Opens and Clicks: Measuring Engagement in Your E-Newsletter Reports

September 5, 2012 | Email Marketing

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When you start sending an e-newsletter, it’s very exciting to watch the open rate. It’s exciting to think about your customers and prospects opening, reading and connecting with your content.

But how do you really know if your readers are engaged?

Open rates in email marketing

Open rates in email marketing are usually defined as a percentage. For example, if you have 1000 email subscribers and 400 open your email, your open rate is 40%.

Does that mean that 60% didn’t care enough to open your email? Maybe.

Unfortunately, some of the emails that didn’t get opened never made it into your targeted inbox. There are many reasons, including:

  • The email address was invalid. It may have been entered incorrectly, or the recipient has closed the email address. Maybe the person no longer works at the company, or has changed ISPs.
  • The email inbox has problems. These problems may include an inbox that is full or over capacity, or a problem with a domain name.
  • Your domain, sending ISP, or specific email has been blocked by the recipients email service provider.
  • The recipient’s email provider has sent your email to the recipients spam or junk folder and has not been retrieved yet.

Many of these problems are beyond your control. You should remove bad addresses from your list (we do this for you automatically in Mail on the Mark), to keep your list clean. See our article about why a smaller email list is often better.

Then, there are those people who saw your email in their inbox, but deleted it without opening or reading it.

If they opened an email, did they read it?

Unfortunately, not always. Email marketing reports are not smart enough to measure the time that the email was open. It may be that the way the reader sorts through their emails, they open every email even if they immediately delete it.

But hopefully most of the opens are people who read some or all of your message. And also got at least a reminder of your brand identity.

Clicks are a better way to measure engagement

Therefore, clicks are a better way to measure engagement in email marketing. For a click to register, the reader had to open the email, see something of interest and click on it. You know that there was something that sparked the reader’s interest.

Below is the reporting from one of our clients. As you can see, their third email campaign in the list engaged a lot more people than the others. Not only was his open rate the highest, but his click rate was high as well.

Open and click rates in email marketing reports

Here you can see the open and click rates from one of our clients

Some good way to generate clicks in your e-newsletter are:

  • Start an article, but finish it on your web site. This is a particularly good way to cross promote your blog.
  • Tell them about a product or service and have them click for more information or to order the item.
  • Offer a report that needs to be downloaded.

The bottom line is that you’re giving them a “call to action”. This does not always need to be something that leads directly to a sale, but it should lead to more engagement.