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9 Mission-Critical Email Marketing KPIs To Track In 2023

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Tracking email marketing KPIs is essential to any successful marketing campaign, regardless of business type or industry. Marketing KPIs go beyond reeling in new leads and customers to avail of a business’s products or services.

As a business owner with nearly a decade of experience in digital marketing, I’m always advocating the importance of tracking and monitoring the right KPIs to enhance business potential and sales, because it results in better customer relations and overall business profits.

Here, I’ll share with you the crucial KPIs to apply in email marketing, why they hold importance, and how you can use the gathered information to improve email marketing efforts. By the end, you’ll create a list of KPIs to track based on your email marketing strategy and business objectives.

Let’s start.

9 Essential Email Marketing KPIs To Track In 2023

Tracking, monitoring, and analyzing KPIs for email marketing allows businesses to identify the email campaigns that are performing well within a set period, those in need of refinement or improvement, and the overall email marketing performance.

While there are a handful of email metrics to choose from, the 9 listed below give marketers concise insights into email marketing performance and potential avenues for improvement for success.


1. Delivery Rate

The email deliverability rate shows the percentage of emails received by those on your subscriber list vis-a-vis their email service providers. It’s also an indicator of list hygiene, showing you whether or not your current list of subscribers is a viable market for your business goals.

Using the following computation, email marketers and business owners can calculate their delivery rate:

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Knowing your email marketing campaign’s delivery rate is a crucial KPI to track because it tells you whether or not your customers are receiving your marketing emails. Additionally, your email campaign’s delivery rate determines your ability to generate new leads and customers for your business.

The deliverability rate varies from industry to industry, but the general average for marketers is 80%. It ensures your messages stay on the trusted senders’ list of ISPs and build stronger trust with your current subscribers.

Improving your delivery rate requires applying a few technical emails marketing best practices:

  • Decreasing your spam complaint rate: This metric helps determine the number of spam complaints over a specific period. If this rate is high, more customers flag your emails as spam, hurting your deliverability rate and brand reputation.
  • Pruning your list of subscribers: Determine the individual email addresses of recipients who have had spam complaints to prevent further spam or mistargeting. Additionally, adding an unsubscribe button to your emails will help to keep your list clean and your deliverability rate high.
  • Ensuring valid email addresses: Email clients can identify invalid and deactivated email addresses. Periodically clean up your list to remove invalid email addresses, as they can damage your deliverability rate. In addition, marketers can use a double opt-in form to make sure that emails provided for subscriptions are active and valid.

These best practices in email marketing ensure that the technical aspects of your campaign are secure. Taking the time to prune your list of subscribers of inactive users, as well as implementing a double opt-in mechanism, are also key steps to make sure that your emails reach the correct recipients.


2. Email Open Rate

The open rate KPI is another strategic email marketing KPI that marketers and business owners should track in 2023. An open rate is the percentage of recipients who click to open your email. Computing for your email open rate uses this formula:

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Open rates tell you whether or not your emails successfully convince subscribers to open emails solely by seeing the subject line. Email marketing campaigns that emphasize good copy in their subject lines often see a higher open rate.

The email subject line is similar to a first impression. If a subscriber finds the subject of your email compelling and intriguing, the chances of opening the email to learn more significantly increase.

High open rates tell marketers and business owners that their strategy for subject lines is effective in connecting with the recipients on their subscriber list. However, a low open rate indicates that you should adjust to capture subscriber attention.

Neglecting to optimize your subject lines can negatively impact your overall email revenue, which links to a low email marketing ROI. To mitigate getting a low open rate, always keep the user experience in mind when crafting the subject line to create higher open rates.



3. Click-through Rate

The click-through rate (CTR) measures the number of times a link within your marketing emails is clicked compared to how many times subscribers receive it. It measures the effectiveness of how well a subscriber can connect with the content of an email newsletter and encourages them to take action.

The CTR metric is important for marketers and business owners as it determines how well a marketing strategy within their campaigns resonates with their subscribers. To calculate your click-through rate, use this formula:

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Increasing your click-through rate requires a combination of solid content and effective targeting. For example, providing clear call-to-actions, personalizing emails to ensure they are relevant to their subscribers, and testing different subject lines all increase your average click-through rate.

The CTR should not be confused with the click-to-open rate (CTOR), which measures the effectiveness of your email content in persuading recipients to click through your email’s links.

The CTOR metric is calculated by dividing the total number of clicks on an email’s link (CTR) by its open rate:

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In comparison, the CTOR is a good indicator for marketers and business owners to understand how well their emails are performing. It shows the average link clicks and whether or not additional tweaks need to be made to make their content more engaging.

The key difference between an email click-through rate and an email click-to-open rate is that the click-through rate does not track the percentage of users who open an email and take action, while the click-to-open rate does. Therefore, it’s important to understand these two email marketing metrics to adjust your email marketing strategy accordingly.

It’s important to note that a high CTO rate does not necessarily mean your emails are generating revenue, as this metric does not consider the total percentage of users who purchase after clicking through an email link.


4. Conversion Rate

An email conversion rate measures the capability of an email to turn leads into customers. It is calculated by dividing the percentage of people who have completed the desired action after receiving an email message by the percentage of people who opened it.

To calculate your conversion rate, use this formula:

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Measuring your conversion rate gives valuable insight into the success of a marketing email campaign. A high email conversion rate indicates that recipients respond positively to the emails they receive and can help you determine which campaigns resonate with subscribers.

Marketers and business owners can apply the following practices to improve email marketing conversion rates:

  • Tracking customer journey
  • Utilizing valuable insight from past campaigns
  • Targeting and re-engaging unengaged subscribers
  • Optimizing emails for better personalization and relevancy
  • Including clear call-to-actions via well-structure and responsive email elements


The higher the conversion rate, the more successful an email campaign is in turning readers into buyers. It’s important to note that while a high conversion rate can be an indication of a successful email campaign, it does not necessarily mean the emails are generating revenue.

Instead, it’s a vanity metric that shows how engaged subscribers feel with the emails they receive, whether the goal is to convince them to read a blog post or avail of a special discount.


5. Bounce Rate

The bounce rate measures the percentage of emails not delivered successfully to their intended recipients. Email addresses that are incorrect, inactive, or blocked contribute to potential bounces that can affect the delivery rate. Use this formula to compute your bounce rate:

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Measuring your bounce rate ensures that emails sent out from a given email list reach the desired recipients and do not get blocked by their email providers. Ideally, you should strive for a low bounce rate as it indicates that your emails successfully reach their intended destination.

There are two kinds of email bounces: hard bounce and soft bounce. Hard bounces occur when there is an issue with the recipient’s email address, such as a typo or when the address does not exist. Soft bounces are temporary non-deliveries due to server issues like mailbox full or server timeout.

Monitoring the kinds of bounces and bounce email addresses can help you identify potential email list flaws that may affect delivery rates. This enables you to take action to fix any issues and ensure successful email delivery in the future.


6. Unsubscribe Rate

The unsubscribe rate is another crucial KPI in gauging the success or failure of campaign performance. Therefore, marketers and business owners should strive for a situation where the conversion rates (also your subscribe rate) vastly outweighs the unsubscribe rate.

Your subscribe rate indicates the number of subscribers that have signed up for your email list in a specific period of time. In contrast, the unsubscribe rate is determined by the number of people who have decided to leave the subscriber base within a given timeframe.

To compute your unsubscribe rate, use this formula:

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Individually these two email marketing metrics are helpful in understanding subscriber behavior, but together they provide insight into how attractive subscribers find your emails and campaigns. Additionally, analyzing both provides more value about the effectiveness of a campaign in reeling in and retaining subscriber interest.

Realizing a high subscribe rate and a low unsubscribe rate shows that your subscriber base is growing and your content is resonating with readers. On the flip side, a low subscribe rate and high unsubscribe rate might indicate an issue in how you deliver content to subscribers or suggest that they are no longer interested in what you offer.


7. List Growth Rate

The email list growth rate metric measures new subscribers versus unsubscribes. It determines the rate at which your email list is growing or shrinking.

To monitor the list growth rate, use this formula:

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Using the list growth metric allows you to identify potential problems with your email strategies and take proactive steps to address them. A low list growth rate may indicate an inefficient email marketing program. Reviewing your email list growth rate can help you determine if your campaigns are successful in gaining and retaining subscribers.


8. Forwarding Or Share Rate

The forwarding or email sharing rate measures how well a given email campaign performs in terms of effectiveness in reaching potential new subscribers with your target audience.

To calculate the sharing/forwarding rate, use this formula:

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The forwarding rate provides insight into the engagement of existing subscribers and their ability to share content with like-minded individuals. A consistently high forwarding rate indicates that your existing subscribers find value in the content they receive, thus forwarding it to friends, family, and colleagues.

Similarly, a high share rate reflects positively on the content your team has created and its ability to resonate with subscribers. High sharing rates allow marketers to measure an email’s viral success and reach and how effectively campaigns move through social networking channels.

Using elements like easy-to-see social media share buttons in the email template can help to increase email forwarding and sharing rates. In turn, campaigns can reach effective marketing channels outside of inboxes and into mainstream platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for better overall engagement rates.


9. Email Marketing Campaign Return In Investment (ROI)

Email ROI is a key metric that marketers and business owners should pay close attention to. The final computation tells you whether or not your current strategy’s campaign cost is lucrative in relation to the amount spent in resources and time.

To accurately measure email ROI, use this formula:

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Marketers and business owners can reach a healthy email marketing ROI if they can adjust their campaigns quickly when needed. Conversely, a low ROI indicates something wrong with your current campaign strategy, and the sooner it is addressed, the better for revenue growth.

Your email marketing campaign’s ROI directly reflects whether or not you have a successful campaign strategy. Ideally, your average revenue per subscriber adds up to generously higher than your average cost per subscriber.


3 Ways To Improve Your Email Marketing KPIs

Proactively tracking and analyzing email marketing metrics to understand your campaigns’ performance better highly contributes to its success. Parallel to that, consistent improvements based on actional growth insights significantly increase your potential for a higher email marketing return.

Additionally, taking the time to fully grasp the concepts and trends by taking flexible email marketing courses online streamlines more effective strategy creation and efficient outcomes.

Investing not only financial resources but also time proves beneficial since the current email ecosystem is highly competitive. Applying these 3 improvements further enhances your chances for success.


I. Improving Your Sender Reputation

Sender reputation is a metric ISPs use to control deliverability and risk sender trust. Email inboxes monitor your reputation closely and base decisions on whether or not they will accept incoming emails from you.

A few email best practices that help improve sender reputation include:

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Aside from that, you can apply best practices like building a strong social proof, decreasing your spam rate, and addressing any technical issues that lead to potential delivery issues on the side of the ISP sender.


II. Investing in Email Automation and services

Investing in email marketing services and automation tools significantly increases productivity and the accuracy of campaign metrics. You can effectively send personalized communications at strategic moments for every customer’s journey with automated triggers. This provides an immense opportunity to increase customer engagement and revenue.

Investing in the right email marketing tools also streamlines efforts like drip campaigns and A/B testing for better insight into comparative metrics concerning your email design and frequency.

When it comes to email automation, the goal should always be to create an automated workflow tailored for a specific customer segment or target essential metrics. With that, you will see higher open and response rates with personalized messages that trigger campaigns when customers need them most.


III. Optimizing Your Email Content

You should write your email content in an informative, engaging, and personal manner for maximum impact. This includes the use of personalized elements like subject lines, headers, calls to action, and body copy, as well as thoughtful segmentation and target audience usage.

When optimizing your emails, it’s best to focus on the customer journey, i.e., the sequence of emails sent over time to a segmented group of customers. This allows marketers to focus on the user experience and maximize their open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.



Effective email marketing is a culmination of various components that work together to ensure your brand or business performs at the highest level possible. Deliverability, conversion, and list growth rate are the 3 metrics to watch closely.

Deliverability ensures your emails reach their intended recipients without issues like spam folder filters. it also lets you prune your list to ensure you are not wasting effort on non-responsive email addresses. Tracking conversion lets you gauge your campaign’s effectiveness in resonating with your subscribers.

Lastly, your list growth rate gives you a deep understanding of how changes, updates, or promotions impact how your subscribers interact with your business. Using the right strategy, your list growth rate is a huge indicator of whether or not your marketing strategy as a whole is working successfully in relation to your goals.

Tracking and analyzing the 9 mission-critical email marketing KPIs allows you to measure success accurately against industry standards for a complete picture of where your efforts are working best.

Are you ready to create a successful email marketing campaign for 2023? Visit for a full range of email marketing services that simplify the process of getting positive results in KPIs for 2023.


Author Bio

Burkhard Berger is the founder of Novum™. He helps innovative B2B companies implement revenue-driven SEO strategies to scale their organic traffic to 1,000,000+ visitors per month. Curious about what your true traffic potential is?


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