by Adam Kościelak Apr 17, 2018

Preparing and submitting your campaign is one part of success in email marketing. To improve the sending results you need to learn from your previous experiences. This article will help you with evaluating your campaign results.

Once you send your campaign you can analyze its results by using our tools. The Reports screen gives you all kinds of details about the messages you have submitted. The most important thing you should check is your open rate, your Click Rate, and your Bounce and Complaint Rates.

Click and Open Rate

High opens and clicks means that your campaign was successful and your user base is engaged with your emails. Low opens means that something is amiss. In most cases, this is a problem with your contact list - your campaigns are sent to non-engaged users, to people who never signed up for your offers or to contacts that you emailed a long time ago.

For marketing campaigns, you should look for double-digit results when it comes to your open rate, 10% is positive, while 15-30% is considered a good score. Click rates are more tricky as not all emails may need to include a call to action button, however, 4-6 % is considered the industry standard.

Keep in mind that in order to count opens as opens, your recipient must display images and the email must be an HTML email. If you are sending plain-text emails, you will not be able to track open rates.

Bounce Rate

The other important statistics are bounce and complaint rates. Bounced emails are messages that have been rejected by the recipient server - they never touched the inbox. There are plenty of reasons for bounces - but the one that you should be looking for most is emails rejected due to sending to non-existent mailboxes.

In Elastic Email, we call them “No Mailbox” bounces - addresses that received this error are automatically placed on your Invalid address list and we suppress future emails sent to these recipients. But if you are using other mail systems, you should remove them manually.

A high invalid address rate means that your contact list has serious problems. Most likely, you obtained the email addresses without user permission or the list is very old. Email addresses churn regularly, and people tend to abandon their email addresses. In Elastic Email, we have a hard-line - maximum allowed rate for invalid addresses is 10%, however, good senders should have a 0.1 - 2% rate.

There are several other reasons for bounced emails - each is important and each highlights different problems with sending.

You may be sending messages to full mailboxes - if you continue to receive this error over and over again then it is a clear indication that the user abandoned their email address. This is an indication that the email address needs to be removed from your Contact Lists.

If you receive an error that your email looks like spam - then it’s time to analyze the content of your emails and sending domain. Make sure you do not use blacklisted links or send them from a blacklisted domain.

IP Reputation issues show up when you send unsolicited messages or send blacklisted content. Make sure your emailing practices are good and you will not encounter this error. If you follow all of the email sending rules and still encounter this issue, please contact the operator of your IP to resolve the issue.

SPF Problems or Sender Problems happen when your sending address is not configured correctly - in most cases, it is rejected due to a lack of validation of the sender domain. There may be other reasons, so do not hesitate to contact your customer support for more help.

Connection error bounces occur when you send to email servers that are not suited to receive emails - for example, when they have a non-operative mail server. If you receive them continuously, you should remove these addresses from your sending lists.

Your overall bounce rate should be below 5%. Closer to zero means that your campaigns and sending habits are better.

Complaint and Unsubscribe Rate

Complaints mean that your user reported your message as spam. Complaints are generated when you send emails to people who never signed up to receive them when you send non-related content or you send too many emails to the recipient. High complaint rates mean problems with your sending lists or content. Sometimes the user wants to unsubscribe but cannot find an obvious link to do this in the email so they just mark the email as spam - including a highly-visible opt-out link that may help. As in the case of high invalid addresses, this can be an indication of using old lists or sending emails to non-confirmed users. Elastic Email allows up to a 0.1% complaint to all sent emails rate and up to 3% complaints to open rate.

The last statistic provided on the Reports screen is your Unsubscribe rate. It does not have an impact on your sending capabilities or reputation. It is information about how your contacts find your emails. Unsubscribing is a natural process - some users may no longer be interested in your newsletters so they opt-out. In this case, it is actually a good thing - Unsubscribe means the end of the relationship essentially. Without the option to opt-out, users will just mark your emails as spam. Unsubscribe rates between 0% and 1% are considered normal. If you continue to have a higher rate, then you may need to review your content and amend it to be more relevant. Elastic Email provides you with an option to check the unsubscribe reason - it can give you insight into why people say goodbye to you. If you are using other systems - you can try to gather feedback by adding surveys or forms to your unsubscribe page.

Multi-campaign analysis

After sending several campaigns, you should analyze your overall results and contact engagement. Some of your recipients may not open any of your campaign emails - this is an indication that they may not find your offers interesting or they are simply inactive. The safest way would be to remove them, but it may not be the most efficient for your overall stats. Constantly sending to them may not be effective as well - if they keep ignoring your messages, this may reduce your engagement rate and plummet your reputation score. There is an in-between way - you can limit sending to them. If you send mail every day, you could start submitting just 1 email per week. Below is one example that you can use for your contact list:

Let’s assume that you are sending once per week.

If the contact received 6 or more emails from you and never opened a single one, you should start sending mail to them every 2 weeks. After that, if the contact received another 4 emails and did not open them - send an email once per month.

If then the user hasn’t opened another 2-3 emails from you, you should consider removing the contact from your sending lists. You may try to send a goodbye campaign with a Consent button. If the user changes their mind and clicks indicating that they still want to receive your emails, then you should keep them on your contact lists and continue sending. If they do not click, then it is clear that they do not want to hear from you anymore.

If you need help with finding those addresses we recommend using Elastic Email's Segmentation Tool.

You can see that this schedule closes around 6 months of sending - this is not a coincidence. If a user does not engage with your emails for 6 months or longer it should be considered as a dead address. Either the user is no longer interested in your offers, has abandoned that mailbox or the address has been turned into a spam trap. Sending to these types of addresses is dangerous and can negatively impact your sending reputation.

Adam Kościelak

Adam Kościelak is an experienced writer and video content creator. Throughout 2021, he worked as Elastic Email's Content Specialist, expanding our content library.

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