Marketing Analytics Q&A: Exploring the Analytics Behind Email Marketing

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Exploring the Analytics Behind Email Marketing

I was discussing email marketing with my friend the other day, and he said that 20% – 30% email open rate is standard. That seems low! Do you have any insights on what’s normal?

Your friend is technically correct, however as with all analytics, context is critical. Email open rate is affected by many factors including:

– List quality/age/frequency of emailing
– Method of measuring open rates
– Industry
– Core messages/subjects/offers

According to Mailchimp, their analysis has given us a breakdown of average open rates/click through rates by industry, You can access that data here: Mailchimp Email Benchmarks

To improve your open rates and effectiveness, focus on doing the following:

  1. Always adding new emails to your list. Emails which have been on your list for a long time are likely to become stale eventually.
  2. Test subject lines between campaigns. Aim for subjects which are catchy and entice the reader to open to find out more.
  3. Show up consistently. Email every week, or every fortnight, or every month. If you just email ad-hoc, you won’t build up an expectation of you showing up.
  4. Potentially segment your list and send them specific offers/emails. For example, you could segment by location, purchase type, gender, etc. You might need to collect/merge extra data to do this.


Our emails often have clicks to our website, but we don’t know how to measure the visitors past that. Can you give us some tips?

It’s great that your emails get clicks to your website, but then what? What’s also important is what pages the users visit, if they purchase, contact you, etc. So how do you measure this?

The standard and best way if you use Google Analytics is to use UTM tracking. UTM tracking is a method of telling Google Analytics a little bit extra about a visitor when they arrive at your website. In the case of email marketing, it involves adding UTM tags as additional parameters at the end of your URLs that users click on. Some email software packages also add UTM parameters on automatically, or as an extra option in the settings.

To track your next email, I suggest you utilise UTM tracking parameters. There are three core parts you will be adding on to your URL:

utm_campaign – This refers to the name of the campaign, this might be the name of your campaign, e.g. “October Newsletter”.
utm_source – This is the referral source that the visitor came from – e.g. “MailChimp” or “buyerslist”.
utm_medium – This is the marketing channel that the visitor came from, in this case, it would be “email”.

Google has a tool to build UTM links which you can access here: Google URL Builder

How do you use this data?

This data ends up in the Acquisition > Campaigns section of Google Analytics. This allows you to view engagement on a per email basis, and for advanced users, allows you to segment your analytics data by users who just originated from that particular campaign. You can also see conversions by that campaign if they are defined in Google Analytics.

This is useful because you can then actually measure what those 30 or 100 users wanted to find on your website.

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