Everyone always talks about how important it is to track your campaign performance and impact on revenue, but few digital marketers include email deliverability metrics in their tracking. This is problematic since whether your email actually reaches the inbox will have a significant impact on your ability to generate ROI. Here’s a list of the four key deliverability metrics you should be tracking, why they’re important, and how they can help you improve your reach and effectiveness.

1. Bounce Rates

Bounce rates represent the number of email messages that have not been delivered. These can either be hard bounces (permanent failures) or soft bounces (temporary failures). This metric is important to track because high bounce rates will negatively impact your sender reputation. A poor sender reputation can cause email providers to push you to a junk or spam folder instead of the inbox. It can also lead to you getting blacklisted – the worst possible outcome for an email marketer!

If you notice spikes in your bounces over time, this could indicate a data issue. Have you recently acquired a new list or are you mailing stale recipients? If you’re experiencing high bounces, you need to take a good, hard look at your database. It may be time to clean out old addresses, unknown users and stale contacts.

2. Open Rates, Click-through Rates and Engagement

Open rates and click-through rates can tell you how well your audience is engaged with your email content. Not only is this important to measure in context of pipeline influence, ISPs also use similar engagement metrics to help determine whether or not your messages are spam.

Low engagement will be considered a negative signal so it’s important to monitor these rates over time and use them to improve components like subject lines, body copy, and calls-to-action. You can also use these statistics to monitor specific list sources, which can help you improve and maintain your list hygiene. Removing contacts who are completely disinterested in your content, such as those who don’t open any of your emails over a long period of time, will help prevent an ISP from misidentifying you as spam.

3. Unsubscribe Rate

Every marketer wants to keep the contacts they’ve acquired. That’s why we recommend setting up a managed preferences center to help contacts opt-down rather than opt-out of your email programs. However, some contacts will want to unsubscribe from your list altogether. When this happens, you need to take note.

If you monitor your unsubscribe rates over time and by source, you’ll gain insight into what’s working and what isn’t so you can make necessary adjustments. Look for trends in your unsubscribes. Do you have a problem with a particular message, subscription source or list? Use this metric to identify unsubscribe triggers so you can guard against them.

4. Inbox Placement Rate

Even if your email doesn’t bounce, it may not be delivered into the inbox. It’s important to measure and compare your delivered rate to your inbox rate. You may be wondering, what’s the difference?

For example, let’s say your email service reports 90% delivered on a recent campaign, with a 10% bounce rate. If you’re only looking at the delivered rate, it may seem like you’re reaching 90% of your recipients each month, but that’s not necessarily the case. Some of those emails could be hitting spam folders. You won’t know how many until you run an inbox placement analysis. Additionally, if your spam rates increase over time, this could prevent future mail from reaching prospects and customers. For some senders, this could mean millions in lost revenue. Make sure you’re looking at delivered rates and spam rates to get a true view of your deliverability.

If you’re using a marketing automation platform, like Salesfusion, this type of report can often be purchased as part of an email deliverability audit. You can also work with a provider like 250ok to monitor inbox placement per campaign. In either case, this is an important metric you can use to make sure your emails are actually reaching their desired recipients. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time and money developing content that has very little impact on revenue.

Metrics that matter

Monitoring trends in these four areas can have a huge influence on your success as a marketer. Changes can signal a problem, leading to a much faster resolution than if you’re unaware of issues altogether. If they go unresolved and are allowed to amplify, they’ll become much more difficult to resolve later on. Vigilance is key.

If you’re unsure how to monitor these statistics, reach out to your marketing automation provider. Many, like Salesfusion, offer deliverability consulting services to help you monitor these aspects of your email campaigns.