9 Email Marketing KPIs That a Growth Hacker Should Track

9 Email Marketing KPIs That a Growth Hacker Should Track

written by Houston Golden
Founder & CEO, BAMF Media
March 23rd, 2022
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Email remains one of the most powerful channels you have at your disposal.

But, there is one question.

When’s the last time you audited your campaigns?

It doesn’t matter if it’s a touchpoint, a nurturing email, or your newsletters; you still need to track your campaigns regularly.

Today we’ll teach you how to do that.

This guide will cover the most essential email marketing KPIs that you should be tracking and why they matter to growth hackers like us.

Let’s start tracking!

1. Clickthrough Rate (CTR)

Marketers can consider this the granddaddy of email tracking because it directly measures how effective your emails are in getting people to visit your links.

Its computation is relatively basic.

(Total Clicks in Your Email Links ÷ Emails Delivered) * 100

You can even set this up to measure unique clicks in the body of your email if you’re into more granular settings. However, it would help if you were consistent with your approach to don’t skew your datasets.

This is such a valuable and popular metric because CTR directly correlates with how engaging your content is. It shows you how it resonates with other people and how it changes over time or per campaign.

You’ll find that CTR is also a metric that you can use in other forms of digital marketing, such as your ads on Facebook.

What’s critical is that you see how it varies over time so that you can tweak your campaigns whenever you see dips in your numbers.

Your aim is not to get a CTR rate of over 90, but rather one that consistently and gradually increases as time goes by, indicating growth.

What Can I Do to Increase CTR?

A number of things.

First of all, examine the content that you’re putting out, and over time, identify ones that have better CTR than the others.

Next, run A/B tests to ensure that you’re efficient with your marketing resources.

Lastly, check out emails with lower CTRs and analyze what could have gone wrong. In email marketing, analyzing your data has to be a holistic process.

2. Email Forwards

Another good indicator of your email content resonating with the people you send them to is the email forwards statistic.

If you’re getting a few of the emails you send out forwarded to other people, it indicates that you have engaging, shareable content.

People who receive your emails derive value from it and want to share that value with other people.

But, here’s the thing.

Email forwards aren’t a common occurrence, so don’t expect high numbers. Having a couple here and there is a good enough indicator of how good your content is.

Also, if you don’t get email forwards, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that you have a bad email campaign; it could be that your content was built for single consumption.

This also increases your exposure if your email is branded well and gives you access to new markets.

We look at email forwards as a confirmation if you have engaging content.

How to Increase Email Forwards?

The best way to increase your email forward rate is to ensure that you only put out valuable content.

Check out the campaigns you’ve executed in the past and determine which ones have the highest forward rate. This is an excellent indicator of what type of content works for the different audiences you cater to.

3. Open Rate

Your open rate translates to how many opens your emails get.

Its computation is pretty simple.

Number of emails opened ÷ Total Number of Emails Sent Out) * 100

Now, this is a critical metric to consider since it’s directly affected by three factors:

  1. Your subject lines
  2. The email preview
  3. And, your reputation based on prior interactions

You’ll notice a drop in your open rates if you fail to take these factors into consideration.

We like the open rate because it’s a good benchmark to see if your subject lines have been improving over time. The better your open rate, the more your subject lines resonate with your prospects.

Remember, what good is an excellent email if nobody gets to read its contents.

Improving Open Rates

A quick way to improve your open rates is to pay attention to your subject lines and your email preview text. It would be best if you thought of subject lines like title tags on websites, with the preview being the meta description.

Good subject lines attract eyeballs, while previews give them enough reason to click on your email.

Experiment with different types of copy and aim to split-test your email on a sample before going about your entire list en masse.

Here’s a quick note.

If nothing is working to improve your open rates, it might not be your subject lines but your targeting.

Take a step back, look at who’s on your list, and try segmenting it. Once you’re done doing that, start a new campaign and try again.

4. Bounce Rate

Your bounce rate is the rate at which emails don’t get to their target inboxes.

Basically, it’s how many “bounced off.”

You compute it by.

(Number of Emails That Have Bounced Off ÷ Total Emails Sent) * 100

Here’s what.

Your bounce rate doesn’t correlate to conversions, but it’s something you have to pay attention to if you want to ensure you have good email hygiene.

If your emails keep bouncing, it gives your mailbox a bad reputation prompting other ISPs to blacklist you. They might label you as a spammer and affect your future lead generation campaigns.

Furthermore, sending emails that don’t get to their recipient is horribly ineffective and a general waste of marketing resources.

How Do I Reduce Bounce Rate?

Make sure you practice good email hygiene.

It would help if you were running a bounce test on your email lists regularly.

Some of your recipients might have switched their emails, moved to new jobs, or just dropped out of your mailing list altogether.

Either remove them or find new contact information.

5. List Growth Rate

Your list growth rate measures how your mailing list has been growing over time, and it’s beneficial if you’re running a newsletter or an email subscription service.

