In a recent article, my fellow MediaPost Email Insider columnist George Bilbrey took a look into the future of email marketing analytics and described three new metrics that he thinks practitioners
will use in 2013. As he explained in his introduction “Marketers have relied on open and click-through rates as the major measures of the success of a program or campaign for
the last decade plus. These metrics are good, but don’t always tell the entire story.”
While I agree that a sea change in email measurement is coming, I believe there
are far more than three new metrics that marketers will find invaluable in the months ahead. These include:
- Read length. This metric will show marketers how long opened
messages have actually been opened, and will help them distinguish between high-intent, high value opens relative to lower-intent, passive opens. For example, marketers might find that even though
they are logging more net opens on iOS than on Android-based smartphones, they have longer read lengths on Android because Android users typically must actively click to display images in an email,
whereas they are on display by default in iOS. Ultimately, read length will be a powerful indicator of engagement that opens alone can’t measure.
rates. In a world obsessed with the marketing potential of social networking, understanding the viral impact of all marketing campaigns – including those disseminated through email
– has never been more desirable
- Mobile app launch rates. As more and more email opens occur on smartphones, more and more marketers will be aiming to be
on their customers’ homescreens with installed native mobile apps. In addition, they’ll be optimizing their email campaigns for consumption on those devices by including redirect links to
launch installed native mobile apps rather than taking users to suboptimal mobile web sites. The mobile app launch rate will provide evidence of the power of email to be a primary driver of repeat
engagement with marketers’ mobile apps.
- Print rates. In a world obsessed with new media, we sometimes forget that lots of our customers still feel more
comfortable doing things the old-fashioned way, and may be printing out our emails to take along with them for redemption at brick-and-mortar outlets. Attribution is a hot topic that is easier said
than done – especially when it comes to crediting email for offline sales. The print rate will be a helpful metric in closing the gap.
There’s more innovation on the way
that takes email marketing measurement even further: the splicing of the engagement metrics I listed above (i.e., what people are doing in response to email) with contextual metrics (i.e.,
when, where, and how consumers are engaging with email).
- When. Marketers will learn not just whether their recipients are opening, clicking,
printing, or forwarding their emails – they’ll gain insight into the precise times of day consumers are doing so.
- Where. Marketers will be able to
observe regional and local differentials in how consumers are interacting with emails. For example, marketers might find that more of their customers in rural areas who frequent large shopping centers
are more likely to print their emails for offline redemption, while customers in tech hubs like San Francisco and New York are more likely to download and launch mobile apps, and optimize messaging
- How. Lastly, marketers will be able to note not just which devices recipients are using to open their emails, but also correlate other, even more
meaningful engagement metrics with device usage. This will change the way marketers think about differentiating email content and goals across various desktop, tablet, and smartphone
Opens and clicks have had a heck of a run, and will continue to play a key role in analyzing email marketing campaign performance. But in a world where knowledge is
power, and where data rules the day, marketers have a lot to look forward to as we usher in the arrival of the next generation of email marketing measurement and analytics.