E-mail Metrics from 5 Feet 10 Inches
These days, e-mail marketers face a number of new challenges, including increasing pressure to drive response rates, default image blocking at most major ISPs, creating e-mails for subscribers checking e-mail on mobile devices, deliverability changes and waning subscriber attention in a crowded inbox.
With these new hurdles, response rates on a previously successful campaign might fall flat when repeated. What’s to blame? Marketers often look to subject lines, creative content or other elements of their e-mail campaigns to identify the culprit. It’s also common for e-mail marketers to search for industry benchmarks to measure themselves against. It seems today that everyone wants to measure up against industry averages and comparative metrics.
To determine just how they measure up, marketers often ask themselves the following questions: What is a good open rate for an e-mail campaign? A good conversion rate? A good bounce rate? The frustrating answer: It depends. “Good” is relative. And “good” last year—or even last month—doesn’t guarantee a repeat.
Response rates depend on a litany of factors including value proposition, frequency, content, audience, age of list—the list goes on. Providing benchmarks without consideration for a campaign’s unique combination of these factors is something my former boss compares to giving an arbitrary response to the question, “How tall should I be?”
And yet marketers still request benchmarks, something to compare their performance against. So, here are some tips to create useful and relevant benchmarks to drive accurate analysis of your campaigns:
1. Go beyond industry averages. Rely on published industry averages as general guidelines, not the end-all measure of your e-mail program’s success. When looking at industry stats, try to find those numbers calculated for your specific industry, list size and/or target audience to ensure that you are comparing apples to apples. And remember, industry averages are just that—average. Aim higher.