One of the double edged swords of online marketing is the sheer amount of data marketers can receive on the campaigns they are running. While it's nice to have various metrics by which to measure an ad's performance, the problem comes when most people don't have a context for the data. In this article, we'll look at four metrics marketers can use to gauge their email marketing campaigns, and how to rank their performance against global or regional results.

The email marketing firm GetResponse analyzed almost 2 billion emails sent by their customers from March to May 2017, in 126 countries across 19 industries. They used this data to create a benchmark report that measures multiple metrics across various regions.

Open Rate

As with any part of marketing or sales, the first step is getting your foot in the door. For email marketers this means getting people to see the email and open it. Unless your email has an amazing subject line that can drive anyone to action, it's most likely that consumers will need to open the email to get any real value from it. So it's not enough to focus simply or the number of emails that are put into the inbox (i.e. delivery rate), rather marketers need to make sure that whatever gets to the inbox is being opened by a large percentage of the people who are getting the email.

A large percentage of the people seeing the email does not mean a majority. In fact, according to the metrics in this recent study, only about a quarter (24.3 percent) of consumers worldwide will open the emails they receive from companies. In the US that rate goes to down to 20.7 percent. Even if less than a quarter of the people who receive an email marketing message actually read it doesn't mean the email campaign is failing. The simple truth is that even people who are interested in a subject matter are not going to click on everything that comes to them about that subject. So even if the target consumer likes the email campaign and the subject, it's still not guaranteed they'll open everything they see. By using the metrics shown here marketers should be able to get a good idea if one of their campaign is being viewed by an adequate amount of the target audience.

Click Through Rate

Click through rate is probably one of the most important metrics too many marketers. It's the metric that represents the number of people who are actually clicking on an email to go to the targeted link, such a news article, an object for sale, etc. While many, if not all, marketers would like a high click through rate, it's important to remember that not everyone who sees an ad or an email is going to click every link they see within it. Just like with TV radio or newspaper ads, only a small fraction of the people who see the ad are going to take action.

According to the GetResponse data, the global click through rate is at 3.9 percent. In North America, it declines to 3.23 and in the U.S., specifically, the average click through rate is 3.07 percent. These numbers underscore the reasons why it's vital to have a large email list if you want to see significant sales or engagement numbers from the campaign. If less than one in 20 are going to click through, you need about 2,000 subscribers if you want to see 100 clicks.

Unsubscribe Rate

A good way to measure the quality of the content and your email marketing campaign as a whole is to keep track of the unsubscribe rate. Think of it this way, when someone signed up for the email newsletter they had expectations of ways that the content in the email would benefit them as consumer. So, if after several emails, they no longer feel that they're going to get any value from this, they may unsubscribe. While unsubscribes will certainly happen, if there are large numbers of them, it's a sign that the content being produced for the email campaign isn't meeting the expectations the consumer had when they first signed up.

According to the data from the email best marketing report an average of subscribe rate is 0.22 percent globally and more specifically it is 0.21 for marketers in the US.

Spam Rate

It may seem odd at first, but a simple way to judge your email marketing rate is to check the spam rate. Ideally, everyone on a marketing mailing list should have signed up willingly, and those who change their mind will unsubscribe. But if a list has a lot of email addresses that don't match the subject matter of the marketing campaign, then the users may report the emails as spam. Being reported as spam is far worse than having someone simply unsubscribe. Email providers rank domains based off of how many times they have been reported for sending spam emails (and other factors). If your spam rate is higher than 0.2 percent, this is not good. A higher spam rate means that fewer of your emails will be delivered to the inbox in the future. And some email marketing firms will terminate accounts that have a too high spam rate. In the US, the average spam rate for an email marketing campaign is 0.021% which is slightly lower than the 0.03 percent global average.

For more news about marketing research, check out this article on the best ways to communicate with consumers in the digital age.