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7 KPIs Every Email Marketer Should Track

Key KPIs for success

Despite questions over whether email is dead, the medium has consistently proven to be an effective marketing channel through its ability to drive traffic and conversions. A MarketingSherpa survey revealed that 60% of organizations believe email marketing produces an ROI.

Email marketers have a lot hanging in the balance and the holiday season marks the busiest time of year for many. As you wrap up the holiday season and plan how you’ll plow into 2015, here are a few key performance indicator (KPI) metrics you’ll want to keep track of to make sure you‘re successful in Q4 and beyond.

Delivery Rate (# Delivered ÷ # Sent) – Delivery rate tells you what percentage of the emails you sent did not bounce. This is an important metric to track over time in order to ensure the health of your subscriber base remains strong. A low delivery rate can hurt your sender reputation and lead to blacklisting.

Unique Open Rate (# Unique Opens ÷ # Deliveries) – Unique open rate simply indicates what portion of unique subscribers viewed your email of those that received it. This metric measures whether or not your subject line was enticing enough for the recipient to open and learn more. Unique open rate does not measure, however, if your content was relevant. Furthermore, tracking unique opens is also not always accurate1. Unique open rate can still be useful, for example, in benchmarking, testing subject lines, etc. 

Unique Click to Open Rate (# Unique Clicks ÷ # Unique Opens) – Unique click to open rate measures how many unique individuals clicked on your message, out of the people that viewed it. Many marketers will measure click through rate using the number of delivered messages as the denominator. However, pegging click throughs against total deliveries does not tell you how well creative, content, or offer influenced a subscriber click. Unique click to open rate can help paint a better picture of how your message is performing.

Conversion Rate (# Conversions ÷ # Deliveries or # Unique Clicks) – Conversion rate shows how many subscribers responded to and completed your call to action. A conversion does not necessarily have to be placing an order, but can include things like signing up for a newsletter or downloading a whitepaper. Typically conversion rate compares the number of conversions to the number of deliveries, but depending on the goals you’ve established and how you view your conversion funnel, you can also express conversion rate with number of unique clicks as the denominator.

Revenue and Number of Orders – Revenue and number of orders are usually expressed as a total dollar amount and raw number. If the goal of your email campaign is to generate a sale, measuring revenue and the number of orders is crucial to evaluating the success of your campaign. Tracking these metrics will help identify which campaigns are more effective than others.

Unsubscribe Rate (# Unsubscribes ÷ # Deliveries) – Unsubscribe rate lets you know the percentage of subscribers who unsubscribe from your email campaigns. A high unsubscribe rate indicates your message content isn’t relevant to your subscribers.  

Clicks to Social Media (# of clicks to Facebook, Twitter, etc.) – Marketers are increasingly trying to bridge the gap between the channels in which they communicate with consumers. If you include social media links in your email campaigns, consider tracking how the number of clicks to each of these links to unveil insight on which social media outlets your subscribers favor. From there, you can tailor content to better fit your subscribers’ preferences. It may also be helpful to express this metric as a rate, for example what percent of your clicks are social media links, for a different perspective.

Stay tuned for our next blog post, where we’ll discuss the importance of measuring the ROI of your email program!


1 An open is recorded by a tracking image that is embedded in the email itself and for security reasons, some ISPs automatically block images when you first open an e-mail. To ensure recipients can view your message, provide a link to view the full HTML version in a web browser.

Author Bio

Yazmin Harris

Yazmin is currently an Analyst in Social & Disruptive Marketing Strategies, focusing on bringing innovation to the ESP space. Prior to joining Yesmail, she worked as a consultant with RR Donnelley in their direct mail division where she gained valuable experience in critically assessing client objectives in order to deliver viable marketing solutions. Yazmin has a B.A. in Statistics and a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University.