Getting The Best Out of Email Analytics 1 - Choosing The Right Metrics

29 October 2019 - Sharon Beilis

Analytics are the key to constant campaign improvement. Email analytics tell email marketers what they’re doing right, what they’re doing wrong, how their audiences are responding to their content, and how they can improve things in real time.

However, using analytical tools correctly is something that many marketers struggle with. For a start, some marketers aren’t sure which tools are relevant and/or appropriate for their campaign.

Further down the process, there’s often a lack of awareness around how to translate insights drawn from analytics into actionable campaign tactics. 

In this blog, we’ll guide you through how best to apply email analytics to your operation, and the ways in which you can use analytics to inform and guide your email marketing campaigns. 

 

Choosing your metrics

Advanced email marketing platforms offer a wide range of sophisticated analytical tools - but not all of these will be appropriate for every campaign.

For example, understanding the geographic data on a campaign targeted at a single location will not be  useful to examine how email engagement for this campaign alters across different demographics.

Determining which metrics are most useful for understanding your campaign’s performance is something that should be done during initial strategizing.

Usually, the metrics which make the most sense to measure line up nicely with strategic questions about your objectives, your goals, your audience, and your KPIs. So, when considering these things, think also about how they can be measured. 

 

Engagement metrics

The majority of email analytics focuses around engagement. Engagement reporting is important, as it indicates what’s drawing the attention of customers, and what is not.

It tells you what is working and what is failing to land. If your goals and KPIs are being met, breaking down your engagement statistics could tell you why this is - and vice versa. 

There are several metrics by which you can measure engagement. Different metrics will work best for different campaigns. 

  • Browser/OS - Different browsers and operating systems will display email content in different ways. By measuring engagement via browser/OS, you can gain a greater understanding of how well optimized your content is for each system, and adapt accordingly.
  • Geolocation - Engagement metrics studied with reference to geolocation will reveal how campaigns can be optimized for maximum impact around the world.

    Differences in culture, timezone, language and so on will impact the way in which people in different locations engage with your content. For example, people in one part of the world may respond differently to certain phrases or concepts due to linguistic and cultural differences.

    Even within the same country, sending by timezone can make a huge difference to open rates - but the exact times to schedule for won’t necessarily be clear without analyzing engagement according to geolocation and time.
  • Email subject - Subject lines are one of the most important consideration of any email campaign. The subject line is what will grab the customer’s initial attention. By analyzing the kinds of subject lines which gain engagement, you can ensure that you’re always able to draw customers into your campaign content.
  • ESP - When using multiple delivery vendors, marketers have the option to split campaigns over different ESPs. If one ESP is showing a marked difference in deliverability, it’s probably worth looking a little closer. You can increase deliverability a lot by optimizing the ESP you are using to deliver your email campaigns.  
  • Medium - Smartphones, desktops and ISPs (such as Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo etc) will all display your content in different ways. Utilizing tools such as Litmus and Email on Acid ensure you are optimizing for multiple devices and mailboxes.

    Engagement analysis across the different mediums will demonstrate how well optimized your content is for each. This is helpful if you know that a certain segment of your audience is more likely to read your email on a smartphone (for example).

    Creating or adjusting content using what you’ve learned from your analytics about smartphone optimization will help you get the absolute best out of this medium.

  • ISP - Engagement issues with ISPs are very similar to those you might encounter with ESPs. Deliverability is not equal across all ISPs - but you won’t know where you’re experiencing deliverability downturns without analyzing engagement metrics by ISP. If you’re experiencing this issue, here’s our tips on how to overcome challenges with email deliverability.
  • Sender Domain. Sometimes, different sub-accounts are associated with the same ESP/SMTP. If you want to get really granular, analyzing by sender-domain can reveal some interesting insights.

 

What's next

The raw engagement data generated by these analyses will not tell you everything. A comprehensive email campaign analysis needs cross-referencing of metrics with data, customer personas, market research, feedback, and so on.

It’s also advisable to test things out frequently (for example, trying a variety of new subject line styles and seeing how they compare in engagement analytics). However, setting appropriate metrics and making full use of the analytical tools offered by your system provider is the best possible way to start.

 

Measuring Engagement

Engagement is measured in a number of ways. Simple data will tell you a lot about things like opens and clicks, but the true value is in cross-referencing that data with what you know about your audience in order to draw valuable insights. We’ll cover this in more detail in our second blog of this series coming up next week.

 

Want to learn more? Check out Part 2 - Drawing Actionable Insights from Email Analytics