Welcome back! As mentioned in our previous post, we are excited to get started on a new series that explores top KPIs and visualizations by Marketing role. To kick it off, we will share some indicators and charts that we recommend showing in your Email Marketing dashboard.
Before we jump into our dashboard elements, let’s first note some important general observations for creating the most successful Email Marketing Dashboard.
Firstly, I think it’s safe to say that layout is extremely important. While a CMO who has requested access to an Email Marketing dashboard may require only a couple of key KPIs (see the “Executive KPI Section” below), an Email Marketing Manager may require a larger amount of operational metrics and charts. No matter whose dashboard we are looking at though, it’s vital to ensure that the most important information is easily gleaned. Therefore we should make sure that the most important KPIs preside above all other metrics/charts on each dashboard. Our Red Book of Dashboard Design is full of tips on how to improve your dashboard layout.
Secondly, the most successful companies we have come across have all built their dashboards with their specific objectives in mind. Linking each KPI or metric to a specific email marketing goal, as well as including the most relevant information (and excluding all irrelevant information) for each individual dashboard consumer ensuring an optimal dashboard user experience and ideally paving the way for positive actions and a turnaround in results.
So, let’s jump in with our top KPIs and charts for an optimized Email Marketing dashboard:
It’s likely that you may already be consulting some basic email marketing metrics on a regular basis as you manage your campaigns. You may be looking at the following:
These metrics all provide great insights into the success of your campaigns. For example: if our Total Opens is significantly higher than our Openers or Unique Opens, we may be able to say that our email content is compelling, as those who have opened the email keep returning to consult the email multiple times.
Likewise, if our Total Opens are not significantly higher than Openers, we may be able to conclude that our content is not so appealing to readers. On the other hand, it may just be that the readers are consuming all the content available in one go and not returning to the email. To confirm why our Total Opens aren’t much higher than Openers, it’s useful to check Average time open and compare Total Opens and Openers to results from prior months or campaigns.
Instead of having to open your Email Marketing solution every time you wish to analyze campaign results, the creation of a comparison table on your dashboard showing the most recent campaigns alongside the most successful campaigns can help you to judge their effectiveness.
While the above metrics are extremely useful for Email Marketing Managers concerned with the performance of individual campaigns, they may not be as relevant to other Marketers or Executives who require just a snapshot of how well the department is meeting its objectives. Executive KPIs may well be more complex than the operational metrics above, as Managers may request access to a quick summary of Email Marketing Impact in a few computed indicators.
Furthermore, as Executives are much more focused on primary organizational objectives, rather than pure marketing objectives: such as increasing revenue, decreasing expenditure and making customers happy, they will surely require access to revenue or outcome KPIs.
At Sweetspot, we rely on the following six KPIs:
This KPI, defined as emails delivered, shows us the number of individuals exposed to our campaign. In the case that we are sending a mass email to our entire list, it helps us to understand how our list is growing over time. In the case that we are segmenting our list, it shows us for how many individuals our email message is relevant.
This KPI allows us to understand how relevant the message we sent is to our audience. Where the rate is high, we are clearly drawing the attention of our readers.
This definition of this complex indicator may differ greatly between organizations. Opens, clicks and the forward or share rate are the backbone of Engagement, but depending on your own objectives, your KPI formula may differ and different actions may hold distinct importance or weight. For example, unique clicks may be more important to your company than total clicks, whilst your neighbour assigns clicks 4 times the weight or importance of an open. You may also wish to consider other factors such as average time open, average time/click, click-open or the multiple openings rate.
It may be tempting to relegate negative feedback to the realm of the operational dashboard, but as executives are often concerned with customer satisfaction, serving this email on their dashboard may be valuable.
You could elect to create a simple computed metric that only takes into account negative reactions to represent this – such as the following:
Or, you could create a more complex computed metric to include engagement as well as negative reactions – such as:
Where, for example: the engagement rate weighs a unique click at 2 times the value of an open and a share at 4 times the value of an open. And the negative feedback rate weighs an unsubscribe at 2 times the value of an open, and a complaint at 4 times the value of an open.
The conversion rate is especially important in helping us to understand how effective our emails are in promoting positive actions by customers/potential customers.
Depending on the objective of our campaign, a conversion may represent the download of a white paper, the filling in of a contact form, the purchase of a good or service, a click through to our website or an opt-in, etc. The conversion rate can be calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the number of emails delivered.
As executives often speak in dollars rather than rates, percentages or levels, it is extremely important to present them information in their language to promote understanding. Furthermore, cost and revenue KPIs are extremely useful in quantifying the exact impact of marketing initiatives on outcomes – something stakeholders are always requesting. You may wish to include the following KPIs on your dashboard.
This KPI, calculated as emails delivered/emails sent shows us how well we have compiled our list. Our objective should always be 1. A score of 1 shows that our list is well updated as we will see no hard or soft bounces.
In addition to our basic metrics and more complex computed KPIs, data tables and charts can bring great insight to our Email Marketing dashboards, and help us to better explore specific segments or compare campaigns.
By creating a table of our top emails by open rate we can find patterns in language use and message to understand which titles perform the best.
Similarly, a table showing the top 10 most clicked-on links in our campaigns will help us to understand which content is most compelling to our readers or most likely to generate conversions.
We’ve already referred to using a ‘List Quality’ KPI, but the use of visualizations instead of, or in addition to this could add further context or be easier to interpret. A simple pie chart comparing sent to delivered will help us to understand how relevant our list is, or a line chart could help us to visualize our list growth rate over time. This could inform us of periods in which our efforts to encourage sign ups have been particularly successful, or where we have gained a lot of new leads from events, or opt-in campaigns.
Charts can also help us to learn about the behaviour or preferences of different segments, as well as their reaction to different campaigns. Representing opens, clicks, conversions, or other relevant metrics, in any combination, on a combination chart by segment can help us to understand different groups of consumers.
Likewise, showing these metrics across campaigns, emails or time can quickly demonstrate their success across different factors.
Map charts can also be useful for showing audience behaviour across regions.
A conversion funnel can clearly demonstrate at which stages of the conversion process we are losing potential customers so that we can remedy these problems and increase conversions.
Now that we’ve shared our top metrics, KPIs, charts and tables for a comprehensive and actionable dashboard, we’d love to hear your feedback. Are there any other KPIs or charts you would include on your ideal Email Marketing dashboard?
Stay tuned for as we continue this series over the coming weeks with our most impactful multi-source metrics and charts for Lead Generation Marketers, Digital Marketers, Content Marketers, Social Media Communications Marketers, PR Managers, eCommerce Managers and Campaign Managers.
Not Another Dashboard.