Two years ago we launched eMVision, a unique and innovative email analytics tool that integrations Tableau Software with the email reporting of major ESPs such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Since that launch, we have spent a lot of time talking to clients and other email marketers about email reporting and analytics, and we have learned one big lesson: Marketers tend to dive a little too deep into details when looking at their email reporting.

What’s wrong with diving into details?
Details per se are not something to avoid when reviewing email reporting and analytics. What I am cautioning against is a focus on those details. Looking at open rates and click throughs is useful in its own way, but there’s a bigger picture, and that’s why I’m saying…

Step away from the email analytics!

Did you put a little breathing room between you and those numbers? OK, good. Let’s talk about those numbers for a minute.

First off, let’s clarify that we’re all human and I suspect our behavior is all quite normal as a result, because the details are what’s easy to see and process. I can look at a report after a campaign and see how many opens, clicks, forwards and unsubscribes. Again, easy.

That kind of simplified approach won’t work if we want to make things better, however. If we want to improve our email marketing program and increase our email ROI, we have to dig deeper.

6 ways to look at your email analytics with a bigger view
With that in mind, below I offer you some ways of looking at your results for more insight. Even if you’re not investing in a sophisticated visual email analytics tool, you can use your same numbers to learn more about what’s happening with your email program—and take action to improve.

  1. Look for trends. Stop focusing on the results from one campaign and instead look at the numbers across multiple campaigns. Do you see any trends up or down? Take note. Did you do something differently that might have caused the trend? Being aware of trends will also help you spot a sudden spike too—which can either be good or bad news, but will require you to act either way.
  2. Watch for signs of inactive subscribers and list fatigue. This is where keeping an eye on trends is so useful: If you’re seeing a continual decrease in open rates, you might be burning out your list. Did you increase frequency? Has your content gone stale? Is there some other reason for this decline in interest? This will also help you to determine when it’s time to segment a subscriber to an inactive list and start a re-engagement campaign.
  3. Look for other kinds of value. Maybe your emails aren’t always delivering sales but are there other kinds of value that you can measure? This could include forwards or social shares, for example, or an increase in subscribers even.
  4. Keep tests simple but do enough to have real numbers. At ClickMail, we have a mantra of test, test and test again. With that comes a caveat, however, and that is to make sure you do enough testing to get meaningful results.
  5. Keep in mind that different emails and campaigns have different goals. That means the results can’t all be measured in the same way. Be clear on the goals before you launch a campaign or send an email, so your evaluation of that campaign or one-off message is accurate. I guess you could say do not apply a cookie cutter approach to your email analytics!
  6. Remember to consider your click-to-open rate. That’s when you evaluate your opens and click throughs to see how well they’re working together. You can have a good open rate and a poor CTR. You can have a low open rate and a high CTR. Your goal, however, is to have good numbers in both categories, because that shows you’ve engaged your audience. A high open rate means you offered something of value and a high CTR means you’ve delivered on that promise.

As I said above, the details are important too, so don’t overlook them. For better insight into your email marketing, however, you’ll benefit by taking a step back and taking a bigger picture view.

If you want to know more, please feel free to reach out to us!

Published On: February 11th, 2016Categories: 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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