It Isn’t All About The Click-Through Rate – Email Metrics Explored

Email Marketing is one of the best forms of digital advertising.
Email Marketing is one of the best forms of digital advertising.

Many businesses think the only email marketing statistics they need to watch is their online sales. While this is an important outcome for businesses, it is not as useful as one would assume. For instance, are low sales because no-one read the email or because we didn’t communicate the message effectively enough?

This is why we need a number of other statistics, markers which tell us which area of our emails requires attention. Here is a list and description of each of those important metrics and what they can tell you about your marketing campaigns.

1. Open Rate

The open rate relates to the number of people who open your email and read the content. It can demonstrate how engaging and interesting your subject line is. It is important to realise however that this is not an accurate metric. If your message contains images and they aren’t downloaded by the recipient, then the message is not counted as an open. Therefore your open rate might be higher than you are led to believe.

If you want to increase the open rate then you can change a couple of aspects:

  • Email subject line.
  • The identity of the sender.

2. Click Through Rate

This is the number of people who have clicked on a link in the email. This should be a link to a landing page or a blog post on your site. This statistic is a critical one, though it can be a little deceptive, especially if you have a low open rate or if your software includes unsubscribers in the statistic.

There are many different elements which affect this statistic including:

  • The relevance of your copy to the rest of the email.
  • The strength of the call to action.
  • The image used.
  • How the email is designed.

The open rate and click-through rate are real industry standards. Many companies restrict their analysis to just these two statistics. Yet email marketing is not just about one single mail sent out – it is about the relationship you build up with your contacts.

A strong connection with your contacts will lead to your audience sharing your content more often and buying from your business more frequently. To understand how strong your connection is, you will need to know these following statistics.

3. Unsubscribe Rate

No matter how hard you try, there are going to be some people who unsubscribe from your mailing list. This statistic won’t help you achieve sales, but it can be supportive in determining if you are reaching out to the right audience.

So what can affect your unsubscribe rate?

  • The frequency of your emails being sent.
  • The email’s relevance to the customer’s needs.

4. List Growth Rate

This is the percentage at which your list grows (or shrinks) by over a given period of time. For this statistic the net effect of subscribers is divided by the number of subscribers you started with. It is possible to have a negative growth on this statistic, which shows that your content is not connecting well with your audience.

The influencers on the List Growth rate are:

  • The methods of obtaining new subscribers.
  • The content of your emails not aligning with your promise to subscribers.

5. The Click Through To Open Rate Statistic

This takes the number of those who click-through and divides it by the number who opened the email. This hybrid statistic is seldom used, but it can give an accurate portrayal at how engaged your audience is. A low open rate but a high click-through to open rate indicates your subject line or authorship needs improving while the email content is strong.

Likewise a high open rate but low click-through to open rate demonstrates you are catching their attention, but your copy is poor.

Monitoring your statistics is an important task if you want to improve your online marketing. By analysing the metrics you can discover what areas of your email campaigns need to be altered. Then you can make changes to deliver high quality content.


“Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /”