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E-commerce Link : Back to School

Breaking down the basics of email campaigns, then digging deeper into data

October 2012 By Reggie Brady
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Most readers of this magazine understand the basics of email analysis, but I think it's always important to do some "refresher courses" to stay on top of the email game. Let's review the ABCs briefly and then move on to examine techniques that are more sophisticated and some tools that can help you be more successful.

The Basics, Part 1: Opens, Clicks and More
Let's jump right into standard campaign reporting. To get your bearings, review the first chart below, titled "Basic Email Campaign Report." (I've included the numbers, so that you can determine the formulas.) Remember opens, clicks and opt-outs are calculated on delivered or accepted emails.

Email basics chart
[+] click to enlarge

Now, let's take this information further and look at unique activity, visible in the second chart, titled "Unique Activity." Not all email service providers (ESPs) give out information about unique opens and clicks. To understand what portion of your list is actively engaged, it is very helpful to look at unique activity. A portion of this group is opening and clicking multiple times on your emails.

The click to open (CTO) metric is great to measure engagement. It is defined as the unique clicks divided by unique opens. It's based on the theory that if recipients opened an email, it's then important to determine how many recipients were motivated to click. A CTO rate above 35 percent indicates a campaign that is really engaging its recipients.

The Basics, Part 2: Measuring Beyond the Click
Marketers have different objectives for their email programs. Brand marketers and publishers (who may sell ad banners in their emails) are interested in delivered/accepted emails and opens. Conversely, e-tailers will want to look at what happens after the click—potential purchases. They should track these metrics, shown in the third chart, "Purchase and Revenue Activity." This will provide them with big picture information (revenue derived from the campaign) as well as a deeper dive into the revenue per delivered email.

The Basics, Part 3: Benchmarking Results Against Other Industries
Thus far, we've looked at metrics in a vacuum. But sometimes you need to step outside of that and see how you stack up against others in your vertical market. Benchmarking is an indicator of how you compare.

 
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