Its computation is as follows.

((Number of Email Subscribers in Present – Number of Email Subscribers in the Past) ÷ Number of Email Subscribers in the Past)) * 100

Now you want to pay attention to your list growth rate if you’re really looking at growing your email subscribers base.

You want to keep growing this list, whether it be for lead generation or just plain nurturing.

Do note that more extensive lists don’t necessarily mean better ROI. It isn’t easy to create content for a larger following because there will be less personalization, and it might result in content not resonating with your prospect.

Also, there could be a chance that your growth might experience a slowdown or plateau in the future if the market becomes too saturated or if you’ve captured most of your market share.

How to Improve Your List Growth Rate

Don’t attempt to improve just your master list of emails. Make sure you’re improving separate segmented lists to maintain personalization and put out engaging content.

This will translate into better conversions and ROI in the long run.

Also, you’ll be able to build better relationships with personalization.

6. Unsubscribes

Pay attention to the number of people who unsubscribe to your emails because it tells you a lot about people’s interest in your emails.

This comes in handy if you’re running changes to your content or your marketing; if the number of your unsubscribed suddenly spikes, it is a general indicator that people didn’t like the changes you’ve made and that you have to adjust accordingly.

Having people unsubscribe to your emails isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

These things do happen, and over time some people do lose interest.

You can’t please everyone, especially in email newsletters that have a lot of people on the list.

Many marketers agree that unsubscribing to your emails is better than having your email sent to spam or having your address blocked because it doesn’t hurt your deliverability rate in the future.

How Do You Reduce the Number of People Unsubscribing?

If you really want to gauge people’s interest, you can do a double opt-in so that you’re sure that they want your emails coming through.

It’s inevitable that people will react to changes you make in your email marketing, so if you do want to make significant changes, you need to run an A/B test on samples of your list to prevent a mass unsubscribe just in case you’re not doing it right.

7. Opens by Device

If people are opening your emails, that’s great.

But, it’s also helpful to note where they’re opening their emails from.

If your emails are predominantly being opened on mobile devices, then you should aim to optimize your emails for mobile devices. If it’s on desktop, then make sure you’re optimizing for that.

Opens by Device plays a significant role in determining what type of designs you’ll be using, how your email will be structured, the length of your emails, and what types of CTAs you should be using.

Also while you’re at it, make sure you track how your other content types are being viewed. It doesn’t matter if it’s on Facebook or on LinkedIn, knowing how your audience behaves is essential to better campaigns.

8. List Growth Rate

Newsletters are standard tools that can be leveraged to increase growth, but they always have to be steadily growing for you to gain a larger market share and to combat the unsubscribe rate.

You need to pay attention to this rate to find out if your campaigns are increasing in value, stagnating or plateauing.

This is how you compute it:

((Number of New Subscribers ÷ Number of Unsubscribers) ÷ Total Number of Email Addresses in your list) * 100

How Do I Increase My List Growth Rate

Increasing your list growth rate doesn’t just mean improving your content.

You need to employ ways to minimize your unsubscribers while also making your email content available to more people.

Make sure you market to more people and have a campaign for increasing your new subscribers. You could have CTAs on your website inviting people to subscribe, promote on social media, or even offer an incentive for current subscribers to get their friends to join your list.

9. ROI

Lastly, we come to the bottom line, your ROI.

You take how much it’s cost you to write emails, create schedules, run the email CRM, and divide that by how much revenue was brought in through those activities to derive the ROI.

ROI tells you if the campaigns you’ve been running have actually made a difference in bringing in revenue.

It shows you if you’re genuinely efficient with your marketing resources and if your campaigns demand an audit to see what you can do to make them more effective.

However, some campaigns can deliver skewed ROIs.

For example, if you’re running a lead nurturing campaign for a slower B2B industry, you can’t just try to determine ROI in the middle of the campaign. You need to let the campaign run its course or have a footnote stating that it’s lead nurturing.

Newsletters are another point of conversation since it takes a long time before newsletters achieve decent ROI.

Make sure you still take all your other metrics into consideration while presenting your ROI.


Campaigns need proper targets and goals.

And that’s why tracking your email marketing KPIs is critical.

You need to know if you’re hitting your targets, being efficient and if your campaign is worth it.

For real growth hacking to be effective, it also has to be efficient.

And this is what these metrics track.

However, there is also the danger of setting KPIs that are unachievable.

You can’t do that.

You need to make sure that your goals are SMART.

Instead of shooting for the stars, they should be goals that you can navigate towards.

About the Author

The name's Houston Golden. I'm the Founder & CEO of BAMF — a company I've grown from $0 (yes, really) to well over $5M+ in revenue over a span of 5 years.

How did I do it? Well, it's quite simple, really. I've helped hundreds of business owners and executives get major traction (because when they win, we win), I tell all on this blog.

Growth hacking is a state of mind. Follow along as I explore and expose the unknown growth strategies and tactics that will change the way you think about marketing.
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