Three Missing Metrics For Email Marketing

Posted by George Bilbrey on

A long-time colleague posted a question to an email marketing list a few weeks ago: “Which email metrics do you wish existed in email marketing benchmark reports that don’t exist today?” The question got me thinking about the state of email measurement and the kinds of metrics that should be available but aren’t yet in common use.

Here is my short list:

Address quality metrics: Reviewing the email performance of large ecommerce companies, I’ve found the quality of a company’s list is what drives its email marketing performance. If the addresses that comprise the marketer’s list are mostly addresses that don’t get used a lot, no amount of stellar creative or inventive program strategy can lead to best-in-class performance.

Marketers should keep an eye on the overall quality of their list and the quality of newly acquired addresses by source. In particular, I would suggest two primary metrics that are available from an analysis of “email panel” sources or other third-party sources:

  • Percent of addresses that are “primary” addresses (over time and versus benchmarks)
  • Percent of addresses that are heavy buyers in my product/service category (over time and versus benchmarks )

Lifecycle metrics: A healthy email marketing program will do a good job of keeping engagement high over the subscriber’s lifecycle.  I see a large number of our clients looking at some measure of engagement over time, but these measurements are typically not available for benchmarks. I’d like to see:

  • Open, click, and conversion metrics by weeks/months on lists vs. benchmarks. I’ve reviewed open data in this way for thousands of domains. Performance across domains varies dramatically.
  • First-, second-, and third-time buyers as percent of purchases vs. benchmarks.

Marketing results by mailbox type: Given that a lot of your marketing results are based on the quality of your list, it would be useful to see how you are doing in driving opens, clicks and conversions relative to benchmarks for each quality category of mailbox type. You may have a poor quality list. but your marketing could be driving higher-than-average results from active addresses.

That’s my short list.  What’s yours?

This post originally appeared on Media Post

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About George Bilbrey

George Bilbrey is the founder of the industry’s first deliverability service provider, Assurance Systems, which merged with Return Path in 2003. He is a recognized expert on the subjects of email reputation and deliverability and is active in many industry organizations, including the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) and the Online Trust Alliance (OTA). In his role as president of Return Path George is the driving force behind the ongoing innovation of our products and services. Prior to Return Path, George served as Director of Product Management at and as a partner in the telecommunications group at Mercer Management Consulting. He holds a B.A. in economics from Duke University, and an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business, University of North Carolina.

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