Who would’ve imagined that when you first opened an ecommerce store you’d care so much about metrics? Open rates, click rates, unsubscribe rates … at first it sounds enough to drive you crazy when all you really want to do is sell.

However, if you want to take your ecommerce store onto the next level (or even if you just want it to stay afloat), you need to get smart about both, email marketing and email marketing metrics.

There tend to be two distinct types of online entrepreneurs:

  1. Those who love metrics
  2. Those who hate metrics!

If you’re not such a big fan of metrics, I’m going to show you in this article why metrics matter, how to use them – and why they’re so easy to fall in love with.

Put it this way: Making your first online sale is awesome. Ask any online entrepreneur how they felt when they made that first sale, and they’ll tell you how joyous they felt. It was an amazing feeling. That first sale drives us to keep going: it tells us that what we’re doing is worth it because, if one customer bought from us, more will surely buy from us.

Email marketing metrics create a similar feeling of excitement. When you can see how many people are opening your emails and buying into your promotions, you feel a little bit giddy.

I’m going to get into the meat of email marketing metrics very soon, but first …

Get your free copy of 120+ Email Marketing Resources

Why Are Email Marketing Metrics So Important For eCommerce Store Owners?

Email marketing itself is incredibly important to the success of your online business. It’s still the best way to build up a loyal customer base which you can easily reach out to with newsletters, updates, promotions, discounts and so on.

Once you’ve established enough trust with your subscribers and positioned yourself as an authority in your niche, you can then start selling to your subscribers. And if they’re engaged subscribers who love what you do, they’ll keep coming back for more.

So how should you measure your email marketing success? This is where email marketing metrics come in.

Email marketing metrics sound a bit confusing at first, especially if you’ve never got into metrics before – or never even imagined you’d get into metrics. But metrics are nothing more than measurements that help you understand what you are doing right with your email marketing campaigns, as well as what you are doing wrong.

Email marketing metrics give you an invaluable insight into which type of emails are being opened and which ones are left ignored. They give you a better understanding of which subject lines are working and which ones aren’t. They even let you know which emails are converting, as well as how many people have unsubscribed this week.

They also let you know when you’ve crossed a line and people are reporting you for spam.

So let’s dig and see which of those are most important.

Open Rate

We’ll start with the simplest, but one of the most important metrics — the open rate.

The open rate is self-explanatory, and refers to the percentage of your subscribers who have been encouraged by a catchy subject line to open a particular email.

While the metric is a piece of cake to understand, achieving a high open rate is less easy.

Check out this data from MightySkins, who found that mentioning certain brand names can boost open rates more than mentioning their own name:


The click rates are largely unchanged because the content in the emails is the same. But interestingly the open rate takes off when MightySkins removed their name and focused instead on another brand.

If you read any book on copywriting, they’ll tell you that the best subject lines either arouse curiosity or provide a benefit to the reader. A subject line should also be short, punchy, and it needs to avoid spam-related words, such as FREE and CASH. Read more about the subject lines.

These types of words can be filtered out by spam filters, and will damage your open rates.

For ecommerce that sells apparel, accessories, books and small tech-gadgets, the average open rate of promotional  email campaign is 18.8%. (Omnisend, 2016)    

Click Through Rate

The click through rate refers to how many people opened your email and then clicked on at least one link within.

If you delivered 100 emails to 100 recipients, and 10 of these recipients clicked on at least one link, your click through rate would be 10%.

The click through rate is what many seasoned email marketers use to govern how healthy their campaign is. It’s easy to understand a metric that shows you how interesting an email was to the reader.  

The average click rate for ecommerce is 3.82%. (Omnisend, 2016)     

Conversion Rate

When you send emails, what are your goals? If a reader completes your desired goal, you have achieved a conversion. In most of the cases, it’s a purchase.

It’s easy to calculate the conversion rate. Let’s say you sent out 10,000 emails. Out of these 10,000 emails, 20 subscribers completed your desired goal. This gives you a conversion rate of 0.2%. The average conversion rate of promotional emails in ecommerce is 0.17%. However, if automated welcome, cart recovery or other kind of emails are sent, this number is significantly higher. What number to expect, see in Omnisend infographic.

The biggest majority of email service providers do not provide sales reports and conversion rate metric without additional integrations and coding. At this point Omnisend has a big advantage. Due to our seamless integration with ecommerce platforms (Shopify, Bigcommerce and Tictail), Omnisend is able to provide reports of sales and conversion rates of each separate email campaign. So you can easily see how well each of your campaigns perform and compare it with former ones.

Conversion rates are crucial to understand how healthy your email marketing campaign is. The more conversions you have, the more you can be sure your campaign is helping to grow your store.

Bounce Rate

In email marketing metrics, bounce rate has a different meaning than in Google Analytics. Whereas bounce rate in relation to your website refers to how quickly a site visitor got the heck out of there, in email marketing this metric refers to the percentage of your emails that failed to reach their destination.

In other words, something prevented an email from reaching a recipient’s inbox.

This could be due to different reasons:

  • a recipient has a full inbox (soft bounce)
  • an email address no longer exists (hard bounce)
  • the domain (email ending after @) does not exist (hard bounce);
  • the server is not accepting emails (hard bounce);
  • the address is mistyped (name@example.cam instead of name@example.com, etc.) (hard bounce)

If you get hard bounces, remove those addresses from your list ASAP. Read more about bounce rate and why it can be a real troublemaker.

Spam Rate

Uh-oh. If your spam rate starts to rise, you’re running into trouble.

Spam rate refers to how many people you’re annoying. Essentially, individuals are flagging your emails as spam. Not cool.

However, 0.1% is a reasonable spam rate. Anything more than that needs to act as a red flag, causing you to rethink and clean your email list. A big complaint rate might spoil your sender’s reputation, which means, that your future emails will not be delivered to the recipients.

Fortunately, it’s easy enough to get around spam.

  • For one thing, always ask for permission before emailing someone.
  • Secondly, let people know what to expect from your future emails.
  • Thirdly, despite being an eCommerce business, don’t include an offer in every single email.

Unsubscribe Rate

The unsubscribe rate is nowhere near as bad as it first sounds.

As you build up your email list, there will be people who unsubscribe. But that’s okay. It happens. It’s highly likely that you’ll offer a free gift if people subscribe to your list in the first place. And you know what? Some people are simply here for the free gift. Once they’ve received it, they’ll unsubscribe.

Anyone who is left on your subscribers list is likely to be your engaged follower— and these are the people you need to care about.

Think you could love metrics a bit more now? Not so hard to understand, are they? Check out our website for more metric-related stuff and tips on how to boost your email marketing campaigns!

About the Author:

This blog post is written by Michelle Deery from Heroic Search. She specializes in writing about ecommerce.

Get your free copy of 120+ Email Marketing Resources