Many marketers already know how to create and send email campaigns but may need to refine their skills when it comes down to understanding the performance metrics that follow.

When beginning a new email marketing campaign, it’s important to not only draft new content, but to reflect on how your past emails have performed. What worked and what didn’t? Without understanding your email’s basic metrics, you won’t be able to understand what your emails are doing for you.

It’s crucial to monitor these metrics to ensure your emails are on track and trending towards your campaign’s objectives.  To help you get started, we’ve gathered the top five metrics you need to know to understand your email marketing campaigns better.

1. Clickthrough rate. The most common email metric is clickthrough rate (CTR) which refers to the percentage of email recipients that clicked on one or more of your links in an email. CTR is among the most important email metrics to measure because it provides insights into the amount of people who are engaging with your content. By looking at your CTR, you can determine who is interested in learning more about your brand and what specifically they are interested in.

2. Conversion rate. To take CTR a step further, conversion rate is also an incredibly important metric to measure. The conversion rate is the number of email recipients that not only clicked a link from your email, but also took the desired next action. Once an email recipient has shown a history of clicking through on your emails, the next goal is to encourage them to act. This can include listening to a podcast, downloading an eBook or filling out a survey. Conversion rates demonstrate how successful your email campaigns really are with your recipients.

3. Bounce rate. When an email doesn’t make it to the intended inbox, it is included in the bounce rate. There are two kinds of bounces, hard bounces and soft bounces. Soft bounces occur because of a problem with a valid email address. Hard bounces occur when an email is sent to an invalid or non-existent email address. If you encounter any hard bounces, it’s important to immediately remove them, as they are a determining factor for internet service providers when assessing your reliability. Keep an eye on your bounce rate to ensure there are no underlying issues with your marketing lists.

4. Open rate. As the name indicates, the open rate is the percentage of email recipients who open your emails. Although this metric can have a positive impact, measuring open rates can be tricky. Any given email is only counted as opened if the recipient views the embedded images in your message. Unfortunately, many of your email subscribers likely have these images blocked, so even if they do open your email, it won’t be counted in your open rate. This metric is often not accurate but can be used effectively to show growth by comparing it to your own past open rates.

5. Unsubscribe rate. When someone is no longer interested in receiving your emails, they may unsubscribe. When this happens, they’re added to your unsubscribe rate. Like open rates, this metric isn’t an accurate representation of the pulse of your subscribers. Many people who are receiving emails that they do not want will simply leave them unopened and delete them instead of unsubscribing. To accurately measure subscriber engagement, look at your CTR and conversion rate. But you shouldn’t completely ignore your unsubscribe rate. Checking it once per month is helpful as a big picture check of your overall growth.

Happy Marketing!