Email Marketing Analytics: Your 5 Most Important Metrics

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Email marketing is the targeting of people through the sending of email. Email marketing is typically used by online course businesses to help warm prospects to the idea that they (and their brand) are a top authority in the course subject matter and expose prospects to the courses offered.

Email marketing is one of the top methods for generating traffic back to your site because it’s your own traffic channel. Traffic from most any other method is subject to algorithm and/or rule changes.

In addition, email marketing has one of the highest conversion rates of any other strategy. Through email marketing, subscribers on your email list become familiar with you, your brand, and what you offer. This article covers the top 5 most important metrics for email marketing analytics.

There are countless metrics you can track when analyzing the success of your email marketing campaigns. For starters, you’ll want to review how well you’re converting visitors who land on your site into email subscribers.

It’s common for many sites to see a very low visitor to subscriber conversion rate. You can typically increase your conversion rate by offering one of many different types of lead magnets targeted specifically to entice visitors to subscribe.

Table of Contents

Once you have subscribers, you should consider the following five email marketing strategies when tracking your metrics:

1. Click-Through Rate

What is it?

The click-through rate or CTR is the percentage of your subscribers that have received the email and subsequently clicked on the links embedded in the email. After all, if you’re trying to get your subscribers to a web page, like your course enrollment page and they won’t even take a look at it, you’re not getting anywhere.

Calculating the CTR:

To calculate the click-through rate, you’ll use the total number of unique clicks and divide this number by the total of emails that have been delivered. Then, multiply by 100 to calculate the percentage.

Click-Through Rate Formula:

(# of clicks / # of delivered emails ) x 100 = Click-Through Rate

Example of CTR:

If you’ve received 200 total clicks, you’ll divide this by the total delivered emails, say 5,000. Then multiply this number by 100. You’ll end up with a 4% click-through rate:

(200 clicks / 5,000 emails) x 100 = 4% Click-Through Rate

The click-through rate is one of the most important metrics to track when sending email. This number will allow you to analyze the performance of each email that you send. As you continue to track the click-through rate, you’ll be able to watch your progress over time, making changes to help boost the click-through rate.

The click-through rate is also used when analyzing results for A/B tests that allow you to improve the effectiveness of your email marketing. Improving your click-through rate will simultaneously help you improve your engagement. With the right strategies, you’ll be able to boost your email click-through rate and reach more of your subscribers.

2. Conversion Rate

What is it?

The email marketing conversion rate is the percentage of subscribers that click through a link in your emails, ultimately resulting in the completion of the desired action. This action can include filling out a form, purchasing a product, or something similar.

Calculating the Conversion Rate:

To calculate your conversion rate, take the number of individuals that have completed the action and divide this by the number of emails that have been delivered. Then, multiply this number by 100.

Conversion Rate Formula:

(# of people who completed the action / # of emails delivered) x 100 = Conversion Rate

Example of Conversion Rate:

If you have 30 people that have completed the action, divide this number by the number of emails, let’s say 1,000, that were delivered. Calculate the percentage by multiplying this number by 100.

(30 / 1,000) x 100 = 3% Conversion Rate

As you send out emails to invite people to sign up for your course, the number of people that convert are the ones that have followed through and actually enroll in the course.

The conversion rate is directly tied to your call-to-action, which makes it one of the more important factors in email marketing analytics. You’ll want to create tracking URLs for all email links to help you effectively measure your conversion rate.

3. Open Rate

What is it?

The email marketing average open rate measures the percentage of recipients that have opened your email.

Calculating the Open Rate:

Calculating the open rate depends on a few different things:

  • The email can be considered “open” if the images inside the email are enabled in a preview pane or as part of the full view.
  • The recipient of the email clicks a link.

To calculate the open rate, you must use the number of opens, then divide it by the total of non-bounce emails. Then, multiply this number by 100 for the percentage.

Open Rate Formula:

(# of tracked opens / # of non-bounce emails) x 100 = Open Rate

Example of Open Rate:

If 100 emails have been tracked as opened, you’ll divide this number by the emails that didn’t bounce, let’s say 800. Multiply that number by 100 and you have an open rate of 12.5%.

(100 / 800) x 100 = 12.5% Open Rate

Using the total of non-bounce emails will allow you to determine the true strength of your content’s deliverability. Emails that are undeliverable (bounced emails) can never be opened, so they must be excluded from the open rate.

