Email marketing allows you to easily track the effectiveness of your campaigns. When you send out a direct mailing through the post office, for example, you have no way to know how many recipients opened your mail. An email message, though, shows you how many people received it, how many opened it and how many clicked through to your links and made a purchase.

Types of Tracking Reports

Depending on the ESP you use, you have a great deal of data and to track and analyze. The kinds of data your can track include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Email bounce rates
  • Who opened emails
  • What links were clicked
  • Customers that unsubscribe
  • Email forwards

Let’s take a closer look at the most commonly used types of tracking reports. As we go through the types of reports, they will become more and more specific

  1. Bounce Rates/Non-Bounce Rates - Bounce rate refers to the amount of emails that were not received by recipients. It is the equivalent of having a mailed letter sent back to the This number is expressed as a percentage of total emails sent and requires a simple calculation. Calculating the bounce rate means taking the number of bounced emails (which a tracking report will tell you) and dividing that by the total number of emails you sent to a particular category on your list. You will get a small number (less than one) expressed in decimal form. To get the percent number, move the decimal to the right two places. As an example, if you get 0.25 from your division equation, moving the decimal over two spots gives you 25%. Bounces can happen for a number of reasons, like firewalls or a full inbox. Most of the time, though, it is out of your control and there is little you can do to fix it. However, you can check for certain things like misspelled email addresses to see if the problem is in your hands and is fixable.
  2. Non-Bounce rates, on the other hand, are the percentage of emails that did get sent through, regardless of whether or not the recipient opened them. This is a very useful number because it is used to let you know detailed information that we will discuss in the next few sections. Calculating the non-bounce rate is also simple. If you already have the bounce rate, all you have to do is subtract the percentage number from 100 to get the non-bounce rate.
  3. Open Rates - Open rates are the number of interactions your email server gets as a result of a recipient opening an email. This number only comes from the non-bounce rate and not the total number of emails you sent out. Your ESP will know when an email has opened because of one of the following:
    • The images were displayed in an opened email
    • A recipient clicked a link in an email
    • The reason these actions indicate an opened email is that images are stored on the ESP’s server and accessed from the server when an email is opened. A link within an email is tracked because clicks are easily trackable. This is another reason why putting images and links into an email is important for your email marketing strategy.
  1. Click-Through Rates - Click-through rates are the percentage of users clicking on links in an email. This number is taken from the number of opened, non-bounced emails. As you can already see, these tracking data get more and more specific, building off of one The click-through rate number will be displayed and calculated by your ESPs software tools. Some ESP software will allow you to view exactly which links were clicked in addition to the number of times each one was clicked.

Click-through rates are especially beneficial for customizing the interests of your customers. It extends beyond the email as well, being used on websites to track who clicks on what links. Since it is easy to track what exactly your customers click on, you can make well-educated assumptions about what they would prefer for you to send them in the future. You can also use click-through rates to recommend other types data to the customer to get them more involved in your company’s other marketing channels.

You can also use click-through rates as a means of testing out different versions of an email. Separate a list in two and send out a different version of the same email to each list. Analyze which list has more click-through rates and if necessary, make adjustments to the emails. Keep testing them out until you feel you have an optimal and effective email.

  1. Additional Tracking Reports - In addition to the tracking data we have already mentioned, there are a few other points of data you can view and perhaps even use to improve the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy. You can see how many people unsubscribed and keep their data in a category of your email list. It is a good practice to keep this data because if the customer decides to subscribe to your email list once more, you do not have to do any additional research on their Remember, though, that you cannot send them any emails unless they grant permission again.

You can also use tracking reports to see if anyone has forwarded your email to other email addresses. If your email marketing strategy calls for you to get people to spread the word about your organization or something it has to say, this is a very useful type of data to track.

Email Tracking Data – Offline

You might come across an instance where you want to track how well your emails are doing for certain components of your entire marketing strategy. In some cases, though, using click-through or open rates will do little to help you track your progress and success. Some situations where you will want to know if your emails are effective include:

  • In-Store Purchases
  • Phone Calls
  • Event Attendance

Sometimes, an organization wants to know if their emails are enticing people to participate in actions such as these listed.

Their participation cannot be tracked by software, so being able to track this kind of data involves some participation on the part of your email recipients. The best way to determine the effectiveness of your emails is to have your email recipients give you their email address when the make a purchase at a store or call your organization. For event attendance, you might give them some kind of special code that gets them into the event and can only be viewed from an email.