Analytics & Statistics

Email Analytics: use both positive and negative email metrics to optimize your next campaigns

Positive Marketing, Email Marketing, Marketing Strategy

To create successful email campaigns, you need to continuously optimize your email marketing, including your strategy, templates, content, and deliverability. To find aspects that need improvement or more vigorous testing, you should get to know your audience better. But how can you find out what your subscribers want? Here’s where your email metrics come in – the results that you see after each campaign will show you what your readers liked or disliked. Therefore, to get a 360-degree view, it is imperative that you analyze both positive email engagement metrics as well as negative ones. So, let’s quickly have a look at the primary email metrics that reveal your readers’ reactions.


Usually, we marketers tend to look at open rates first. We all want to know how many people opened our email campaigns. There are several metrics related to email opens. Unique opens represent individual subscribers that have opened your email, while total opens will show you how many times these emails were opened. In other words, the total amount of registered opens.

To visualize your results better, it is always good to see these numbers in percentages. For example, the percentage of your subscribers who opened your email will be represented by your unique open rate.

Here’s a quick formula on how to calculate your unique open rate:

Good open rates are one of the first indications of a healthy engagement. Many factors can help you achieve higher open rates: such as catchy subject lines, well-optimized pre-headers, and even your sender name.


Next, you should always look at what your click metrics are telling you. Clicks (unique and total) are also a great indicator of a positive subscriber’s reaction. They will show you if your template design is working, if your call-to-action needs improvement, and even if your content is relevant to the reader.

Unique clicks – how many individual subscribers clicked on a link in your email – and total clicks -how many clicks your CTAs and other links generated – will give you great insight to optimize your next email marketing campaigns.

Again, let’s not forget that it is great to compare email marketing metrics in percentages too. So, here’s the CTR (or Click Through Rate) formula:

Here at Smaily, we give our clients a way to generate reports showing their email opens and clicks. Furthermore, we offer a breakdown of their audience into segments – country, email client, operating system (OS), and more. Learn more about what we can offer here.


The click-to-open rate is another email marketing metric that you should track. It is an excellent indicator of how successful your email marketing campaigns are and how healthy and active your mailing list is.

So, how do you calculate your click-to-open rate?

Why analyze this metric? Well, simply put, it will show you how many subscribers who opened your email, for one reason or another, clicked on your links. It could be because they were interested in your message (a great way to measure the effectiveness of your content) and found it very relevant, or maybe your CTA was designed and positioned so well that it attracted your reader’s attention. While working on your email campaign optimization plan, make sure you keep this metric in mind. You want your readers to continue their digital journeys – and that is clicking on your links – after they open your email. What we want to avoid is abandoned email opens.


To be able to improve your email marketing, you also need to understand what your subscribers do not like – and ultimately, why they don’t like it. Thus, negative email engagement, such as unsubscribes and unsubscribe rates, are as significant as your positive engagement email metrics.

Unsubscribes (i.e., the number of people who opted out) and unsubscribe rate (or the percentage of your mailing list who have opted out) are showing you that your readers either didn’t like your particular campaign or email frequency, or they just don’t find your content relevant any more.

However, getting a few unsubscribes is not necessarily a bad thing – it is also a way to maintain a clean and active mailing list. Moreover, letting people unsubscribe is very important, as the alternative – marking you as spam – is much worse.


Most of us have marked at least one email in our inboxes as spam. That is called an abuse complaint. Spam reports negatively impact your deliverability and sender reputation, in turn increasing your chances of being caught by spam filters and, generally, being seen as a spammer.

Litmus’s study “Adapting to consumers’ new definition of spam” has found that 18% of email recipients very frequently mark emails as spam, while another 25% often report abuse complaints.

The high abuse complaint rate can be attributed to many reasons, and they could naturally differ on a case-by-case basis – we will try to cover these in our next blog posts. However, always remember that including an easy way to opt out of your emails might save you from getting a spam complaint.

Moreover, Litmus’s research showed that while the majority of email recipients find it easy to subscribe to emails, it is still quite a complicated process to opt-out. We offer our clients reports showing who has unsubscribed as well as who marked your email as spam so that you can optimize your email campaigns further.


We’ve looked at the primary email marketing metrics indicating positive as well as negative email engagement. To get the best results, make sure you continuously track, analyze and compare your metrics, and discover any forming trends. Don’t forget A/B testing too! There are many more insights that we can get from our email metrics, and we will undoubtedly discuss more in-depth email analytics in the future.

What to keep in Mind:

We, here at Smaily, are here to help – get in touch with us and let’s see how we can improve your email marketing campaigns.

Next: 3 Ways Emotional Emails Can Increase Customer Loyalty

Building a strategy around stimulating your audience’s emotional side has a name — it’s called emotional branding, and it’s been around for quite a while. When applied correctly, this strategy will let you build customer loyalty and engagement, which will eventually result in higher profits. Find out how to do it from our next blog post.

Make sure you check our blog regularly, and don’t forget to subscribe to our emails. Or you may want to follow up on the last blog post on Understanding Email Marketing Environment: Email Client Share if you’ve missed it.