Email Metrics that Matter: Key Data for the Holiday Season

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Email Marketing

Holiday emailAs an email marketer in this day and age, you constantly face a barrage of data, metrics, and numbers for analyzing just how well your email campaigns are going. It’s easy to get caught up in the data, but there are some specific metrics to focus on that can give you the most accurate picture of where your campaigns are – and where they could be. This is especially true as we come into the holiday season, when the amount of email sent increases exponentially and the competition for inbox real estate gets stiff.

It’s always important to focus on your overall metrics (sent, delivered, opened, clicked, bounced, opt-out) in order to gain an understanding of how your campaigns are performing at the recipient level. This can help you to see where you may be having issues, and can assist in your marketing strategies going forward.

Focus on email opens and clicks

The most important factors are your open and click rates (which relay how people are engaging with your emails). These metrics provide the most “real” representation of your campaigns, as they track your recipients’ actions when they get your emails.

Personalized, targeted messages get more results

During the holidays, everyone is fighting to catch the recipient’s eye – this means that your emails need to stand out and entice the person to open and engage with them. Since a large percentage of people usually just scan email subject lines (up to 80% according to some studies) – it’s vital that your subject line sticks out in the crowd. See anything here that compels you to click?


Adding to this, when the body of the email (and/or the offer) is targeted and personalized, you’ll see more success than a generic reach-out email delivers. (In some instances, personalized emails have improved click rates by almost 15% and conversions by about 10% – this could make a lot of difference!). Various studies show one day (or time of day) as better than another for getting emails opened. Don’t make any assumptions based on industry (or anything else, for that matter). Test. Your company and your offer and your email recipients are a unique combination, and are new every iteration.

Mobile optimization is key

According to Litmus, close to half of all emails are opened on a mobile device. Depending on your target audience, product, and email type, mobile email will account for 15 to 70% of your email opens, says This means it’s imperative that your emails are adapted for mobile optimization. Make sure to test your emails on multiple devices to ensure that they display correctly, the calls-to-action are visible, and that your recipient doesn’t have to be scrolling every which way to read your emails. By adapting your emails to cater to mobile devices – and allowing recipients to access the information at their fingertips and on the go, you are increasing your chances of engagement and responses.

Watch the bounces and opt-outs

Additionally, pay close attention to your spam complaints and opt-outs, as they can make or break you during the holiday season. With the huge influx of emails that are being sent during this time period, the chances are higher that someone may get fed up and lodge a spam complaint against you. This can spell disaster if not taken care of immediately, as a damaged reputation and sender score may not recover for weeks. You want to keep your hard bounce rates under 1%, and your soft bounce rates under 10% (as a general rule of thumb). Keeping the bounces below these rates can help to ensure that your messages are being delivered successfully. Too many bounces in either category can lead to problems with your reputation, sender score, etc.

If you are tending to see more opt-outs than complaints, then it is a good idea to present your recipients with an option to opt-down, ensuring that they will still be an active recipient but don’t need to receive all of your emails (this helps during the holiday season – where companies tend to increase the frequency of their sends).

The opt-down option

Some years ago Forrester Research published a study about why people unsubscribe; not much has changed:

  • 71% of unsubscribes say they leave a list due to email frequency
  • 74% say they leave due to irrelevant messaging

holiday keyboard symbolized emailYou can address both these concerns with one customer-friendly preference center. Letting customers pick which topics they want to hear from you about makes targeting easier – and far more accurate. Letting them choose how often they want to hear from you means your email will be expected. And if they are so overwhelmed by holiday email that they’re ready to opt-out, this gives them the chance to opt-down instead (i.e., cut back frequency).

Heading down the long road into holiday marketing season, keep these metrics in mind as you navigate it. By paying attention to these, you can get a sense of where your campaigns are going; this insight will help you to plan your campaigns to maximize conversions, acquire new customers, and increase revenue.

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