Measure your emails with these 6 performance indicators

In an era when knowing your customer is paramount, it’s essential to measure our marketing actions to analyze their behaviors towards our messages. To do this, knowledge of key performance indicators is required.
Alain Marceau
1 February 2019
6 min 20
kpi emailing

When we do email marketing, we start by testing all kinds of things, without necessarily knowing what will work. We always have a personal idea of what works and what does not, but how do we make sure that what we think is what our customers want?

In an era when knowing your customer is paramount, it becomes essential to measure our marketing actions to analyze their reactions and behavior towards our messages. Thus, it will be easier to know what they like to receive, what makes them click, and possibly to anticipate their desires. To do this, knowledge of key performance indicators is required.

So let’s review the various statistics you should watch in order to have a good idea of the performance of your emails and some tips to improve them.



The first measure to consider is deliverability. This data shows if your email was considered spam, and also the wrong addresses. These erroneous addresses are either misspelled or simply non-existent.

To counter this kind of address error, you can use the double opt-in technique. Basically, during the subscription, you ask your new contacts to confirm their email address by sending them a message to this effect. For non-existent addresses, you simply have to clean up your database and delete them.

However, another option more often used by us is to replace the validation of the email (mechanical step with no added value for the contact) by a welcome message. Thus, all new contacts receive the same message. This makes it possible to limit the error rate by concentrating them on a single type of communication.

To do this, it is obviously necessary to set up a consent center. The idea is to validate the error rate on this type of communication, without affecting the others. This is possible since the type of communication called “Welcome” will be managed separately, to validate the delivery rate with a dedicated IP address.


The opening rate

The open rate is the number of contacts that opened your email. The higher it is, the better! By analyzing the opening rate of your email campaigns, you will be able to evaluate whether your email objects are sufficiently catchy or, conversely, whether you need to work on them a little more.

A low open rate may also mean that your message has landed in the spam box, and therefore your contact has never received your email.

To solve a problem of opening rate, there is no secret: work your email subject. You can always read this article if you want help to improve your email objects. Next, pay attention to when and how often you send emails.

Indeed, if you send an email on Monday morning before office hours, your email will surely end up like other emails received on that morning; getting deleted. In general, from Tuesday to Thursday, it is better for emails destined for a business address.

Also, if you are sending on a day where it is very nice outside, it can also affect your opening rate. People are less tempted to look at their inbox if it’s nice than if it’s a rainy day.

If, on the other hand, your problem is that your message falls in the wrong mailbox, the solution would be to ask your recipients to add you in their contact list to appear as an authorized sender.


Click rate

The click rate is probably the best performance indicator to find out whether your campaign has worked well or not. Indeed, this rate indicates the number of emails sent which have attracted enough interest from the reader that he clicked on one of the links inside. So, not only did they open your email, but they read it and clicked on one of the links. At this point, you are very close to a conversion! And if these contacts have not performed the desired action, you may be only one email closer to change it.

On the other hand, the click rate depends on your deliverability and opening rate. That’s why, if you want to increase this rate, you will need to focus on these two elements in the first place.


Reactivity rate

The reactivity rate is what allows you to know the effectiveness of your email content. This is the click rate relative to your open rate. Therefore, it ignores the two elements that can influence click rate alone, as mentioned above.

It may be that your software does not automatically give you this rate, so here is how you can calculate it:


This is the formula to use if you want to test the effectiveness of your call-to-action. The higher the rate, the better. Indeed, if your readers opened your email, read it, but did not click… It’s an engagement problem that you have. Either your call-to-action is not convincing enough, or your email content is just not relevant.

To remedy this, ask yourself a few questions: Does my call-to-action encourage clicks? Does the button color stand out? Is my email design simple and clear enough?

If your call-to-action button is gray on black or your email design is confusing, it is clear that your contacts will not click on your links. Try to improve these elements first and foremost and then you will see. It may just be that your offer is not interesting or targeted enough. For example, if you send discounts on women’s lingerie to your male contacts, look no further, your problem is there!


Unsubscribe rate

It is normal when you start sending emails on a regular basis to have a certain number of unsubscriptions. In any case, you do not want contacts who don’t value your brand in your database.

On the other hand, if your unsubscribe rate does not stabilize after a certain number of emails, it means that the number of contacts not interested in your brand does not decrease. This surely reflects the way you obtain your contacts. Perhaps it is not clear enough for your contacts, when they leave their email address, that you will send them communications.

You should probably review your contact acquisition process to make sure that people who sign up agree to receive your communications. This will ensure that you only have interested contacts in your database.

It is also possible that a high unsubscribe rate is related to the sending frequency or the type of content sent. Just ask your contacts, when they subscribe, to choose how often they want to hear from you and what types of content they want to receive.

Also, suggest changing the frequency or their preferences in your unsubscribe form. This will save you unnecessary unsubscriptions. Of course, there are a number of people who will unsubscribe because they are simply not interested in receiving your content. But you cannot do anything for them.


The SPAM reporting rate

This performance indicator represents the number of people who reported your sender’s address as SPAM to their email provider. Basically, this figure means that your contacts have trouble finding a way to unsubscribe. This has an impact on your deliverability. The more this rate is high, the more your chances of ending up in SPAMs increases and this affects your open rate.

It would be better to highlight your unsubscribe link to prevent this from happening. You could also segment your list according to the commitment. Make targeted campaigns with the goal of re-engaging inactive contacts since X time. You can then completely erase the contacts that remain inactive after this campaign.



To conclude, these performance indicators are all useful and inform you about several different things. It is normal, at first, to feel disoriented given the large amount of data you have access to. What you need to remember is that all the advice given in this article allows you to position yourself in the eyes of spam filters. Once your reputation is well established, you will be able to focus only on the performance statistics of your emails.

I have prepared a summary sheet for you to find your way more easily.

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