Email Ambiguity – can you really test for that?
Your computer screen is zipping along with charts, graphs and numbers. So far so good, everything looks great. You believe the email campaign is a success, so many website visitors, even more than you had hoped for. Management is waiting for your report; how many people clicked on the yellow shoes, they ask – Clicked on the yellow shoes? You wonder, was I supposed to track that too?
It all comes down to using the right set of parameters and performance indicators, the key performance indicators (KPIs) to collect the data you need. It goes without saying, knowing the objective of the campaign (yellow shoe clicks) will allow you to choose the KPIs you believe will be the most useful to determine the success or failure of a campaign.
When you start reviewing which KPIs to use, it may seem a bit overwhelming, after all, you’re only trying to measure how well your email campaigns are doing and are they doing as well as you think. So why should you be concerned with which KPI’s to use? Because, the key performance indicator of success is your Conversion Rate.
Conversion rates are not standardized, organizations measure conversion rates differently from one another. For example, a real-estate company’s email campaign might base their success on the number of completed buyer profiles received, a shoe store may measure the number of clicks on their yellow shoe, while similar competing industries will have dissimilar conversion goals; such as opens compared to a success rate based on the number of unsubscribes in a mailing.
KPI’s are important because they:
- Assist with organizational objectives – what do you want to achieve?
- Are success indicators – Are your results comparable to your market and competitors?
- Are uniquely defined by the individual organization – Who, in your company defines the goals for your email marketing efforts?
The common types of Key performance indicators used in email marketing may describe strategic goals in terms of quantifiable parameters, which in turn will allow you to estimate the success of your email campaign. The common key performance indicators themselves, are not based on standardized formulas –the formulas used can be defined as needed
For example, there are at least two acceptable calculations for email Open rates; one based on delivered emails while the other based on total emails sent. Both formulas are very acceptable. What definition are the formulas then based on the actual click on an email, or when an image renders in an email client or when someone clicks on a link within the message?
Some commonly used Key Performance Indicators
- Churn Rate
- Click through rates
- Click to Open Rate
- Conversion Rate
- Delivery rate/percentage
- Email Bounce rate
- Email Open Rate
- Referrals/forwarded messages
- Number of sales versus number of new site visitors
- Shopping cart abandonment
- Spam complaints
In conclusion, there are many ways to measure a successful email campaign. The KPIs define a set of values to measure against. Selecting the right KPI’s is contingent on having a good understanding of the email campaign goal and expectations. However there a degree of ambiguity that comes into play, which may not be of concern if your numbers are going up, ROI is climbing, and your subscribers are happy.