The Best Methods For Digital Marketing Reporting: Email Reporting (Part 2)

email reporting

email reporting

The last time we discussed digital marketing reporting, it was all about content. While content is often difficult to report on because you have to build the metrics yourself, email reporting is quite the opposite. Unless you’re doing email marketing in a way that’s never been done before (or at least since the mid ‘90s), you have metrics at your fingertips. You can see the traditional stats like open rate, clicked-to-opened rate, unsubscribe rate, and all of the other wonderful data you can get your hands on.

But how do you do email reporting the right way? This blog post takes a look at what these metrics actually measure, which ones are in, which ones are out, and all of the measurements we can make outside of the comfort of our marketing automation platform.

Before you read on, brush up on exactly why data is important in marketing.

Traditional email reporting

While we’re going to explore beyond the four walls of your marketing automation platform in this article, those traditional metrics are important.

What are they again?

  • Percent delivered
    This tells you what percentage of your email send actually made it to an inbox.
  • Open rate
    The percentage of people who received your email and actually opened it.
  • Clickthrough rate
    The percentage of people who clicked a link in your email out of the group that
    received the email.
  • Clicked-to-opened ratio
    The percentage of people who clicked a link in your email out of the group that
    opened the email.
  • Unsubscribe rate
    The percentage of people who received your email and chose to unsubscribe.
  • Conversion rate
    The percentage of people who performed the desired action out of the group that received the email.

There’s nothing quite like a classic. But are all of them necessary?

Let’s review their worth

  • Percent delivered
    Your percent delivered metric informs the health of the list you’re sending to. If your percent delivered is under 90 percent, you have a problem with the health of your email list. You’re likely sending emails to contacts with out-of-date information if your percent delivered is low. Alternatively, you can look at your
    bounce rate to see if these are hard or soft bounces. A hard bounce refers to an email that doesn’t exist. In some cases, the email might have never existed while other times it means the contact changed companies and their old email is shut off. A soft bounce is an email that does exist but was not sent (usually due to their inbox being full). This remains an important statistic.
  • Open rate
    The open rate is the performance metric that lets you know how awful your subject line is. Let me rephrase this: Don’t ignore a low open rate. That’s bad news, and it’s time to start introducing new subject lines that will appeal more to your audience. This might mean fact-based subject lines, ones that include more fun, or cut-and-dry subject lines.
  • Clickthrough rate
    This is probably the metric most worth omitting from your reports. While clickthrough rate can be helpful to see the full picture, clicked-to-opened ratio makes more sense to report on since it takes into account opens.
  • Clicked-to-opened ratio
    Here is some great perspective on the content of your email. A low clicked-to-opened ratio might mean you didn’t deliver on your promise in the subject line. Or, maybe your call to action (CTA) just isn’t strong enough. Whatever the data is telling you, tweak and monitor. Move the CTA from the bottom to the top or add it in multiple places. When you see a high clicked-to-opened ratio, attempt to replicate the success either in format or tone across other emails. Or, maybe you need to test a different offer or even retitle your offer similar to the way you would retitle a subject line.
  • Unsubscribe rate
    If your unsubscribe rate holds steady week after week, it is likely fine to stop reporting on it. Generally you want to stay under 1.5 percent. But, if an email goes out with a high unsubscribe rate, check out the content. Was it racy? Boring? Riddled with typos? Did you send a finance-oriented email to your developer list? Figure out the answer quickly and make sure to atone with the next email.
  • Conversion rate
    Obviously, this one isn’t going anywhere.

Now that we’ve discussed why you need the basics, let’s investigate additional KPIs.

Social sharing and following

While it’s not usually the primary action you want someone to take when you send an email, you definitely want them to follow you on your social media profiles. Monitoring this specific type of link click allows you to better gauge interest and determine what type of messaging your audience cares most about.

After all, whether they’re taking the time to reshare your announcement on Twitter or they finally decide you’re worth the Facebook follow, the trigger behind that moment is important. Eventually, you might find a pattern in your emails that shows which offers your email list is absolutely in love with, and what they just don’t care about.

Time on page and heatmaps

If you’re sending someone to a blog, resource page, video, or other ungated content, you don’t want to stop measuring their activity after the click. Find out what they’re doing on the page. This is where time on page and heatmaps are incredibly helpful.


So what do they do once they get to your landing page? Do they submit a form, click to learn more, or go back to your homepage? You might also consider measuring scroll activity on longer pages and even recording sessions. This will allow you to see exactly where their cursor goes and their attention stops on what you deem high-value content.

Seeing how your audience actively engages with a page gives you the power to optimize with their actions in mind, and not just go on a hunch.

Also, review the heatmap with your email in mind. Are they gravitating toward or away from terms that you used in your email? This will tell you where their interest really lies and if you should introduce any tests or changes to your email campaigns.

Time on page

Yes, seeing their clicks, scrolls, or recording is awesome, but sometimes those interactions only last a few seconds. And then they’re gone. Comparing heatmaps to time on page tell you how successful you really are at engaging with your audience. A large number of clicks with a short time on the page might tell you your audience is bored by your content and looking for something else. Or maybe they’re frustrated because the large number of clicks you’re seeing are your audience clicking things they think are clickable, but actually aren’t.

Review your user experience using these metrics to get the most out of your email marketing.


This has to sound like the most vague metric ever, but it’s the most important. What influence has your email campaign had on engaged leads? How about leads with opportunities? Leads that are closed-won or leads that are closed-lost?

This type of reporting is more difficult to build out, but it’s important to look at, especially in ABM scenarios.

If you are sending leads emails, calling them, then remarketing to them on paid channels where they convert, you want to give your email nurture the credit it deserves for effectively nurturing that lead.

If you need more ideas for creative email reporting, then reach out. We’d love to talk about your unique programs and how we can help.

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