Email marketing is an effective way to engage both potential clients and recurrent buyers. Keeping track of how well your email marketing messages are doing, is the key to turn a marketing strategy into business results.

Most email marketing blogs talk about keeping track of 4 obvious rates: bounce, opt-out, open, and click-through.

The first two metrics – bounce and opt-out rates- are indicators of your email list’s health; when high (above 5%), your list is either out-of-date (the email addresses are invalid) or not targeted enough (the content is of no interest to the recipient). Conversely, high open and click-through rates result from well-targeted emails (respectively, 15-20% and 5-10%).

Now, far more significant is the conversion rate: the rate of prospects who reach your landing page and accept the offer, whether it’s to download a free whitepaper, register for a webinar or buy a product.

But that’s not all…

1. Don’t calculate rates – calculate total numbers

First, a rate does not always reflect a business success – the total number of users that converted is far more crucial to business success than the ratio between the number of converters versus the total number of users. For instance, 200 conversions are better than 20 even if the first number might represent a lower conversion rate.

Lesson 1: move away from rates, embrace total numbers

2. Don’t calculate revenue – calculate profit

Second, even the total number of conversions might not be the most valuable business metric. For instance, a campaign promoting an expensive product might result in a better gross revenue even when the number of conversions is lower. For example, 20 conversions that generate gross generating of 2K each (40K total), are better than 200 conversions that bring only 0.1K each (20K total).

However, calculating total profit would be even better. If your e-commerce platform is connected to Google Analytics, the campaign’s revenue is calculated automatically (product’s price * the total number of products ordered).

To calculate profit, you need to upload the cost of your email campaigns by applying this formula:

Hours of labor * Hourly cost + Monthly cost of the email’s provider/number of monthly emails

Lesson 2: calculate the cost of a campaign to report profit rather than relying on revenue alone

Related: How to add Campaign Cost in Google Analytics – Step by step guide

3. Attribution modeling – estimate campaign influence

Third, in a multi-touch conversion path, users interact with a brand multiple times before converting; therefore, understanding how each touch-point help driving conversions is essential for campaign optimization.

In Google analytics select Conversions > Attribution to determine how many conversions the email campaign helped to generate. Also, don’t forget to test different attribution models to establish which one brings the highest ROI.
For instance, if an email campaign had the highest influence as Last Non-Direct Click, consider showing the email campaigns towards the end of a sale journey.

Lesson 3: Use Attribution Model to determine the Email Campaign Influence on Conversion

4. Content marketing – assign a value

In case you are sending people to a content page (download a PDF, sign up to a webinar), you need to assign a value to the content based on the sales you predict the content will generate. If you have no idea, assign a value of 1 (in your currency) as default. This value will be added to the Goal Conversion Value in GA.

To help you calculate the Goal Conversion Value, consider this formula:

% [conversions/total views] * Avg. order value
  • The Avg. order value is calculated using this formula:
  • [Total revenue – Content cost] / Number of orders
  • Total revenue is calculated using this formula:
  • [Total opportunity value – Content cost]

Lesson 4: Assign a Value to your micro-conversions

5. Long-term loyalty – annual ROI

After calculating the number of conversions that your piece of content helped generating, you should also calculate the campaign’s long-term influence. Create a segment of users whose source/medium is your selected email campaign and estimate the average lifetime of people that received your email(s).

  • Total number of active subscribers and the total profit they helped in generating
  • Total of email marketing profits/the average number of active subscribers = What an active subscriber will contribute in a year
  • The profit of an average active subscriber in a year X the average lifetime of an email address = email marketing lifetime value

6. Keep the best – Drop the rest

If there’s a definite bias towards a specific content, it would be worth investigating:

  • How did each email contribute to generating the expected conversion?
  • Why were people showing more interest in specific topics (for instance, seasonal offers rather than free content?)
  • Why have particular emails contribute more to the business profit than others?


Email marketing obvious metrics are a helpful first step to determine the overall health of your email list. But this is not enough as even a lower conversion rate might deliver a significant business result. Therefore, a marketing approach that focuses on identifying the business bottom line success is the right way to go. My recommendation is to calculate the overall profit, assign a value to your content marketing, and establish the short and long-term influence of your email marketing.

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