Email analytics: email marketing and statistics for beginners

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14, May 2020

What is the most interesting part of email marketing? Email analytics is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. Yet statistics are very important if you want to make a successful start with email marketing. After all, only through insight into your email statistics will you find out whether your marketing activities are paying off or not. It can also give a hint about what you need to change if it turns out your email marketing does not result in the desired ROI.

What do you need to keep in mind when looking at your email analytics? What can you learn from the various types of data? Ultimately, email statistics are not as difficult to understand as you may think, as long as you know where to look.

In this blog post we will look at the various types of analytics you can find in Webpower. For the sake of convenience, we have divided these into two categories: your email reputation and the ROI of your email marketing.

Email reputation: an important part of your email analytics

When you send email messages to your prospects, customers or other business contacts, you want them to actually reach their inbox. However, in practice this isn’t always so straightforward. Even though the amount of unsolicited bulk emails in the world has fortunately been going down for a number of years, global statistics have shown that in 2019 still more than half of the number of emails sent comprised spam.

It is therefore not very surprising that receiving email providers such as Gmail and Hotmail take a critical approach to the emails they receive. And that applies especially to emails that you send in bulk. Email providers look at your sending or email reputation to determine whether they put your email in a user’s inbox or in their spam folder (or worse: whether they stop your message in an earlier phase at the digital gate).

In order to determine your email reputation, email providers look at various things. By monitoring your email analytics, you can avoid giving off unintended signals that make your emails appear as spam. For example, look at:

  • Hard bounce rates. If an email cannot be delivered to the recipient, for example because the email address is incorrect or no longer exists, then this will result in a hard bounce.
    Of course, hard bounces can always happen, but a hard bounce rate of 1 percent or higher does point to a poorly maintained mailing list. And so this can be damaging to your email reputation. For that reason, keep a close watch on email analytics. Incidentally, Webpower automatically removes email addresses from your mailing list if they result in hard bounces.
  • Spam complaints. Your email analytics show you how many people have reported your email mailings as spam. If this happens occasionally, it’s not a disaster. However, spam complaints don’t do your email reputation any good, especially if this happens more often.
    Therefore, keep an eye on your spam analytics and ensure that complaints are turned into deregistrations. If you continue to have a high spam percentage despite these measures, you probably have a questionable mailing list.
  • Inactive recipients. Open rates can affect your email reputation. After all, if your recipients never open your emails, this indicates that the mails are not relevant. It is interesting to know that according to the national benchmark of the DDMA (Dutch link), the average open rate in the Netherlands in 2019 was 39.3%. For emails that were sent using Webpower, this rate was 40.95%.
    If you want to increase your open rates, the best way is to send relevant and interesting content. In addition, make use of your analytics to see which recipients didn’t open your emails several times in a row, and consider unsubscribing that group.
  • Inbox placement.  Webpower offers the possibility of carrying out random checks, allowing you to see whether your emails were delivered to the inbox or ended up in the spam folder. These are, of course, interesting email analytics and a good indication of your email reputation, and your deliverability in general.email analytics
    In Webpower you can carry out random checks. In your email analytics report you can then see whether your emails are delivered to the inbox or the spam folder.

Webpower has a team of deliverability specialists. They ensure that the underlying technology of our solution is set up for an optimal deliverability. We can also help you by examining your database and email reputation to see what you can do to increase your deliverability.

ROI of your email marketing

How effective is your email marketing, or rather: what is the ROI (return on investment) of your email marketing? Analytics are the only way of finding out. By looking at the right statistics you can, for example, discover whether your recipients find your emails interesting. You can also see whether they behave in a way you had envisaged or if they proceed to purchase a particular product. In order to determine the success of your email marketing, you could look at the following email analytics:

  • Open rates. In addition to the effect on your sending reputation, open rates naturally also say something about the effectiveness of your email marketing. Good to bear in mind: In order to register an open, Webpower places a unique pixel in every email. Whenever an email client loads that pixel, Webpower registers an open. This provides insight into the number of unique opens (whereby a recipient who opens an email several times counts as one open) and the total number of opens. 
  • Renders.  The use of pixels is a commonly used and effective way of registering opens. However, the method is not completely watertight. Some email programs ask their users per opened email whether they want to download the images. If a user chooses not to do this, then the program doesn’t load the pixel either. As a result, the platform does not register open.
    With Webpower we have therefore included an additional statistic in our email analytics: renders. Webpower registers a render when the program loads a pixel, or when someone clicks on a link in an email. Or both, of course. Here we distinguish between unique renders and the total number of renders too.
  • Clicks. The number of clicks is an indication of the success rate of your emails, especially when they contain a call-to-action. In addition to unique clicks and the total number of clicks, Webpower also gives you an insight into your click-through rate (CTR, the percentage of the total number of recipients that clicked on a link) and the click-to-open rate (CTO, the percentage of unique clicks divided by the number of unique renders). 
  • Conversion. When it comes to measuring the ROI of your email marketing, this is perhaps the most important aspect of your analytics. With Webpower you can use tracking pixels. These allow you to measure how recipients who click through behave on your website per sent email. Thanks to a link with Google Analytics, you can even see to what extent your mailings contributed to the conversion targets you have achieved.

Of course, what conversion means to you depends on your personal objectives. Do you send a mailing mainly to collect sales qualified leads? Then you could set that your conversion target is reached the moment someone requests a demo. On the other hand, if you have a webshop and mailings are mainly used to contribute to higher turnover directly, it makes more sense to set an actual sale as a conversion target.

email analytics

Example of a statistics page in Webpower. What we notice here in particular is that only a few recipients have clicked through after opening the email. Whether this is a bad sign depends on the objective of the email. If the intention is to  encourage website visitors to make a purchase, then this is probably a disappointing result. However, if this email is purely for the recipients’ information without a call-to-action, then you can expect very few clicks.

Email analytics and the GDPR

Email marketing analytics can provide highly valuable insights. However, it is good to bear in mind that you are not permitted to store your recipients’ statistics. The GDPR states that people need to give specific permission for this. Therefore, write clearly in your privacy statement what sort of analytics you collect about your target group and how. Don’t forget that your existing opt-ins also need to be aware of this.

 

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