While the open rate is one of the more essential email marketing KPIs, calculating your true open rate can be complicated, as you may actually have a higher open rate than the percentage you’ve calculated. This is due to the fact that many people scan their emails without the images enabled, thus the message is read, but it isn’t always recorded as part of the open rate.

While it may seem like a good idea to send text-only emails, these emails aren’t trackable until the recipient replies. While including images may reduce your open rate, using email marketing best practices will allow you to measure and improve your email open rate.

4. Bounce Rate

What is it?

Bounce rate is the total number of emails that are not successfully delivered.

Calculating the Bounce Rate:

Using the total amount of bounced emails, divide this number by the total of emails sent. Then, calculate the percentage by multiplying the number by 100.

Bounce Rate Formula:

(# of total bounced emails / # of emails sent) x 100 = Bounce Rate

Example of Bounce Rate:

If 50 emails bounced out of the 1,000 emails you’ve sent, you’ll divide 50 by 1,000, then multiply the number by 100.

(50 / 1,000) x 100 = 5% Bounce Rate

When tracking bounced emails, you will notice that you have “soft” and “hard” bounces. Soft bounces occur when there is a temporary issue such as a problem with a working email address, a problem with your recipient’s server, or a full inbox. In these situations, the recipient’s server will likely hold the emails until the issue is resolved. Alternatively, you can send these emails again until they go through.

Emails sent to a non-existent, closed, or invalid email address are considered hard bounces and they will never be delivered. Moving forward, you’ll want try your best to avoid bouncing emails, as you may be incorrectly flagged as a spammer. Be sure to remove invalid email addresses as soon as possible.

5. Email Forwarding/Sharing Rate

What is it?

The email forwarding or sharing rate focuses on the percentage of people that have shared or forwarded the email via a “forward” or “share this” button within the email.

Calculating the Email Forwarding/Sharing Rate:

Calculate the email forwarding/sharing rate by dividing the total number of forwards/shares by the total of delivered emails. Calculate the percentage by multiplying the number by 100.

Email Forwarding/Sharing Rate Formula:

(# of forwards or shares / # of delivered emails) x 100 = Email Forwarding/Sharing Rate

Example of Email Forwarding Rate:

If you’ve receive 100 forwards or shares via the button in your email, you’ll divide this number by the total emails that were delivered, say 1,000. Then, multiply the number by 100 to get the percentage.

(100 / 1,000) x 100 = 10% Email Forwarding/Sharing Rate

Paying attention to the rate of recipients that forward or share your emails is important because this is how you will generate new contacts. Your recipients are already part of your mailing list, so you need to get new contacts in any way you can. While conversion of recipients is equally as important, you still need to focus on bringing in new leads with your email marketing. As you track this metric, be sure that you are encouraging others to share and forward your content within the email.

Understanding What to Track with Email Marketing

The difference between aimlessly tracking metrics and intentionally tracking metrics is knowing what you’re looking for. Analytics will show you exactly how effective your email marketing is. By determining where your current email marketing campaigns are lacking and deciding what you’d like to achieve through your future campaigns, you’ll have a better idea at what KPIs and analytics you should be using.

Start the process of analyzing past metrics and re calibrating for future campaigns by benchmarking your current performance. Compare your click-through rates, open rates, bounce rates, and the like. Calculate averages of these metrics over a period of time to see where your highest numbers are. Once you’ve established a pattern, start setting goals for future campaigns.

For example, if a particular email had a higher open rate than any other, it’s a good idea to analyze why the open rate was so high. Perhaps the open rate was so high due to the way you worded your subject line. Similarly, look at the emails with higher conversion rates. Is it possible that certain subject line or copy within the email was more enticing than another? These are the things you must consider when reviewing analytics and preparing for future email campaigns. Use these emails as reference points for all future emails to ensure that you’ll see the same success on a consistent basis.

Lisa Parmley
Lisa Parmley

Lisa Parmley is the founder of After gaining a Master's degree, she worked in research for about seven years. She started a training company in 2001, offering a course helping people pass a professional exam. That course has earned multiple 7 figures. She created SEO and authority site building training around 2007 which went on to earn well into the 6-figure mark.

She has 22+ years of experience in the trenches creating and selling online courses. Get help starting and growing your online course business here.

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