The 10 most important key figures in email marketing

Die 10 wichtigsten Kennzahlen im E-Mail-Marketing

The measurable success of your newsletterWe present you the 10 most important key figures in email marketing

The advantage in online marketing clearly lies in the measurability of the success of individual actions. In email marketing in particular, success can be measured more easily than in almost any other discipline. But what is actually considered successful? Which key figures in email marketing are really important? We have summarized the 10 most important key figures for you here.


You should know these 10 key figures.

Delivery rate

One of the important key figures in email marketing is the delivery rate. This indicates in percentage terms how many of the emails sent were actually delivered to the corresponding recipients. The delivery rate is thus the opposite of the bounce rate, which records the mails that did not arrive. The delivery rate should therefore be above 96 percent.

A poor reputation of the sending server can also have a negative impact on deliverability and lead, for example, to increased spam classifications. However, this is not included in the delivery rate, only the bounces. To ensure that newsletters do not end up in the spam folder, membership in the Certified Senders Alliance (CSA) is recommended. We at AGNITAS also guarantee a problem-free dispatch with a membership.

(Dispatch volume – Bounces) / Dispatch volume x 100 = Delivery rate (%)

Total open rate and unique open rate

The open rate indicates the percentage ratio between the number of openings and the number of delivered emails. The open rate is divided into the total open rate and the unique open rate. In the case of the total open rate, all openings are counted, even if a mail was opened several times by a recipient. With the unique open rate, only the first opening is taken into account, i.e. openers are counted.

To measure the opening rate, a so-called tracking pixel is integrated into the email as an image. The opening is only registered as such when it is downloaded – i.e. when the images in the mailing are loaded. However, this also poses a problem, as many email clients block the automatic downloading of images. Thus, the recorded open rate is usually lower than it actually is.

On average, the open rate should be between 20 and 25 percent. However, these values vary depending on the industry. If this value is significantly lower, the subject line should be checked again, because this is virtually the invitation to read the email. Care should also be taken to ensure that the sender’s email address is reputable.

Opening recipients / (sent quantity – bounces) x 100 = Unique opening rate (%)

Total click-through rate and unique click-through rate

Click-through rate is one of the most important metrics in email marketing, as it is an important indicator of the success of a campaign. By clicking on a link, the recipient is taken to further actions on their own website or perhaps to a social media channel.

As with the open rate, a distinction is made here between the unique and the total click rate. With the total click rate, all clicks are counted, regardless of how often a recipient has used various links. These are set in relation to the number of emails delivered. With the unique click rate, on the other hand, only the recipient’s first click on a link is counted. Thus, only one click per recipient is counted and thus determines the number of clickers. The click-through rate is measured by tracking the links in the mailing.

A good click-through rate depends on several factors as well as the objective. With a raffle, you will certainly generate a much higher click-through rate than with a purely informational newsletter, in which it may not even be necessary to click on anything at all. But you can also contribute to the success of the newsletter with the design. In principle, the newsletter should be designed in such a way that the call-to-action acts as a target and is as eye-catching as possible. The average unique click rate is around 1-2 percent.

Clicking recipients / (mailing volume – bounces) x 100 = Unique click rate (%)

Effective click rate

The effective click rate can be used to calculate how well the content of a newsletter was received by recipients. This value, also known as the click-to-open rate, puts the clicks in relation to the number of mails opened.

Ideally, the effective click rate should be between 10 and 40 percent. If the value is significantly lower, it can be assumed that the content of the newsletter does not meet the expectations of the recipients. Of course, the intention of the mailing and a good design with eye-catching call-to-actions also play a role here.

Clicking recipients / opening recipients x 100 = Effective click rate (%)

Conversion rate

For every newsletter campaign, a goal should be defined beforehand. The conversion rate indicates how often this previously defined goal was actually achieved or how many related actions occurred. In the case of the conversion rate, the goals are usually linked to the company’s own website, which can be, for example, the download of a white paper or the placing of an order.

