Those interested in digital marketing have more resources at their fingertips than ever. It’s easy to find anything you need to know about it with just a little bit of research. A wealth of information on how to begin and improve a strategy, whatever your platform of choice, is readily available online. It may come as a surprise then that digital marketers still find it challenging to analyze their efforts and show impact.
Marketers need to prove that what they do is worth it—and they need to do it quickly. Trends show more resources are going to be allotted towards digital in the next five years. This year alone, digital marketing expenditures are expected to increase by 12.3%. This is despite both B2B and B2C companies rating their own digital marketing capabilities just barely above the median on a 7-point scale.
So how do we showcase whether activities generate positive ROI while continuing to improving capabilities like developing digital strategies and learning what works for our business? Collecting the right back-end data from our campaigns.
This is especially true for email marketing. It’s tempting to send out campaigns and be done with it, but measuring the right stats afterward does wonders for developing a more successful digital strategy. Here are four reasons why paying attention to email marketing benchmarks matters.
- Know whether your messages are reaching your audience.
A factor that can definitely bring overall metrics down when unaddressed is whether your chosen audience has access to the messages you communicate in the first place. Getting this first step right is essential. Take a look at the following metrics:
- Open Rate – The percentage of your total subscribers who open to read the emails you send. Average open rate is 17.92%.
- Bounce Rate – Unlike website bounce rates, which are users who land on a website and subsequently leave, email bounce rate refers to the percentage of emails that couldn’t be delivered due to server or spam issues. Average bounce rate is 1.06%.
If you find the data you collect for the subsequent benchmarks we’re referring to are low, return to these two. Sometimes low engagement and clicks can be traced to the simple fact that people don’t read what you send. If you have a high bounce rate, you can prune your email lists to prevent future issues. If it’s your open rates that are looking low, find ways to improve how your email looks as it arrives in an inbox.
- Answer whether your ads and emails are effective at getting people interested in your products.
The meat of your email marketing efforts is likely to direct interest to your website for conversions. This is the closest way to connect emails to actual business outcomes. If you have the right tools set up, you can track your subscribers’ behavior from when they open a campaign until they make a purchase. But to get there, emails need to be engaging. To make sure you’re hitting the mark on engagement, you can measure the following metrics:
- Click-through rate – Similar to Facebook advertising CTR, with email marketing it measures how many people click on a link or image in your email out of all the total emails you’ve sent. You want to aim higher than the average click-through rate of 2.69%.
- Click-to-open rate – Click-to-open is a more granular version of CTR. This refers to the percentage of clicks on links or images against how many subscribers opened the email, so it measures a more direct response. This average is 14.10%.
These messages show you whether you need to be changing elements of your content itself. Perhaps your audience doesn’t connect with your messaging as much as you thought they would. This way you can see whether you need a new approach to the images, layout, or copy in each email.
- Identify whether you can sustain your audience’s attention.
Because email lists are opt-in, subscribers who opt out are sending a clear message: your campaign isn’t effective at maintaining reader interest. Measuring your unsubscribe rate, the percentage of subscribers who choose to stop receiving more emails, let’s you know if you’re really missing the mark.
Did this particular person opt-in with full commitment? Have you been sending too many emails, too quickly? Has the news you’re offering them become boring or stale?? Unsubscribing is a big decision—and not one you should take lightly.
The average unsubscribe rate falls at around 0.17%. If you find that you’re reaching higher percentages than this, then it may be time for you to take some actionable steps.
For example, you can revisit your list segmentation and strive to include more personalization in your email content so the messages don’t feel like a generic send-to-all. 74% of marketers say personalized email drives more customer engagement, and they deliver 6 times more transaction rates too.
- Pinpoint the perfect time to send.
Last but not least on this list is the time and day you’re sending out emails. With accessibility to websites from anywhere in the world and delivery options expanding for online sellers, timing becomes more important than ever.
49.1% of all emails around the world are read on a mobile device, so think in “time windows” for your subscribers: 3-minute, 5-minute, and 10-minute windows when individuals are more likely to open their mobile devices for email.
When it comes to the best times and days to send emails, however, that still varies by industry and by the benchmark. As a starting point, look at the general numbers:
- Highest email open rates: Thursday
- Highest click-through rates: Tuesday
- Lowest unsubscribe rates: Sunday or Monday
- Highest click-to-open rates: Saturday
- Lowest bounce rates: Monday
Strategize your delivery timing according to the type of content included in order to find that sweet spot for customer engagement.
Digital marketing can be overwhelming. Many elements run simultaneously and significantly affect the success of other elements, which can make it difficult to pinpoint your next steps. This is why analytics are so essential—they distill otherwise difficult to parse information into an organized format. Be consistent with data-gathering, make better decisions, and all other digital marketing capabilities will follow.