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A Quick Guide to Optimizing Email Metrics

Insights from advanced email analytics lead to more relevant customer experiences.

June 14, 2019

Growing email analytics and big data capabilities are a priority for 42 percent of brands, according to research conducted by Litmus Analytics. Data is the most powerful tool you can use to extend customer profiles, deepen audience segmentation, and, ultimately, personalize experiences. But the sheer volume of information makes it difficult to know where to start. Here are a few ideas for transforming your email data into actionable insights.

No. 1: Look Beyond a Single Campaign
With any kind of relationship, the more you know about your partner, the more you can meet his or her demands and ensure a long-term commitment. That principle applies to your customer relationships. Although data from a single campaign is useful, you gain a better understanding of customer behavior when you look at email performance metrics over time. Graphing data for a campaign type helps you spot variances that lead to insights about content, audience, or operational issues, enabling you to better serve your customers in the future — and solidify the relationship.

No. 2: Gather Data Outside the Basics
You can do a lot with the fundamental metrics gleaned from your email service provider (ESP). Stats such as open rate, click-through rate, and click-to-open rate indicate that your subject lines, preheaders, and content are resonating — or that your audience is fatigued and disengaged. But that data doesn’t tell the whole story.

Another important metric is geolocation, which enhances customer information and empowers local activation. Knowing where subscribers are when they open your messages — country, region, and city — proves valuable when you’re trying to achieve a particular result within a specified area, such as selling tickets to a local event. You also can use it to segment your subscriber lists by time zone or test products and content by region. Geolocation data is also more reliable than first-party data such as ZIP codes, which can become obsolete over time.

Also consider email client (Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail); reading environment (desktop, mobile, web mail); and engagement (read, skim, glance). Understanding where and for how long subscribers consume your email content helps inform decisions about development, design, and testing. If only a handful are viewing emails on desktop, then it’s better to optimize for mobile. If an effective interactive feature is supported by a majority of your customers’ email clients, then it’s worth investing in the development. If more of your subscribers glance vs. read, then you should consider testing content formats or layouts.

No. 3: Integrate Email Analytics and Customer-Relationship Management
When you keep data in silos, you’re missing opportunities to engage your customers and influence purchases. Adding your email data to your CRM database creates a more complete picture of your customers and a centralized source for decision-making across all your marketing channels — not just email — so you can send timely, relevant communications that drive profitable interactions. It also enables you to track more meaningful metrics such as subscriber lifetime value, revenue per subscriber, and return on investment (ROI).

But data integrations are consuming — both in time and budget. To get buy-in, you need to be able to answer the question: What’s the benefit? You can do that by getting a firm grasp on the data you already have in place, sharing it with all team members so they understand the impact their work is having, and showing how your business benefits from advanced email analytics.

No. 4: There’s No Shame in Starting Simple
Overwhelmed? We get it. There’s a lot to take in. If you’ve only just begun your data collection, or you have limited resources, then narrow your focus to a specific goal and plan around that. To increase open rates, you can A/B test subject lines. If web traffic is a key performance indicator (KPI), then concentrate on click-through rates. Pick one thing to test, measure, and optimize. Positive, individual results accrue to make a big impact.

This blog was adapted from a joint webinar between Litmus Analytics and Ansira.

About the Author

Richard Flores
VP, Channel Integration and Delivery

With experience in technology integration, data manipulation, and industry-leading platforms, Richard helps our clients create personalized, profitable email communications as part of their broader CRM and loyalty programs.

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