7 Email Marketing KPIs You Must Be Tracking In 2023

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Tracking and monitoring the proper email marketing KPIs is essential when gearing up to optimize your campaigns. The correct data can lead to higher bottom lines and a more effective email marketing strategy that converts leads to customers.

I'm a digital marketing professional with a decade of experience applying KPIs to various business elements, including email marketing. Here, I'll share with you the KPIs that businesses should track towards

I'll also go through the importance of each KPI and how to use the data to create a high-converting email marketing campaign

After, you’ll understand which KPIs to track and why they are important in creating an effective marketing campaign that converts.

Let's start.

7 crucial email marketing KPIs to track in 2023

KPIs or key performance indicators measure the success of any marketing campaign – email marketing is no different.

As a result, email marketing KPI tracking is crucial to understanding the performance of your campaigns as well as what needs to be improved.

The insights gathered from tracking specific KPIs can be used to refine your approach, better target potential customers, and increase lead generation.

Following the right KPIs also enable brands and businesses to optimize strategies in the right direction toward a more effective and efficient growth strategy.

With that in mind, here are 7 KPIs brands and businesses must track in 2023:

1. Click-through rate

The click-through rate (CTR) KPI measures the percentage of email recipients who click on email links or CTA in marketing emails in relation to the total number of times you sent the email.

It indicates how effectively your email campaigns generate interest and engagement from email subscribers.

The CTR does not consider multiple clicks from the same user; instead, it accounts only for unique clicks for each unique email.

That way, your data is not compromised by one email generating multiple clicks. Therefore, you'll get a more accurate insight into who engages best with your content.

To compute your CTR, use this formula:

01a email marketing KPIs - email marketing click through rate formula

The click-through rate should be distinct from the click-to-open (CTO) rate.

The difference is that a click-through rate measures data based on the total number of emails sent, while a click-to-open rate measures data based on the total number of opened emails.

To compute for your CTO, use this formula:

01b email marketing KPIs - formula for click-to-open rate (CTO)

Another point to note is that a CTR gives marketers insight into the overall success of an email campaign in connection to audience engagement and is usually applied to pay-per-click search engine advertisements.

At the same time, the CTO rate shows how effective a campaign was in converting those who received the email into customers.

Considering data from both, you can improve your email marketing campaigns in terms of who to target and how. The data also allows you to cull your email list of non-responsive recipients and prevent getting flagged by SPAM filters.

2. Open rate

The email open rate measures the percentage of people who opened your email compared to the total emails sent

02a email marketing KPIs - open rate average

The average open rate is 11 to 50%, so if your open rate is higher than that, that's a good sign. Higher open rates indicate that your subject lines and preheader text effectively engage customers and get them to open your emails.

However, if the open rate is low, you should review your email campaigns' subject lines and preheader text. The goal should be to make them more compelling, engaging, and personalized to stand out in a crowded inbox.

Low open rates often occur when brands or businesses make these common cold email mistakes without considering the interests or behaviors of their targeted audience segments.

Avoiding these mistakes can drastically improve your open rate and give you better results in your email marketing campaigns.

To compute for open rate, use this formula:

02b email marketing KPIs - open rate formula

Improving your open rate requires considering the behavior and schedule of your target customer. Sending an email at the wrong time or with a boring email subject line can significantly reduce your open rate. 

3. Conversion rate

The email conversion rate KPI measures the percentage of email subscribers who take the desired action, like clicking on a link or purchasing from an online store.

If your emails effectively engage readers and inspire them to click on a link, then you're likely getting more leads into customers and achieving higher conversions.

To compute a conversion rate, use this formula:

03a email marketing KPIs - email marketing conversion rate formula

Improving your emails' conversion rate requires improving the email content, ensuring clear and concise calls to action, and A/B testing different versions of your emails.

Aside from that, you can apply these tactics to improve the conversion rate for future campaigns:

  • Make sure your email messages are mobile-responsive
  • Personalize the content as much as possible to increase email performance
  • Focus on customer journey optimization to improve conversions of link clicks
  • Include visuals, images, and videos to grab attention and turn leads into customers

Remember that your email list conversion rate is directly impacted by how customers resonate with the content in your email marketing campaigns.

