The 6 Most Important Email Analytics for Magazine Publishers

How to turn six email analytics metrics into a big picture about the performance and plans for digitally marketing your publication

Membership Email Marketing Frameworks

Strict measurement of your metrics is how you’re able to support every decision you make. At Mequoda, we typically use UTM codes as a way to track our email and social campaigns. These email analytics and the data we get from our email management system can give us an enormous amount of intel about how our emails perform, and how our readers engage with the content we publish.

When you think of the term “email analytics” there are two metrics you probably think of first: open rate and click rate. If those are the only two you can think of off the top of your head, it’s probably because most email service providers use these primary metrics in most of their dashboards. However, there are several more metrics to track as part of your email analytics reporting.

With these numbers, your goal is to be improving the data and trend reports to help you make better decisions, faster and more confidently.

1. Open rate

01-how-to-turn-six-email-analytics-metrics-into-a-big-picture-about-the-performance-and-plans-for-digitally-marketing-your-publicationYour open rate is the percentage of users who opened an email from you. This calculation is based on the number of people who opened your email, divided by the number of people who you sent it to.

So if you sent 10,000 emails and 1,000 opened your email, you have a 10% open rate.

Find out how to increase your open rates. Also, this.

2. Click rate

02-how-to-turn-six-email-analytics-metrics-into-a-big-picture-about-the-performance-and-plans-for-digitally-marketing-your-publication While not the only “right” way, many email management systems calculate click rate by dividing the number of clicks by the number of emails sent.

So if 10,000 emails are sent, and 100 people click, you have a 1% click rate.

Find out how to increase click rates and how video can increase click-through rates even more.

3. Revenue per email subscriber

01-15-proven-ways-your-b2c-email-marketing-can-increase-clicks-and-revenueHow much is an email subscriber worth to you? Knowing how much your email subscribers spend annually with you will help determine how much you should be willing to spend in order to gain a new email subscriber.

If he had been a consultant to our industry, the legendary Peter Drucker probably would have said something pithy like “measure your email revenue right, and measure the right email revenue.” In any Mequoda System, revenue produced by email newsletters is measured differently from the way that print publishers have traditionally measured the lifetime value of a subscriber.

To calculate revenue per email subscriber take your total annual email revenue and divide it by your average number of email subscribers.

If you can average $50 in revenue per 1,000 emails sent to your email newsletter subscribers, and your contact frequency is daily (five emails per week), you’ll generate an average of five cents per subscriber every time you mail. At five times a week, that amounts to 25 cents per week or about $13 per year for every email newsletter subscriber.

So, if your average value per subscriber is $13, and you have 100,000 subscribers, your Mequoda email marketing system is grossing $1.3 million annually.

4. Site-wide email capture rate


Your site-wide email capture rate tells you how many people visit your website and subscribe to your email newsletter.

How many casual visitors to your site are you converting into email subscribers?

Any website analytics tool can measure your unique monthly visitors, but projecting an optimal email capture rate (ECR) requires a calculation.

Most publishers we’ve studied are only implementing one basic email capture on their site. Thus, they are only seeing a 0.1 to 0.2% web-to-email conversion rate.

Using 3C Zone Architecture, you will get the highest ECR. It requires you to align each of your portal or blog categories with a freemium. So when someone is reading about how to wallpaper their living room, they’re getting an offer for a free eBook on the most popular wallpaper colors, not an eBook on how to clean the grout in their bathroom. In exchange for the eBook, they give you their email address and subscribe to your email newsletter.

To get your site-wide email capture rate, divide the total number of new email subscribers you acquired via your website in one month by the total number of unique visitors (minus visits from email subscribers) you received in that month. Any capture rate over 1% is great, and many of our publishing partners see even higher rates.

If you can double your ECR, you will double the size of your subscriber file over five years (or any fixed period).

5. Email opt-out rate

02-does-a-digital-replica-of-your-magazine-cut-itYour email opt-out rate tells you how well you’re satisfying your email readers.

Are you serving your email audience? What causes them to opt-out?

As publishers, we focus on our email list more so than possibly any other online business. Content is our specialty, and this is why we depend on email to keep our readers engaged and actively involved in our business. This is also why it’s very important to track our opt-out rate to effectively watch what our users respond to—and to change, when necessary.

To get your email opt-out rate metric—both voluntary and bounced—divide your number of opt-outs by the average number of email subscribers for a given period.

6. Email retention rate

03-does-a-digital-replica-of-your-magazine-cut-itYour email retention rate tells you how well you’re keeping subscribers on your list.

Using these three numbers, you can determine your email retention rate, that is, what percentage of your email subscribers choose to stay subscribed.

To find out, use this calculation for a month’s worth of data to determine your monthly email retention rate:

(# of subscribers – bounces – unsubscribes)/# of subscribers

Your email bounce rate: When an email “bounces” it’s returned back to you. The number of bounces you receive is an indication of how clean your list is, and if you continue to send emails to addresses that bounce back, you can get blacklisted and be unable to send emails to that domain at all. For a domain like Gmail, you could be missing out on a huge percentage of your list.

Your email unsubscribe rate: Initial emails typically have a higher unsubscribe rate than ongoing campaigns. This isn’t surprising to see, especially when it comes to content-based businesses operating a content marketing model. Often times, recipients will register for a free report or a coupon and after they receive the content they want, they opt out of the email list. People unsubscribe from email lists when they see an email arrive day after day and realize they haven’t opened one in a long time. Sometimes they go on a mass unsubscribing binge and eliminate you along with dozens of other email newsletters.

Using your email analytics for good

We’re big fans of what we call “Management by Exception”, which means regularly reviewing a standard set of daily, weekly, or monthly metric reports, looking to see if something is above average, way above average, or way below average.

The idea is to manage for the things that are coming out differently than they have in the past or than you thought they would. The five metrics above will help alert you to any problems or opportunities you may have in your online business.

03-how-to-turn-six-email-analytics-metrics-into-a-big-picture-about-the-performance-and-plans-for-digitally-marketing-your-publicationWe’re not just clucking here, either. We measure these metrics every day. These metrics are part of what we review with our publishing partners each month.

This meeting featuring dozens of reports including an email analytics report—which leverages analytics to double, triple and quadruple your organic website traffic. Our publishing partners have improved their traffic by as much as 715%. No, that’s not a typo. Of course not everyone achieves that … but rates of 90%, 110%, or 150% are quite common. If you’re like most publishers, we suspect you’d be happy to see those “modest” rates of growth for your site. None of this data and analysis is unproven theory. Every statistic has meaning in the overall success of your publishing business, and we deliver it all to you so you can execute your Mequoda plan flawlessly and profitably.

But email analytics (and email marketing!) don’t have to be your specialties, because they are definitely ours.

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below. 


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