More New Metrics You'll Be Using In 2013

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.
  • Forward 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 accordingly.
  • 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 environments.

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.

5 comments about "More New Metrics You'll Be Using In 2013".
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  1. Brian Gruidl from Bluestem Brands, October 2, 2012 at 12:52 p.m.

    I really like that marketers are starting to look beyond the simple, and am curious to see where ESPs take this conversation by enhancing reporting suites. Also curious how some of these metrics are currently being measured.

  2. David Atlas from StrongMail, October 2, 2012 at 4:39 p.m.

    The read length metric is fantastic. Email is an evergreen medium, always renewing itself.

  3. David Baker from Cordial, October 2, 2012 at 7:39 p.m.

    Good article Jordan, yet the truth is we are essentially catching up with where we were in 2001, when rich media in email was fairly common and we could track so many more engagement metrics, social sharing tree reporting , time spent in email, drop off rate, replay rate, even form abandonment behaviors, scroll behaviors etc. The old timers remember those days. the new is the mobile/device metrics, but I think we'll need more trend data for that to be meaningful in my opinion. We have only two years at most for this place/time shifting phenom and benchmarking, so it's difficult to normalize behavior on IOS, Android related to email in any consistent form... remember for email there are so many seasonal and trend patterns you have to map broad behavioral shifts to...etc... even more so for print and other hieuristics associated with email... good stuff, but only broadly directional right now. worth tracking .. YES, but of course EVERY online behavior is worth tracking in some form, doesnt mean it's actionable or done at scale. I'm sure we'll get there soon. . My $.02

  4. Kurt Johansen from Johansen International, October 2, 2012 at 7:55 p.m.

    These metrics may mean something for some and not others. It Depends. Let me explain. The type of business will determine what metrics you like. For instance in the small to medium business the only stats that truly matters is sales. I have clients with incredible open and read rates yet don't sell as many items as those who have lesser of these rates. Email Marketing is and will always be governed by three major factors. ! The Quality of your List 2. The Relationship with your list and 3. The Offer you are making to your List. Kurt Johansen - Australia's Leading Email Coach and Advisor

  5. Erin Read from Creating Results, Inc., October 4, 2012 at 3:27 p.m.

    It's not just coupons that consumers are printing -- especially if they are over. Our Social, Silver Surfers survey found print-friendly pages were the website favorite feature of 72% of those over 40.

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