What Are Email Metrics?


Email marketing is a tool. But what makes email marketing such a powerful tool is the ever-increasing development of sophisticated email marketing software which now allows you to track measurable statistics – or ’email metrics’ – such as open rates, clicks and click-through rates, bounces and unsubscribes. But what are email metrics, and how should they be utilised?

Open Rates

The benefits of HTML code let email marketers know when their email has been opened. Not only does it indicate that your email has been successfully received, but it can also give you an indication of when your recipients check their emails. But bear in mind that not all email domains are compatible with HTML, and some users still prefer their emails in a text-only version. Similarly, emails opened haven’t necessarily been read properly, if read at all. For this reason, open rates are usually the most popular email metrics but not necessarily the most reliable.


Click-through rates tell you how many of your recipients clicked on a link once they opened the email. This can give you a better assessment of how successful your email content was because it would suggest that the recipient has read your email in order to click on the link provided. As a result, click-through rates should always be a priority when tracking email metrics. Strategic positioning of links can also allow you to gauge how much recipients are prepared to read in order to reach a link.


Bounces are the means of detecting ‘bad’ email addresses in your list. If an address has been spelled incorrectly, the email will bounce and notify the sender. A hard bounce indicates that the email address is either spelled incorrectly or no longer exists, and a soft bounce indicates that the delivery has been rejected because of a temporary problem such as a full inbox or server problem.

It’s essential that bounced emails are acted on immediately due to legal reasons, and most email marketing software will remove the bad addresses instantly. This is known as ‘list hygiene’ or ‘list quality’.


It is crucial that any unsubscribes are removed from lists within ten days. Emails sent after this period will break anti-spam laws. Most email marketing software will also remove unsubscribed email addresses instantly. Monitoring unsubscribes allows you to recognise problems with your email campaigns early, as a growing trend in unsubscribes can signal pivotal problems which need addressing.