Tailor your content to their interests and needs. You can increase your conversion rate by including links to engaging landing pages with content that supplement your email.

Elements like brand-animated videos that briefly showcase your offer or links to social media content that promote participating in word unscrambling games for a prize are two examples that potentially increase conversion rate in your email campaigns.

4. Bounce rate

The email bounce rates measure the percentage of emails that couldn't be delivered to the intended recipients due to an issue with the service provider, recipient account, or other technical issues.

Brands and businesses need to ensure valid email addresses in their email list to minimize the bounce rate.

To compute the bounce rate, use this formula:

04a email marketing KPIs - formula for email bounce rate KPI

There are two types of email bounce rate metrics to consider. The first is soft bounce rate, an email received by the recipient's email service provider but does not make it to their inbox. The reasons for soft bounce emails include:

  • The account is inactive
  • The recipient has a full inbox
  • The email content is too large
  • The domain is non-existent or has been deactivated
  • The recipient's service provider is offline, slow, or down

The second type is a hard bounce when an email cannot be delivered permanently to the recipient. The reasons for a hard bounce include the following:

  • The email does not exist
  • The recipient has blocked your emails
  • The email is flagged as containing spam files

Since a bounce rate of more than 5% is considered high, brands and businesses should track this KPI closely to identify potential issues, such as inactive subscribers, and update the email list.

A high bounce rate can worsen your IP reputation, which results in many of your emails going to the spam folder by email service providers.

High spam complaints are another rate metric to monitor as it indicates that many recipients flag your emails as spam.

Brands and businesses with a high spam complaint rate can expect a decrease in their email deliverability, overall sender reputation, and authority with subscribers and email service providers.

The strategic step to decrease the impact of delivery issues on your email metrics is to ensure your email list contains active and responsive recipients.

Using an email verification tool to check the validity of email addresses before adding them to your list can help reduce the bounce rate.

5. Unsubscribe rate

The unsubscribe rate KPI measures the number of people who opt out of your email newsletters or campaigns by clicking on the unsubscribe link.

In certain cases, higher unsubscribe rates can indicate a problem with your email content or high-frequency sending issues.

To compute your unsubscribe rate, use this formula:

05a email marketing KPIs - unsubscribe rate formula

To lower this KPI and enhance the delivery rate, carefully review the email design and content in your email campaigns and ensure they are useful and relevant to your customers' needs.

Additionally, ensure you're sending only a few emails within a short time frame.

It's more beneficial to send fewer but high-quality emails to a valid email address personalized for each customer segment.

Following this general rule, you'll realize a lower email unsubscribe rate and an improvement in the overall results of email marketing metrics.

6. List growth rate

The email list growth rate is the percentage of email recipients who opt-in to receive your emails over a certain period.

A higher email list growth rate indicates that your email content resonates with readers and inspires them to subscribe, which means more leads and conversions in the future.

Use this formula to compute your email list growth rate:

06a email marketing KPIs - list growth rate formula

To increase this KPI, create an email sign-up form on your website and other marketing channels, such as social media networks. 

You can also promote an affiliate program or partnership opportunity to potentially increase your audience reach and subscriber potential.

Additionally, focus on creating exciting email campaigns and leveraging newsletter management techniques that engage customers and encourage them to subscribe.

A great example of a compelling list growth CTA is from ATH Sport, where their email subscription request empathizes with potential customers while reassuring them that their email marketing strategy is worth the subscription.

06b email marketing KPIs - sample of an effective list growth CTA

Impactful CTAs such as these ignite an audience into action and compel them to join your list of subscribers for updates, discounts, and promotions.

Another strategy that improves your email growth list rate is to include share buttons in your email campaigns so that current subscribers can easily share your email with those they feel would be interested.

The email sharing rate and forwarding rates measure the number of times a subscriber shares an email with others.

A higher email share rate indicates the effectiveness of your email marketing. It shows subscribers find relevant content worth sharing with friends, family, or colleagues.

Together, your list growth rate and email share rate are essential email marketing KPIs that solidify the success of your email list growth rate. They indicate that people are finding value in the content you're providing.

These two key metrics also help you maintain a healthy list of leads and subscriber base that support social share and engagement rates that lead to your brand's continued success and sustainability through email efforts.

