New year resolution 9 of 12 – analyse!

9 minute read

“I know half of my marketing isn’t working. I just don’t know which half”. Thankfully this quotation, famously attributed William Lever, founder of the soap empire Lever Brothers, is no longer true – on the contrary, with most forms of digital marketing it’s easy to get submerged in all manner of performance metrics. However according to the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) 17% of email marketers never review or analyse their campaign results.

So whatever your current review process we think your new year resolution 9 of 12 should be to take a new look at your results.

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So let’s look at what can be measured. The normal metrics that you commonly see are things like delivery statistics, opens, clicks and unsubscribes. They’re a good place to start.

Delivery is the number of messages that were accepted for delivery by the recipient mail servers. These messages got through the first phase of ISP filters (which look at the reputation of the sending domain and other technical characteristics) but this doesn’t guarantee that the message got to the inbox, as further spam filter checks will be applied to the message to determine if it goes into the junk mail folder or straight to the inbox. If you are looking at delivery statistics (and you should be) then you should also review your hard and soft bounces – that is those messages which had a permanent fatal or temporary delivery error. These can yield useful information about the cause of the bounce and tell you if you’re being intentionally blocked. An unusually high bounce rate could indicate problems with your content or your domain reputation that you need to address.

By the way – if you missed it go back to resolution number 6 which talked about delivery in more detail.

Opens is probably the most common metric – but there are a few points we should clear up. Unique opens shows you how many people have rendered your email and/or interacted with it by clicking a link. This figure will only include emails rendered in HTML format. It’s not a guarantee that they fully read the email, or a definitive indication that people not listed as opens didn’t (especially if you follow best design practices and your email is readable without images) but it is an excellent benchmark for measuring engagement across different emails sent to the same group of subscribers.

Click tracking is probably the next standard metric. Most campaigns contain links which drive readers through to additional content or actions. Clicks (that is the total (or unique) number of clicks) is a valid metric in its own right but click through rate (CTR) is often more useful. This this is the proportion of unique recipients who click at least one link in your email, so you know that this many people interacted with your email beyond just opening it. This number gives you a good basis for judging the relative success of your campaign, particularly if you have a clearly defined objective that you are directing readers towards. For greater granularity you can of course also track the clicks to individual links in your campaign.

You should also take a moment to review your unsubscribes – that is the number of recipients who opted out after receiving this campaign. This is measured using the unsubscribe link that is added into your campaign by your email service provider (by the way this should always be in every campaign you send as it’s a legal requirement).

Remember that whatever metrics you review statistics are captured and displayed in real-time, so when analysing a campaign you may need to wait 24–72 hours to see the most relevant results.

Delving slightly deeper you can also track your shares and goals. Sharing of your message directly via email and through social media channels may well be part of your awareness strategy, so tracking forwards and shares like Twitter and Facebook is often an important addition.

Similarly, when your campaigns have specific, precisely defined online objectives – for example getting a recipient to make a purchase from your ecommerce store, or download a whitepaper, then Goal Tracking enables you to accurately measure the success of your campaign by tagging the pages on the destination website where these goals are completed. This could be done using Google Analytics or a specific tracking code set up within your campaign.

Finally, as a Sign-Up.to user we can provide you with a number of custom reporting tools that will provide an extra level of understanding.

Our Device Open Report details how your readers are interacting with your campaigns – whether they are opening on their desktop or which type and operating system of mobile device. This can be really useful information when planning the mobile credentials of your campaigns. Our Engagement Report is another custom analytic. Unlike standard metrics, engagement provides a multi-facetted and continual measure of campaign interaction. It’s one of the profiling ‘dimensions’ which you can then use to target future re-engagement or VIP rewards type campaigns. You can find lots more information on engagement by returning to new year resolution number 8.

If you are interested in either of these two reports, please contact your Sign-Up.to Account Manager who’ll be happy to guide you.

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Understanding your campaign results is a key step to improving future campaigns. It can help you design and target content, subject lines, and tell when when and how your readers are interacting with your campaigns. That’s valuable information and that’s why ‘Analyse’ should be your new year resolution number 9.

It might sound tricky but all of the data is automatically collected and processed for you by the Sign-Up.to system. We can even replay your previous campaigns to give you a historic view of your campaign engagement.

Here’s a summary of a few actions to take:

1. You can find your campaign metrics in the ‘Analyse’ section of the Sign-Up.to platform and more information on our website. Here you’ll see a summary of the standard metrics for each campaign and more detailed drill-downs for individual links and subscribers.
2. Grab a coffee and take a moment to read our Complete Guide to Email Marketing Analytics. You’ll find more information on what can be measured, what your statistics mean, and the steps you can take to improve.
3. Also, here’s some more information on how metrics can improve your ROI.
4. If you are interested in seeing how you compare against your peers then download our free Annual Email Benchmark Report. This documents over 1.5 billion emails sent each year through the Sign-Up.to platform, showing average open, click and unsubscribe rates broken down by 25 individual industry sectors.

I’ll be back with new year resolution 10 of 12 soon. In the meantime if you have any questions regarding metrics and analysis, give us a call, we’ll be pleased to help.