsletter. If the opening rate is very low (the average value is usually only 15-30%), you should examine the subject line more clearly: you should briefly explain the contents of the newsletter.

Openings / (Shipping quantity - Bounces) * 100 = Openings rate(in %)

Mobile Rate

If your newsletter software can reveal whether or not the e-mails are opened on a smartphone or tablet, the opening rate can be further specified. If many subscribers open the e-mails on their mobile devices, you should make sure that your campaign is tailored to smaller screens so that the content can be displayed properly. Use the following formula to determine how many recipients have opened the newsletter on a mobile device.

Mobile openings/ Openings * 100 = Mobile Rate (in %)

Click-through rate (click rate in relation to the e-mails sent)

An e-mail marketing campaign usually includes at least one link and sometimes even several links, especially in e-commerce. Most of them are transactional: the link content should persuade the recipient to carry out a certain action (conversion), such as ordering a product or downloading something. The click through rate reveals whether the newsletters were clicked on by the recipients.

Clicks / (Shipping quantity- Bounces) * 100 = Click-Through-Rate (in %)

Click-to-open rate (click rate in relation to openings)

When it comes to the click-to-open rate, only opened newsletters are included in the calculation. The quota specifies the percentage of recipients that have clicked on the embedded links. If you aren’t satisfied with the click-through rate, it may be that you have placed too many links in the newsletter. Rather than adding lots of links choose to include fewer, but ones that are more meaningful. Finally in this respect, links should always be clearly identifiable.

Clicks / Openings * 100 = Click-to-Open-Rate (in %)

Unsubscribe rate

The unsubscribe rate is useful if you want to know how many subscribers have opted out of your newsletter. A common reason for recipients unsubscribing is that too many newsletters are being sent out, which can be annoying for obvious reasons. If you notice a lot of people opting out and you tend to send your newsletters in short intervals, you should try reducing the frequency at which you send them out. Redundant content is another reason why many people cancel their subscription.

Unsubscribes / (Shipping quantity - Bounces) * 100 = Unsubscribe rate (in %)

Social sharing rate (in relation to openings)

The social sharing rate can be determined by tracking the newsletter’s 'social shares' (sharing of content on social media). A satisfactory social sharing rate can only be achieved by offering SWYN (Share With Your Network) links in newsletters. Your content then reaches further beyond the publication in your recipients’ social media networks.

Social Sharings / Openings * 100 = Social Sharing Rate (in %)

Conversion rate

You should set a concrete goal for each campaign, revealing what you plan to achieve with it. The more detailed, the better. Many companies hope for more conversions with their marketing efforts. In email marketing, conversions refer to certain actions that the newsletter recipients carry out after being prompted to by the content i.e. buying or reserving a product or a service, downloading files, registering on a website, or clicking on an article on a website. The conversion rate can be obtained by linking an e-mail marketing program to Google Analytics. It expresses how many of the conversions are attributable to the newsletter campaign.

Conversions / Clicks * 100 = Conversion Rate (in %)

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