Analytics is a vital part of any email campaign. Creating and building an effective email can be time consuming and difficult but it’s the analytics that can help you create more effective campaigns in the future. By looking at your analytics you can see what works and what doesn’t, and then amend subject lines and copy to get the most out of your emails.
How It Works
Email tracking analysis is done by adding a short piece of code that produces a single pixel image in the HTML email that the recipient downloads from the email system server. Each time your HTML email is opened the single pixel image is downloaded it registers the email as opened by that individual. These single pixel images only work in HTML, not text only emails because you obviously cannot add images to them. You can still track clicks from plain text emails but you will have no idea of the total number of emails opened.
The open rates will generally be the first number you look at during an email campaign. The open rate can show you how effective your subject line is because if if the subject line was interesting or intrigued the recipient then they are likely to open the email. For a whole campaign the open rate is not vital but it is well worth noting so that you can assess how different subject lines have performed.
Many email clients, such as Outlook and Hotmail, now block images automatically and put placeholders in their place until the recipient chooses to download the images. This means that if the recipient doesn’t download the images the tracking pixel will also not be downloaded and it will not register as an open unless they then click on a link.
Bounces are undelivered email that were not able to make it to their recipients. This is mostly due to the email no longer existing because the person you are trying to react have left the company or the company itself has changed. Bounces are a good indication of how up to date your database is and it is recommended to follow up bounced emails, where possible, to obtain who the emails should be sent to in the future.
Click Through Rates
More often then not you will you provided with the “Total number of Clicks”, but you must have the functionality to views these clicks individually. The total number of click obviously included all the linked that were clicked on and this includes the “view online” and unsubscribe links. Although your reports might tell you there were 250 clicks, if 200 of those were to unsubscribe then your perceived success would be inaccurate.
In an email you might have more than one calls to action (links to your main goal/website) and you want to track each one individually so that you know which links have been popular. If you have multiple links that take the recipient to the same website then looking at which link received the most clicks helps you understand which locations for the link are the most effective.
When it comes to email campaigns it’s all good and well having great open and click through rates but the most important analysis it the conversion. An email campaign should always have an end goal of achievement, this could be anything from a sale of a product to an article read/downloaded. For this reason is it vital to also have some sort of web analytics attached to your website so that you can track user activity on you site.
To track your conversions all the links in your email need to be tagged with the relevant code so that people arriving to your site from email will be registered as doing so. Once you have your goals set up in your website analytics you with then be able see how many of your achieved goals came from your email campaigns.
Although it’s a result you don’t want you need to provide your recipient’s with the option to unsubscribe from your emails. Just as if you were looking at open and clicks to see if your emails are effective the same should be done with your unsubscribes. If you have a lot of unsubscribes from one particular email it indicates that something you did with that email might be wrong and people see it as potential spam.
Your Analytics History
Once an email campaign is complete the result are used to assess the success of it but then forgotten. The analytics of your previous email campaigns contain some of the best market research you can have on your audience.
Analytics from your previous email campaigns should always influence your future campaigns. Use them to gauge what was successful and what wasn’t, then use that when writing new emails to make sure you get the best results. Previous email analytics also allow you to create more personalised emails and target individuals that have shown interest in certain products or articles.