The Designer’s Guide to Email Analytics

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As an email designer we don’t have to tell you how important it is to get your design just right. Whether you’re responsible for the entire campaign or just focusing on the design, a poorly executed email can negatively impact trust, readability, and results. To make sure this doesn’t happen you’re testing every email before you send, but is that enough?

Using data to make design decisions is crucial to making your messages more effective. At The Email Design Conference, we heard many designers comment that getting access to open, click, and conversion data from their ESP (email service provider) was a challenge. However, if you’re already using Litmus, you may have access to key stats right inside your account.

Email Analytics can show you engagement, email client, geolocation, and forward and print data to help make key design and HTML build decisions, providing you with opportunities to surprise and delight your subscribers (not to mention increase conversions!).

Check out our short video above to see Email Analytics in action and gain actionable insights on how to use this data to better optimize your designs.

Which email clients and apps are your subscribers using?


There is a WIDE variety of email clients and apps that your subscribers could be using to view your emails. Between desktop, mobile, and webmail clients—plus different versions of those clients, as well as numerous email apps—it can seem as though the list of places your subscribers are viewing your emails is endless.

In order to stay sane it’s probably not realistic to test in every possible combination. As a result, knowing where your audience is opening your emails is key to narrowing down which programs and apps you should test in. It not only saves you time, but ensures that your email will render well in all of the necessary environments. At The Email Design Conference 2013, Schuyler Wareham and Kristina Huffman talk about how they use email client data to influence their designs.

For example, if only a minor portion of your audience is using Outlook—which can be difficult to design for—then you shouldn’t waste too much time optimizing your emails in that client. Conversely, you could discover in your email client data that a significant portion of your audience is using a client that doesn’t support your code. Of course, you’ll want to track trends in your Email Analytics data after each send and react to any changes.


With Email Analytics you can also get a breakdown of where your subscribers are opening your emails—including the specific versions of each program and app. This detailed data is crucial; for example, while Outlook versions 2003 and earlier have great HTML and CSS support, versions 2007 and newer use Microsoft Word as a rendering engine—introducing a host of challenges.

Using rendering engine data to make design decisions

Rendering engine and browser usage data can give you an indication of how progressive you can be with your design. For example, Webkit-based email clients can support advanced techniques, like HTML5 and CSS3 (with proper fallbacks, of course!). Nearly 40% of Litmus’ opens come from Apple Mail and Outlook for Mac, (both of which using WebKit as a rendering engine), allowing us to experiment with using HTML5 video background in email.


The mobile debate: deciding to go responsive

Knowing whether your subscribers are opening in desktop, mobile, or webmail programs is also crucial—especially when it comes to mobile. Currently, around 50% of emails are opened on mobile devices. This industry-wide, global statistic may convince your boss that sending responsive emails are a must. However, your mobile audience may be lower. Measuring smartphone and tablet opens can help you decide whether testing responsive design or introducing other mobile-friendly elements is worthwhile. It’s all about choosing which design elements are going to work best for your audience.


Where in the world is your audience?

Another crucial piece of data available in Email Analytics is geolocation data. We’re not talking about the city and state you have on file in your ESP or Customer Relationship Management (CRM). After all, how many times have you emailed an account thinking the primary user is in one state when it turns out that’s just the billing contact? With geolocation data, we pinpoint where your subscribers are when they read your email.


Designers can use geolocation data in partnership with their marketing department to pinpoint opportunities for enhancement. For example, high opens in other countries may indicate that emails in different languages may be beneficial. It can also help influence image and graphics choices—sending out a winter promotion flanked with snowflakes may seem out of place to your subscribers opening in Southern Florida. Understanding where in the world your audience is enables you to make better design decisions.

Start designing for your audience

Email Analytics can provide you with the data needed optimize your designs. Not a Litmus user? New customers have unlimited Email Analytics access until February 28th.

Sign up and start designing for your audience today.

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