Forgotten Statistics

There is only so much you can track relative to an e-mail marketing campaign. Yet over the years, the industry has added a few statistics to the e-mail channel that are more easily accessed, though many people don't know what these stats really mean. I call them "the forgotten few."

My grandfather once said, "Potential just means you haven't done anything yet." The same holds true for statistics. There is hope that statistics mean something to the business; but unless you have gained a useful business insight from them, they don't mean much. If you really want to know if your program was a success, you might try a few of these metrics in your next report and see what added meaning they bring.

Click to Open (CTO): Over 50 percent of an e-mail budget is typically spent on the creative, but consumers don't get to see it unless they open the whole e-mail. Sadly, most marketers don't know whether their creative is effective or not. The real "tell" is Click to Open. Defined, it is the number of people that actually clicked through from an opened e-mail. If you have a CTO rate of 45 to 50 percent, you're normally in good shape. I haven't yet seen an industry report that trends this very important statistic.



Average Clicks Per User: The significance of the number of clicks per user/per e-mail depends on the intent of the e-mail. More clicks can be a success indicator for programs such as newsletters and community-based communications, where the e-mail is both directional and informational. But too many clicks can be a negative for e-mails related to retail and financial services, where the intent is very singular in focus and meant to drive users to a controlled experience. Last thing you'd want is someone using the e-mail as a navigational tool. This variable can mean a lot if you trend it by types of communication, or use it to measure the effectiveness of the time of day/week. If you're in luck, you might find a customer model that helps you understand the optimal average number of clicks per user needed in order to predict purchase.

Aggregate Opens: Most marketers want to know what percent of their e-mail community viewed an e-mail. In addition, I want to know how many impressions I delivered. As in the advertising world, this has brand value in terms of impressions, yet it also allows me to trend by time of day to see when people get my e-mail, and whether they access it again later at home. This statistic can also be a great predictor of viral activity. In transactional terms, aggregate opens can illustrate a great deal about message recall and its effect on transactions.

Response by Forwarded Recipient: While most will aggregate reporting by the entire campaign, I also want to trend those "referral" response rates against the original campaign. You'll be amazed that the better you get at using Send To a Friend or other referral tactics, the more your response rate to referrals becomes a greater indicator of the value of your referrals relative to the brand relationship.

Domain Reporting "Share of Clicks": I speak of this often because it's one of the greatest indicators when modeling your customers' responses. My programs typically monitor response factors by domain. Rather than saying that AOL had a 7 percent open rate and Comcast had a 35 percent open rate, I bypass trends and look for "share of clicks" and "share of opens" by domain to see that 50 percent of my clicks are coming from Broadband domains or the main ISPs. Gaining response is the most difficult thing to do, and the ISPs can help you understand barriers to communication. By isolating behavior to a domain, you can better model creative, timing and throttling, as well as develop these response personas.

Remember, it takes insight and imagination to stand out and win in today's world, and unique perspectives are the catalyst.

Hope to see you at OMMA EAST this week.

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