7. Return on investment

The ROI KPI measures the return on investment of your email marketing campaigns by comparing its costs to the revenue generated. It helps you measure the efficiency and profitability of your email marketing efforts over time.

To calculate email marketing ROI, use this formula:

07a email marketing KPIs - ROI formula for email marketers

To improve email marketing ROI, focus on delivering personalized emails that resonate with customers and minimize campaign costs by using automated email marketing software.

Business owners can also leverage brand guidelines for easier recall of products and services.

Additionally, tools for visual content creation help significantly increase the ROI of your email marketing efforts by streamlining the creation process so they can get to your audience faster.

Business owners can also tune into sales enablement tools to learn more about supplying better support for potential clients in the selling process. 

With this knowledge, you can develop email metrics to improve your email marketing performance and ensure maximum success in the future.

A successful campaign generates more than the campaign costs through increased customer engagement. In turn, the correct email strategies see a high average revenue per subscriber per email sent.

3 elements that impact your KPIs

There are 3 vital elements to consider that have a massive impact on email campaign metrics. These elements work towards improving your email marketing strategy for better lead generation and overall customer conversion. 

I. Industry benchmark

It's important to compare your email KPIs against industry benchmarks to see how you measure up compared to other businesses in the industry.

This will help you identify areas that need improvement and develop strategies for boosting your email engagement metrics.

The industry benchmarks and percentage of subscribers depend mainly on email list quality over email list quantity.

Having an extensive email list with thousands of subscribers may seem impressive. Still, the true success metric lies in the number of qualified email subscribers actively engaging with your emails.

II. Quality of your email list

The quality of your email list has a direct impact on your email marketing KPIs. Make sure you are accurately segmenting your list and targeting the right customers

Additionally, use online marketing tools to identify inactive subscribers and remove them from your list.

Concerning the quality of your email list, it's also important to consider the reputation of the email client you are using.

Even with a well-thought-out email segmentation strategy, using a low-quality email client can negatively impact email deliverability rates and engagement metrics. 

Often, it leads to a high complaint rate from recipients, ultimately hurting your conversation rates.

III. Tools and personnel

Using the right email automation software and working with the right people can help make sure that you're sending the right emails to the right customers at the right time

The purpose of this is to improve your email KPIs and ensure customers receive useful and relevant emails.

Marketing automation tools can also help you analyze email metrics and look for patterns to improve email campaigns.

There are plenty of email automation tools that email marketers can use. The goal is to find the ones that align with your specific business agenda.

The data and information gathered by these analytics tools can then support the efforts of your team personnel in creating an email marketing campaign that generates leads and prospects regularly.

Additionally taking steps to create a data pipeline of essential assets and information makes it easier to aggregate and use when needed.

With that, the know-how of your marketing team is essential for your future email success and ensuring your email KPIs are being tracked correctly.

Managing a talent pool of professionals familiar with email marketing, email automation tools, and email KPIs are critical for email campaign success.

They can ensure that email campaigns remain an effective tool for lead generation and conversion.

Why is tracking email marketing KPIs important?

Tracking email marketing KPIs is essential to understanding your customer’s journey and the effectiveness of your email campaigns.

08a email marketing KPIs - importance of tracking KPIs

Similar to how you would track time to determine workforce productivity, by measuring these metrics, you can identify areas for improvement and make changes to optimize for maximum success.

Tracking email marketing KPIs allows you to compare yourself against industry benchmarks and stay competitive in our ever-evolving digital landscape.

Email marketing is an effective way to build customer relationships and drive sales, but only if you track suitable KPIs.

Keeping a close eye on your email marketing performance ensures that your efforts are effective and that you understand what works best for your business goals.

This will help you make data-driven decisions and optimize for an effective email marketing strategy.


Unengaged subscribers will hurt your campaign performance and email KPIs. The best way to prevent that is to track the seven email marketing KPIs listed above.

Consistency in monitoring and making improvements gives you a complete picture of what your audience wants and expects, making it easier to convert customers and grow your subscriber list.

While a small piece of content in the grand scheme of things, email marketing campaigns are vital for business owners to pay attention to if the goal is business growth and sustainability.

To learn more about effective marketing strategies, visit OnlineBizBooster.com. You'll have access to revenue-generating tactics and insightful ideas on expanding your business's potential.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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