How to use email metrics to eliminate guesswork and unlock more growth and revenue

Email Marketing Metrics
12 min read
In this Article

When was the last time you got excited to analyze your email metrics?

Can’t quite remember? We understand. Email metrics aren’t exactly sexy.

But there’s no denying how powerful they are.

Metrics let you peek under the hood to see what’s really going on with your email marketing. They give you powerful insights into what your subscribers love, figure out what they want more of, and understand how to grow your business.

With ConvertKit’s ability to export subscriber graph data, you can access all the info you need in only a few clicks (and you don’t need to be a statistician to understand it, either!).

3 benefits of tracking and analyzing your email metrics

1. Provide content your subscribers love

Every time you send an email, subscribers tell you what they like—and dislike—through actions like opens and clicks.

Identifying patterns in your metrics helps you understand which types of content your audience likes best, so you can pack your emails with valuable content.

Food blogger Jessica Beacom uses her email analytics to plan seasonal content that will delight her subscribers:

We look and see how content performs over time and figure out what does well with historical data. For example, I look at last year’s emails we sent around Easter and see how it did before crafting this year’s email.

– Jessica Beacom

When you’re constantly churning out incredible content, people will look forward to your name popping into their inbox. They may even refer your newsletter to their friends or turn into paying customers.

2. Get more ideas for paid products

Digging into your analytics can also inspire product development. Gauge your audience’s interest in a particular topic by seeing which content garners the most opens and clicks.

For example, if you’re a Pinterest coach, you might notice that emails with tips for beginners get more action than advanced Pinterest tips. Knowing this, you could create a Pinterest course for beginners that your audience would love—and be more likely to buy.

3. Improve product launches

After each product launch, dig into your broadcast metrics to see what’s working and what’s not—no more guessing. Your email metrics will tell you things like:

  • Whether you're sending too many—or not enough—emails during your launch
  • Which email subject lines resonate with your audience
  • Which CTAs are more effective
  • Which days and times are the best time to send emails

6 ways to use your broadcast data to grow your biz

Before we jump into the different ways you can slice and dice your data, let’s first learn how to export your graph data.

Note: You need a Creator Pro account to view this data.

First, head to Subscribers under the Grow tab in your dashboard. Click Deliverability > Broadcasts.

Then, adjust the date range for the data you’d like to export. Wes Yeo, a Business Intelligence Manager at ConvertKit, and Aisha Anwer, a Data Analyst at ConvertKit, have two great tips when it comes to selecting your date range:

  1. If you want to get a general overview of subscriber growth over time and to identify patterns of growth or seasonality, then a longer date range would work best.
  2. If you want to see the performance or impact of a recently launched campaign, looking at the date range before, during, and after the campaign could help make decisions about future campaigns.

-Wes Yeo and Aisha Anwer

Then, click the export icon to export your data as a CSV file.

ConvertKit will email over your file, which looks something like this:

Let’s dive into each column and discover how to use the data above to inform your biz strategies.

1. Broadcast name

What is it: Your email’s subject line.

Your newsletter might be the best on the block, but if the subject line falls flat, your subscribers are unlikely to click and read what you have to say. In fact, 48% of consumers say an email’s subject line persuades them to open an email.

Since the subject line is closely related to open rates, it’s worth looking at the two in tandem.

To start, sort your open rate column from highest to lowest.

Compare subject lines with the largest open rates against the lowest. Try to spot patterns like:

  • Do emojis yield more opens?
  • Are shorter subject lines better than longer ones?
  • Do questions get more opens than statements?
  • Do subject lines with numbers or stats result in more opens?
  • Which type of content gets more opens? For example, informational newsletters versus promotional ones.
  • Do people prefer sentence case over title case?

After narrowing down which subject lines result in high open rates—and why—create a hypothesis. If writing a hypothesis is giving you flashbacks to high school science, don’t stress! Follow our simple formula:

I think that [what you’re testing] will increase open rates.

For example, “I think that adding stats into my subject line will increase open rates.” Then, use ConvertKit’s A/B subject line tester to test your hypothesis.

Check which subject line wins by looking for the “winner” badge in your broadcast report.

2. Send date of broadcast

What is it: The date you sent your broadcast.

The send date unlocks two important pieces of information:

  1. The best day to send your emails
  2. If your sending frequency is adequate

Best day to send your emails

You want as many eyeballs on your emails as possible. With the send date column, you can easily pinpoint the best day to send your emails, so they land in your subscribers’ inbox during a time when they’re online.

To make your CSV data easiest to digest, turn the date column into days of the week. To start, copy and paste the send_date column into a brand new column.

Highlight the column you just pasted, right click, and select Format Cells. Go to Custom and input “ddd” into the Type: box and click OK.

Now your column reflects the days of the week for each date. (If these instructions didn’t work for you, try another one of these methods.)

Next, compare your open rates against the days of the week to see if any particular days yield higher open rates. Keep in mind that other factors—like your subject line and send time—also affect open rates.

