Email Open & Click Rates Are Overrated: 3 Ways To Dig Deeper On Your Email Marketing Campaigns

The days of only analyzing two metrics in your email marketing data - open & click rate - are over. Or at least they should be over! Why? Because while these benchmark metrics served us well for a while, they no longer encompass the full picture of what's going on with your email marketing campaigns. Plus, they probably weren't that accurate to begin with!

So what should you be analyzing alongside open & click rates to make sure you're getting the full 360-degree view you need to drive in great campaign results? Let's dive in!

But first! What's wrong with the accuracy of open & click rates?

If you're only looking at open and click rates to measure the success of your email marketing campaigns, you'll probably be surprised to know that these results may not be 100% accurate. Here's why:

Tracking Pixels

Your system only tracks an "open" once the tracking pixel on your email fires. But some email clients (like Microsoft Outlook) disable images by default. So there goes your tracking pixel! Other email clients (like Gmail) have very touchy spam filters that filter out emails with too many images - including your tracking pixel. Since "opens" are only tracked once your pixel is downloaded, users who check out your email in the preview pane aren't guaranteed to be accounted for in your metrics.

Apple iOS 15 Update

Apple iOS 15 rolled out in June 2021 and it's been skewing results ever since. The update includes Mail Privacy Protection that blocks third parties from tracking open rates. Plus, it conceals IP addresses. So what does this mean for your numbers? It means you might not be able to detect when an Apple user opens an email. So if you're an email marketer obsessed with your metrics, post iOS 15 it's a lot harder to be confident in the open rates you see.

 

So what should you be doing in addition to tracking your open & click rates?

Now that you know that open and click rates aren't the only metrics you should be monitoring, let's talk about how you can dig in to your data to find out where the drop-offs occur and what you can do to steer your email audience towards conversion.

Adding UTMs

Always add UTMs to your campaigns. Adding UTMs should come as second nature to marketers - they're the foundation of all well-crafted marketing campaigns. UTMs help measure your email campaign’s efficacy in a simplified manner. To keep it simple, be sure to name the campaign variable with the respective campaign you are running. Do that and you'll find it easy to discover which email brought in the most traffic or conversions.

Diving in to your visitor journeys

Determine whether your email goal and your subscribers’ behavior align. Are they taking the actions you want them to take? Are they smoothly going through your funnel? There are lots of ways to do this, but we like Oribi for its best-in-class journey mapping. 

Figuring out your visitor journey when they land on your site from an email is super important. Your visitors aren't just numbers. Dig into the data, and you'll see trends showing that they behave in certain ways. If your landing page isn't inspiring conversions and the visitor journey veers off course to other pages on your site, you need to get to the core of the issue. Maybe instead of clicking on the glaring landing page CTA button that you assumed would be so enticing, visitors are ending up on your FAQ page. This might mean the information on your landing page wasn't clear enough. So consider adding more info to your landing page, or even putting a CTA on your FAQ page. 

Crafting a great welcome email

When a user subscribes to be part of your mailing list, their intent is at an all-time high. Take advantage of this by creating the perfect welcome email that will drive the actions and conversions of your dreams.

You'll probably need to test a bit to hone in on your best-performing welcome email. That's where having a firm grasp on your UTMs and your visitor journeys will come into play. If you know the actions your new users perform from the get-go, you’ll have a clearer idea of what works and what's a waste of time.

Bottom line

No matter what you do, it's crucial to constantly check, analyze, test, and optimize your email marketing campaigns. Open and click rates don't show the 360 view, so if you're looking to get the most bang for your email marketing buck, be sure you're taking the steps above in addition to looking at your open and click-rate metrics.