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Email marketing is still one of the finest strategies for small businesses to develop enduring client relationships and spur expansion. Unfortunately, a lot of small businesses neglect email interaction data, which eventually hurts performance.

Monitoring engagement numbers is essential to figuring out what appeals to your target demographic. Every firm has shifting marketing objectives, but keeping an eye on a few key variables will enable you to create future email campaigns that are more successful.

This article discusses the value of tracking engagement data, explains the important metrics you should be tracking and how they're calculated, and provides a number of suggestions for how to enhance each measure to improve the performance of your email marketing campaigns.

The Importance of Tracking Email Engagement Metrics

Simply put, email engagement analytics show you how recipients are responding to your communications. Are your email subscribers opening them? Do they select the links? Do recipients even receive your emails in their inboxes? You run the risk of missing important chances to engage prospects if you don't have a clear view of how your emails are doing.


In essence, you learn more about your audience when you monitor engagement data. You'll learn the optimum delivery timings, understand the preferences of various audience segments, and be in a better position to build on what is successful. Additionally, you may prevent squandering time and resources on prospects that aren't actually interested in your company.


Monitoring the data also makes it possible for you to gauge your development over time. With a set of benchmarks to compare each email campaign's performance against, you'll be better equipped to decide how to improve outcomes moving forward.


Email Engagement: The Top Five Metrics to Track


As a general rule for small businesses using email marketing, here are the five most reliable and useful email engagement metrics to monitor closely:


1. Open Rate 

The percentage of receivers who open an email out of all the emails sent is the easiest way to define the open rate. The open rate would be 20%, for instance, if you sent 1,000 emails and 200 subscribers opened them. You should deduct the number of bounced emails from the total number of emails sent for a more precise evaluation. Keep in mind that the open rate is determined by unique opens; numerous opens from a single subscriber are not taken into account.


The effectiveness of your email subject lines, the interest level of your subscribers, and the applicability of your material to various target segments are all determined by the open rates. The average email open rate across all industries was 16.97%, citing statistics released in February 2022.


Tips to improve your email open rates:


  • Segment your contact list in order to send more relevant content to each group. 
  • Write shorter, more compelling subject lines. About 41 characters or seven words is ideal (2). 
  • Test different send times. Experiment with different days of the week and times of the day. 
  • Direct subscribers to an email preference center page, where they can choose which types of email they want and their preferred email frequency. 
  • Ensure your offers are compelling and competitive.

2. Bounce Rate


The percentage of emails sent that are not delivered to recipients is referred to as the bounce rate. It is determined by multiplying the number of emails sent by 100 and dividing the number of emails that bounced. Two distinct types of bounces exist:


  • Soft bounce. This refers to an email that couldn't be delivered due to potentially temporary issues. For example, the email was too large, the recipient's inbox was full, or the recipient's email server was down or offline.
  • Hard bounce. This refers to an email that couldn't be delivered due to potentially permanent issues. For example, the email address no longer exists, or the email address contains a typo.

A bounce rate of two percent or lower is generally accepted as a good value. By reducing your bounce rates, more of your emails will go where they need to.

Tips to reduce your email bounce rates:

  • Remove all of the email addresses that hard bounce from your list. 
  • Get subscribers to double opt into your list. This is when you ask users to confirm their subscription after they opt-in. (Note: This decreases bounce rate, but can also decrease the number of people who successfully subscribe.  This can be used successfully when implemented in the right situations and with the right process.)
  • Let subscribers choose the types of email they receive. 
  • Avoid sending emails that look like spam. 
  • Verify your email address through your email provider. (Implement SPF, DKIM, & DMARC)
  • Ask inactive subscribers if they still want to receive your emails. 
  • Don't send emails from a free platform such as Gmail or Yahoo. 
  • Regularly and consistently send emails to your subscribers.

3. Click-Through Rate

The percentage of people that clicked a link inside an email is calculated as the click-through rate. In essence, it is computed by multiplying the number of links clicked in emails by 100 and dividing the result by the number of emails delivered. For instance, if 1000 emails are delivered and a total of 80 clicks are made, the click-through rate would be 8%.

If subscribers are interested in your material and offers, it can be determined from the click-through rate. This indicator is crucial to monitor because it is also directly related to conversion rate.

The average email click-through rate across all industries, according to a recent study, is 2.69 percent. You're on the right track if your email click-through rate is at least this high.

Tips to improve your click-through rates:

  • Try using just one call to action per email. 
  • Improve your call-to-action buttons with more compelling copy and better design. 
  • Offer strong incentives to capture the attention of subscribers. 
  • Make sure your subject lines accurately reflect the email content. 
  • Send relevant content to the right people at the right time. 
  • A/B split test your emails.

4. Spam Rate

The proportion of delivered emails that are marked as spam by the recipient is known as the spam rate, also known as the spam report rate. It is computed by multiplying the number of users that tagged your email as spam by 100, then dividing that result by the total number of emails delivered. The spam rate, for instance, would be 0.3% if you sent 1,000 emails and three recipients marked them as spam.

A spam report rate of about 0.1 percent is considered acceptable. If your spam rate is higher than 0.1 percent, you should take a closer look at how you collect data and the content you're sending because a high spam rate might harm your sender's reputation and lower deliverability rates. High spam rates can be a sign of several potential problems, including:

  • Your leads don't find value in your email content. 
  • Subscribers are no longer interested in your brand. 
  • Your subject lines are misleading. 
  • You're using spam trigger words in subject lines.

Tips to improve your spam report rates:

  • Don't send promotional emails without getting permission first, even if a recipient is already your customer. 
  • Use double opt-ins from the outset. 
  • Avoid spam trigger words. 
  • Include your physical address in emails.
  • Include a clear unsubscribe link. 
  • Don't send too many emails. 
  • Ask subscribers to whitelist your emails. This means simply asking people to tell their email service providers that you're not spam.

5. Conversion Rate

The percentage of people who click on a link in an email and then perform a certain activity, such as applying a coupon code on your website, leaving a review, or downloading an eBook, is referred to as the conversion rate. It is computed by multiplying the result by 100 and dividing the number of receivers who successfully complete the desired action by the total number of emails delivered. The conversion rate, for instance, would be 4% if you sent 1,000 emails enticing people to buy anything from your sales page and 40 of those recipients made the transaction.

The type of business you run and your individual marketing objectives can influence your conversion goals, but measuring conversion rates will help you establish benchmarks for improvement.

A "good" conversion rate is often between two and five percent, though this varies by industry and email format. As an illustration, abandoned cart emails frequently have greater conversion rates. The best course of action is to continuously strive to increase your conversion rates using your existing rates as a baseline.

Tips to improve your email conversion rates:

•     Use more dynamic language in call-to-action links. 

•     Explain the benefits of taking action in the copy around a call to action. 

•     Include customer testimonials and reviews. 

•     Test different offers on different segments of your list. 

•     Use one clear call to action per email. 

•     Keep it brief. Use short sentences and paragraphs to make emails easier to scan.

Wrapping up

Regardless of your business's size and industry, email marketing continues to be one of the best ways to contact and engage your target audience. By tracking the engagement metrics outlined in this guide, you can gain valuable insights into what your audience is interested in, allowing you to make any necessary changes to boost engagement.


Comparing your data with the benchmarks and industry averages referenced here is a great place to start, but it only tells a part of the story. What qualifies as success will vary depending on your business's unique goals, the types of emails you send, and various factors, including email send times. However, by testing different types of emails, looking at your own data, and measuring email performance over time, you can find ways to improve your metrics and ultimately achieve more of your business goals.