If you’re on a schedule where you send your newsletter out on the same day each week, your data won’t differ. Consider sending some newsletters on different days and revisiting your data in a few months to see how the change impacts your open rates. You might find an even better day through experimentation!

Pro Tip: Sort your Google Analytics traffic by the days of the week to see which days your audience is the most active online. Send your emails on this day to see if open rates increase.

Broadcast frequency

The date column also helps you judge whether you’re sending emails too frequently or infrequently, particularly during product launches.

If you notice a sharp decline in open rates during a product launch, it’s safe to say you’re overwhelming your audience and could be sending out too many emails. On the other hand, if open rates remain high throughout your launch, you’ve likely found the sweet spot!

3. Send time of broadcast

What is it: The time you sent your broadcast.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever Googled “when is the best time to send my newsletter?

We all have.

And while there’s plenty of great research that can point you in the right direction, ultimately, your audience is unique, and what works for the masses may not work for you.

Here’s where your broadcast data comes in handy.

Look at the time you sent your emails and compare it to the open rates. With enough data, you’ll notice patterns. Do mornings get more opens than evenings? Or do afternoons work best for you? Jot down which times correlate to the highest open rates and test sending out future newsletters during these times.

A couple of other things to keep in mind:

  • Your newsletter’s context. Although the general rule of thumb says mornings are best to send emails, if you’re sending guided meditations to help with sleep, it makes sense to send your emails in the evenings.
  • Your audience. Where does the majority of your audience live? Filter subscribers based on their location to see who lives where. Schedule your emails based on timezones with the largest percentage of subscribers.

4. Number of recipients

What is it: The number of people you sent your broadcast to.

The number of recipients can help you understand your list in three ways.

1. Make sure your list is growing at a healthy pace

“Healthy” is subjective, but as you review your analytics at regular intervals, you’ll get a feel for what “normal growth” looks like for you.

For reference, the average opt-in rate is 2%. If your list is growing slower, try making new opt-ins, revamping existing opt-in forms, and building more enticing landing pages.

2. Spot any major fluctuations

If you have a large drop in recipients, try to understand why people unsubscribed around that time. Alternatively, if you gain a bunch of new faces, look to see where they came from and how you can replicate that growth in the future.

3. Identify issues

Although it might look scary to see a drastic drop in recipients, it usually means you segmented your list incorrectly when sending your broadcast. If this happens, check into individual broadcasts to see what went wrong.

And to give yourself peace of mind, back up your subscribers regularly. This way, you can restore your subscribers if (knock on wood) you accidentally delete them.

5. Number of opens and open rate

What is it: The number of people who opened your email expressed as an integer and a percentage.

We’ve already mentioned how your open rate relates to your subject line, the day and time you send your email, and the frequency you send broadcasts.

But open rates can also signal deliverability issues if:

  • You constantly have low open rates despite improving and testing subject lines
  • Your open rates drop suddenly
  • Your subscribers tell you that your emails go to their spam folders

Deliverability issues can arise when your subscribers become unengaged, when they mark you as spam, or when you send too many—or not enough—emails.

If open rates are stagnant or dropping, it’s time to perform a deliverability audit. During your audit:

After completing your audit, monitor your open rates to see if they improve.

6. Number of clicks, click rate, and click-to-open-rate

What is it: The number of subscribers who opened your email and clicked a link. Click rate is expressed as a percentage of clicks to recipients, and click-to-open rate is expressed as a percentage of clicks to opens.

If lots of people are opening your emails, it means they’re interested in learning more about what you’re promising in the subject line. But if those people aren’t clicking the links in your emails, your subject lines may be misleading.

For example, let’s say you send out an email with the subject line “Quick tips to beat the 2pm slump” and you link to a blog article that teaches people how to adjust their lifestyle and diet so they have more energy throughout the day.

Sounds good, right?

But an audience might find it clickbait-y; the subject line says “quick tips”, however, the email is about diet and lifestyle adjustments, which are anything but quick.

Analyze your subject lines from a neutral perspective and ask yourself whether they’re as accurate as possible.

If your subject lines are accurate—yet your clicks are still low—confusing or weak CTAs may be the culprit. Try:

  • Different CTA colors. Different colors have different meanings. For example, blue conveys trust, whereas red conveys urgency.
  • Increasing the font size of your CTAs, so they stand out.
  • Spicing up your CTA language. Remove boring CTAs like “click here” to something more specific.

Time to create a data-informed marketing strategy

Without data, creating broadcasts and email campaigns feels like throwing spaghetti against a wall to see what sticks.

But when you can actually see which emails people open and how often they click, you’ll know how to keep subscribers engaged for months—and years—to come.

You don’t need to spend hours pouring over your data to create a data-informed marketing strategy. Try out a Creator Pro account and see how easy it is to get useful insights from your email marketing!

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Dana Nicole

Dana is a freelance writer who works closely with B2B SaaS brands to create content people enjoy reading. When she’s not working, you’ll find her sipping on a warm cup of tea and reading a good book (the scarier, the better). See what she’s up to at www.dananicoledesigns.com

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