Measuring Email Camapign Effectiveness: Webinar Recording

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Skip Fidura, dotmailer

We joined forces with dotmailer’s Skip Fidura for a guest webinar on measuring the success of your email campaigns. While many marketers focus on metrics like open rates and click rates, those aren’t the only data points you should be looking at. Skip demonstrated how this approach to measuring email campaign effectiveness can lead to poor decision making, and even result in marketers undervaluing both their email lists and the performance of their email programs.

He covered when it’s appropriate to focus on metrics, as well as pointed out other ways to measure the success of your campaigns.

Didn’t have a chance to make it to the webinar? Don’t worry—we recorded the whole thing!

Get the slides and recording →

With over 3,000 registrants, Skip didn’t have enough time to get to all of the questions during the Q&A portion of the webinar. Luckily, he graciously offered to answer all of the questions we missed here on the blog.


What is a strong click-to-open rate (CTOR)? What is a strong click rate (CTR)?

I always strongly urge clients not to compare themselves to the industry or even their vertical. It is much better to set your own benchmark and gauge your performance from that.

How is CTOR used to gauge the success of a campaign?

The traditional calculation for CTR is the unique number of clicks divided by the number of emails delivered. In the early days of email, this metric was important as it was the datapoint that was most closely comparable to off-line direct mail. Because we cannot track who opens a direct mail package, we assume everyone sees it and base response rates on the number of packs delivered.

The issue with this metric is that it is not as accurate a measure of campaign performance because we can track who opened an email. CTOR is a great measure of how your email performed after it was opened. In other words, it shows how your email performed after somebody saw it.

What is the difference between unique clicks vs. total opens / clicks?

Unique clicks are the number of people who clicked on your email at least once. Total clicks is the number of times they clicked.

Approximately what percentage of subscribers should you assume saw and opened your email, but didn’t turn on images?

Last December, Google announced that images in emails would show automatically—rather than blocked by default, which they previously were. By comparing open rates before and after Gmail’s switch to automatic image downloads, Litmus discovered that approximately 43% of Gmail users read email without turning images on.

While Gmail doesn’t block images any more, many email clients, like Outlook and Yahoo, still do. As a result, if we extrapolate that subscribers using other clients that block images have similar habits as Gmail users, it’s extremely important to optimize for images-off viewing since many subscribers aren’t downloading images.

Be sure to use clear ALT text on images and don’t include key copy in images—half of your subscribers won’t be able to see it! By using techniques like this to combat the effects of image blocking, your subscribers will still be able to read your email–and even click and convert!–without having to download images.


What is an ESP?

ESP stands for email service provider. In short, it’s a company that offers bulk email services. Rather than sending marketing emails from whichever email client you use (not only is this extremely manual, but it’s likely that you’ll end up in the spam folder), you use an ESP to aid in the delivery of your emails. They also manage bounces, unsubscribes, and even can act as a CRM (customer relationship management). If you’re sending any type of bulk mailing, then you should be using an ESP.

There are hundreds of ESPs to choose from—including dotmailer! Email Vendor Selection has a great list.

How do you track who has clicked on two emails? How do you track users who open? How do you track how many times individuals have clicked on something?

You can do all of this from an ESP! For each campaign, you’ll receive data on who clicked, who opened, and more. Since it also acts like a CRM, you can click into individual subscribers to see emails that have been sent to them, which ones they’ve opened, which ones they’ve clicked, if they’ve unsubscribed, and more.


Do you have any tips on presenting your results to management teams? Especially since they are usually just paying attention to the typical stats like open rates and CTRs.

Try to put your metrics in terms they really understand—revenue and value. Revenue is relatively easy to measure for online businesses. Value is more about how much money your email list delivers to the bottom line. Report on the sales for the people on your email list and, if possible, compare this to the customers not on your email list.

Also, talk about your list as if it is an asset that sits on the balance sheet. You had to invest money to get each of those addresses and that investment is in turn delivering revenue. Identify and track you cost of acquiring new addresses and value your list accordingly.

How would you report on the engagement of emails and the subsequent engagement activity on a website?

As I mention in the webinar, many companies link their email activity to their web analytics. First, you need to understand who is clicking, then you figure out where they are going. Usually the email team has no control over the website so once the clicker gets to the site, the responsibility of the email marketer ends, but that is not to say that your job is done.

Your email will have a significant impact on that web journey so tracking each journey and linking that back to a specific recipient is important. Unlike your other channels, you can tailor your follow up emails to what they did on the site. In terms of reporting, treat email as you would your other sources of traffic to your website.

How do you tie in email metrics to sales drivers in a sales organization? While we can easily show lead generation, tracking the journey is often difficult.

Once a prospect has engaged with the email, an email marketer’s immediate job is done, but for products that require more consideration or have a longer sales cycle, one email is usually not enough. In fact, email by itself is not usually enough. In these situations it is important to understand the entire customer journey and identify the pathways that lead to the best conversion rates.


Clicks and opens aren’t the only metrics you should be looking at. Get insights into which email apps are most popular with your audience, track engagement trends, and target messages based on location with Email Analytics.

Get access to Litmus’ Email Analytics, as well as unlimited email tests, page tests, and spam filter tests with a free trial.

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