The conversion rate is determined by many professional email marketing applications such as AGNITAS EMM. Alternatively, it can also be determined with the support of web analytics software such as Google Analytics. An average conversion rate ranges between 0.1 and 0.3 percent.

Conversions / (quantity sent – bounces) x 100 = Conversion rate (%)

Bounce rate

Bounces are undeliverable emails, i.e. emails that are returned. The bounce rate is therefore the percentage of undelivered emails in relation to the total number of emails sent. This can thus be regarded as the counterpart to the delivery rate.

Bounces are differentiated between hard and soft bounces. In the case of hard bounces, the email cannot be delivered in principle because, for example, it does not (no longer) exist or is faulty. These are usually sorted out automatically after three unsuccessful delivery attempts. Softbounces are temporary delivery problems. For example, the recipient’s mailbox may be full or the server may be unavailable at the time.

The bounce rate is determined by the incoming mail servers returning an error code to the dispatch tool, which indicates whether it is a soft or hard bounce. High bounce rates (above 2-4 percent) indicate an outdated mailing list. In order not to jeopardize the deliverability of other emails, the mailing list should be cleaned up regularly. If providers frequently receive bounces from the same sender, this can have a negative impact on the reputation of the sending server and thus on delivery.

Bounces / quantity sent x 100 = Bounce rate (%)

Complaint rate

The complaint rate, indicates how often your newsletter has been declared as spam. As a sender, you receive feedback from some Internet service providers such as AOL, Yahoo or Hotmail through so-called feedback loops if a newsletter was marked as spam by the recipient. These email recipients are placed by the providers on a complaint list that cannot be viewed.

The complaint rate is important in this respect, as it can jeopardize the sender’s good reputation if it is too high and thus also the deliverability and whitelisting. In the worst case, you can end up on the provider’s blacklist and the mailings will no longer be delivered at all. The complaint rate should therefore be below 0.5 percent – however, this can hardly be recorded completely, as not all providers offer feedback loops. Therefore, it is better to offer an easy-to-find and visible unsubscribe link and not risk the recipient clicking on spam to get rid of the newsletters.

Complaints / (Dispatch volume – Bounces) x 100 = Complaint rate (%)

Unsubscribe rate

The unsubscribe rate indicates the proportion of recipients who do not wish to receive any further newsletters. The unsubscribes from the mailing list due to the newsletter are set in relation to the delivery volume.

As a rule, the unsubscribe rate should be below 1 percent. If the unsubscribe rate is significantly higher, the delivery frequency should be reduced somewhat. However, also check the relevance of the content for the relevant target group. A form in the unsubscribe process can help to find out the reasons for the unsubscribes. However, it is normal for individual customers to unsubscribe from time to time, as interests also change. In addition, customers who do not read your newsletter only worsen the opening rate etc. unnecessarily.

Unsubscribes / (mailing quantity – bounces) x 100 = unsubscribe rate (%)

Depending on the functional scope of your newsletter tool, most of the key figures can already be read out here. In addition, the connection of a web analytics software can provide even more key figures.

Where do I get the key figures?

Depending on the functionality of your newsletter tool, most of the key figures can already be found here. In the E-Marketing Manager (EMM), for example, you will find all the key figures explained here. Besides, the connection of a web analysis software can provide even more key figures.

In addition to the key figures presented here, there are other key figures in email marketing. We would be happy to show you in an individual online demo which figures you can record and evaluate with the EMM.

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With E-Marketing Manager (EMM), AGNITAS offers intuitive marketing automation software for creative multi-channel campaigns via email, web push, SMS, fax and print. The award-winning software meets individual data protection requirements as an in-house or SaaS solution and flexibly adapts to customer needs. From open source to high-end, there is a suitable variant for every budget.

When Martin Aschoff founded the company in 1999, AGNITAS was a pioneer of email marketing in Germany. Today, AGNITAS is one of the most renowned and innovative providers of high-quality marketing automation software, which is used around the world for customer-oriented communication.


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