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How to leverage metrics to optimize your email channel and do more with less

With the right strategy, content can be the perfect indicator of relevance, guiding you to create powerful personalised customer experiences.

Are you making the most of your email marketing channel? Here we take a closer look at the alphabet soup of metrics – such as open rate (OR), click-through-rate (CTR) and click-to-open rate – to show how email can help brands achieve more with less. This includes using content as an indicator of relevance, enabling marketers to create personalised customer experiences.

Make email campaign measurement part of your brand’s wider plans. Before addressing the subject of metrics, smart email marketers consider how measurement plays into their wider marketing strategy. Understanding where a brand currently sits and where it wants to go —and how individual outcomes play into that —helps to determine which metrics are good for now, and which will be critical later. 

In a nutshell. Brands need to take small initial steps to avoid confusion. For example, figuring out what you are measuring, and why. It’s great to have every single email metric at your fingertips (and there are plenty of great partners who will provide them), but it unnecessary to throw the whole kitchen sink at a problem that can be solved with a simple glass of water. If you don’t understand every bell and whistle, it can be counterproductive to try and analyse them. Marketers need to be sure they understand what they want to measure, and who’s responsible for helping them interpret the data once it has been generated. 

Download Epsilon’s Email Marketer’s Guide to Bulls**t Metrics which reveals the strengths and weaknesses of key performance indicators. It also further expands on ideas mentioned in this blog, including building your overall email marketing strategy, tactics and outcomes.  

Deeper dive. The following five steps can help any brand tame the metrics monster, so they can leverage performance indicators to boost their email campaigns: 

  1. Define what’s important to your business success. Not all metrics are important for all email programmes. 
  2. Align KPIs to the right areas of the business. For instance, CEOs care about broad strokes and the bottom line. CMOs are going to be motivated by granular insights, while marketers are driven by campaign performance.  
  3. Define your metrics methodology and keep it consistent over time. You will then be able to compare like with like and plot performance over time. 
  4. Draw a line in the sand. Benchmarking against the industry is like aiming for a C grade in school. Hypothesize your brand’s success and chase those numbers instead by benchmarking against yourself.  
  5. Grow continuously. Your database matters, and subscriber health will define your business success by driving innovations to your approach. An increase in data and granularity will enable you to continuously analyse your email marketing performance, evolving customer insights from vague to hyper specific. 


Metrics matter, but they’re not all equal. Epsilon’s Email Marketer’s Guide to Bulls**t Metrics analyses eight of the most important performance indicators rating them out of five in the following key areas: 

  • Reliability – how a metric stands up against fraud and inflation 
  • Individual contribution – how robust a metric is on its own? 
  • Availability – how easy a metric is to use and interpret without a sophisticated tech stack? 
  • Insight driving – the extent a metric can influence future decisions 
  • Testing value – can a metric indicate winners and losers during a test? 
  • Individual/aggregate – is a metric best at measuring personalization efforts or for broader insight? 

The bottom line: First order KPIs measure an email’s ability to deliver on subscriber expectations. If you really want to optimize your email channel, however, and do more with less, deeper levels of measurement will reveal how effective your campaigns are and how well your overall strategy grows and retains those precious relationships.