flying moneyI suspect every marketer has heard this famous line at least once during their careers: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

That famous quote is attributed to John Wanamaker, an American merchant and the first retailer to place a half-page newspaper ad, which he did in 1874. (A few years later, he was the first retailer to place a full-page ad!)

Mr. Wanamaker lived in a very different world 140 years ago. Although he was an advertising pioneer, and hired the first full-time copywriter, he could never have conceived of the kind of marketing we do now with Super Bowl ads, email marketing on smartphones, and social media.

Yet his quote still rings true today. Marketers still lack the insight into what’s working and what isn’t. They spend money on marketing but they don’t always know what is driving the ROI–nor how to drive more of it by doing more of what’s working. (Because you can’t do more of what’s working if you don’t know what’s working!)

Mr. Wanamaker and his colleagues of the late 19th century couldn’t measure the effect of their advertising. However, marketers today can measure and even analyze the effectiveness of their email marketing, with tools like eMVision.

For example, check out this screenshot below. This is the eMVision email analytics tool being used to analyze when a client’s audience interacts with their emails. The X axis is the time (hour of the day, day of the week, and day of the month). The Y axis shows the open rate. The circles indicate sending volume. The bigger the circle, the more email was sent. But the higher up the circle, the more interactions happened. Looking at visual email analytics like this, it’s easy to see at a glance that less email should be sent on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and more email should be sent on the weekends, when the higher numbers of interactions happen.

example of visual email analytics tool

And how long did that take to figure out? Less than a minute!

Marketing pioneers like John Wanamaker broke new ground with their new methods and bold moves like huge newspaper ads and professional copywriters. And lucky for those of us in the 21st century, the methods have only improved, evolving from static, generic newspaper ads to the kind of dynamic, personalized, multi-channel marketing we can do today. But the real improvement isn’t in the methods: It’s in the measurements.

And that’s where we have the opportunity to know which money is wasted, so we can stop throwing it away and start spending it wisely to generate more ROI…something that would make Mr. Wanamaker exceedingly proud, I am sure.

If you’d like to learn more about the eMVision email analytics tool, please contact us with questions or to request a demo.

Published On: March 3rd, 2015Categories: Email analyticsTags: ,

About the Author: Sharon

Sharon Ernst from is on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes. Her newest class on intermediate email copywriting covers 19 tips and techniques non-copywriters can put to use right away for better results. The class has real-life examples and before/after comparisons to make the lessons stick. Find her class at When she’s not busy helping employees, managers and marketers master their writing skills, she and her husband are busy raising pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables on their 20-acre farm.

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