Marketers can divide email metrics into two general categories:
1. Activity metrics: These measure subscriber activity on your emails, including number of emails delivered, opens, clicks to a landing page, unsubscribes, bounces and spam complaints.
2. Objective metrics: These measure whether your campaign achieved its goal: total number of conversions, total revenue, revenue per email, revenue per subscriber, average order value, number of leads converted to buyers, and many more.
You need both sets of metrics to measure your email program performance accurately, but some are more important than others. That’s what makes them key performance indicators, or KPIs.
Those KPIs are what you get judged and rewarded on, so you need to use everything in your toolbox to improve your numbers. Real-time personalization can help you make measurable progress, and not just because it has a big “Wow!” factor.
Real-time personalization is a tactic you can use strategically to drive business. It can take your customers over many of the hurdles between your email and “add to cart” on your landing page.
Below, we identified three essential KPIs for a successful retail email program and how real-time personalization can help you increase each metric.
1. KPI: Click rate
This baseline activity metric shows what percentage of your subscribers clicked on a link in your email. It’s a standard engagement measure and one to track over time to watch for trends.
How to increase it: Add a real-time poll that asks customers to answer a question relating to your brand, products, their preferences or even some fun, offbeat current event, and then displays the results right away so they can see how they compare to other shoppers.
Why it works: Who can resist a fun poll question? It’s a low-commitment way to get a click without resorting to clickbait. Plus, the click can take customers to a landing page with product recommendations that match your customer’s interests.
Bonus: You can use your customers’ answers to guide future targeting or campaign planning. Win-win!
2. KPI: Revenue per email
This metric gauges the amount of revenue earned per email delivered. You can use many means to increase RPE, such as persuading more prospects to start buying, nudging your occasional buyers to shop more often or induce your regular shoppers to spend more each time they buy.
How to increase it: Add dynamic product recommendations based on items that match customer preferences or previous purchases in current inventory and which refresh every time the subscriber opens the email.
Why it works: Selling more products at full price is one of the best ways to boost RPE. It’s also a huge challenge, given many consumers have become conditioned to think of email as the bargain-basement channel.
Suggesting available items (no sold-out disappoints to discourage a sale) that are closely personalized to customers’ preferences and behavior can help customers discover things they wouldn’t necessarily have found on the sale racks.
3. KPI: Browse to buy ratio
This objective metric measures the proportion of first-time purchasers. It’s usually reported as percentage of the total number of buyers in the campaign.
How to increase it: Embed a live video to your promotional email to provide information that can help move your browser closer to a purchase.
Why it works: People love video. Advances in technology and improved email client compatibility have made live video a more reliable email experience.
What about the open rate?
Many marketers will notice a conspicuous absence from this list of core KPIs. The open rate is most useful when you track it over time to see if it’s going up or down. As a barometer of subscriber engagement, the open rate is pretty good. As a core metric for campaign goals? Not so much, unless the sole objective for your campaign is to get an open.
Plus, the open rate metric doesn’t really tell you what you want to know. It’s not a reliable metric because image-blocking can undercount opens. Also, the open rate measures only email activity, not revenue-based campaign goals.
The beauty of email marketing is that you can measure just about anything and use what you learn to improve your email program. And, the beauty of real-time personalization is that it can improve almost every KPI you have.
What are your KPIs, and how could real-time personalization help you meet your goals in 2020?