Evaluating email campaign reports

How to increase your clicks by 43%” OR “How to increase your clicks” …which headline sounds better? For most people, it’s the former: numbers grab our attention, ooze credibility, and have an almost magical power over us.

Your email campaign report is a wonderful source of numbers, but those stats need careful handling. As we showed in a past post, for example, standard delivery rates don’t tell you how many emails *actually* reached the inbox. Here are four more things to consider when evaluating your campaign reports:

1: Benchmarks

Open rates are often used to measure the success or failure of a campaign. Is your goal, however, to maximize opens? More likely you want clicks, sales, downloads, or donations. Wait… don’t those more important numbers reflect the open rate anyway? More opens means more clicks and more sales! Not always, unfortunately. In subject line comparisons, for example, we often find the one that produces the highest open rate isn’t the one that produces the highest click rate. Be sure to look at the numbers that most closely align with your goals.

2: Well-Timed Analysis

The focus on open rates may lead marketers to judge a campaign too early. Most opens occur very quickly, but subsequent actions (particularly sales) may take place later. If you only evaluate a campaign 18 hours after you sent it out, you’ll capture 75% of opens, but a lower percentage of the sales generated by that email.

Look at past emails and reports and see what time frame makes sense to fully gauge the outcome of your campaign.

3: Hidden KPI

Email campaign reports measure responses associated with the email itself, like opens, clicks, and subsequent website actions (like a sale) that result from those clicks. They don’t measure all the ways people respond to an email, though.

For example, your message might make it more likely that the subscriber drops into your physical store, or even your website the next time they’re shopping. These kind of “indirect” responses can see a jump in sales from subscribers who never opened or clicked on the email.

You can get a feeling for this hidden figure by looking at how search engine traffic, website traffic, sales, and similar numbers change in the immediate aftermath of an email campaign. Or you can set up holdout groups, a clever measurement approach that’s explained here.

4: Absolute Numbers

Rates are a super way of comparing results between campaigns, but use both rates and absolute numbers when evaluating campaigns.

For example, if you move from two mails a month to four, you may see a drop in click rate for each campaign, say from 8% to 6% (ouch!). But the total number of clicks you get each month actually goes up 50% (yay!), because you’re sending more emails in total.

Do you have any other tips for us on how to evaluate and get more from your campaign reports? Reach out below!

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