How to Ramp up Email ROI with Advanced Analytics
Opens, CTR, conversion rate… we have all been on the merry-go-round of tracking, interpreting and utilizing that data. While those metrics are a necessity to get a pulse on how your campaign did, we can still look deeper through advanced email analytics to calculate the engagement and effectiveness of our campaigns. One problem marketers come across with advanced reporting and analytics is that they have the data in front of them, but they don’t know how to turn this data into actionable marketing strategies and tactics moving forward.
In this blog, we’re going to break down different advanced analytic features and provide real-world advice on how to use this data in your upcoming campaigns to increase ROI.
Lately, marketing aficionados have been throwing around the term “engagement metrics.” This term is popping up all around the web, but for this article we’ll define engagement as what happens between an open and a click.
Advanced analytics software can track how long a subscriber has an email open. This offers context to your open rates because you can uncover whether someone opened your email only to immediately hit delete, or if someone actually took the time to engage in your content. Check out the standard ‘thresholds’ set to categorize a read, skim or glance:
- Glance/Delete Rate – Email open for 2 seconds or less
- Skim Rate – Email open for 3 to 7 seconds
- Read Rate – Email open for 8 seconds or more
Below you can see what an engagement time distribution report looks like:
This engagement distribution lets you know that of the opens, at least 64% actually read (had it opened for 8 seconds or more) the email. Unfortunately, you can also see that a quarter of the emails were opened just to be quickly deleted. If you find yourself having very high delete rates, it’s time to take a step back and look at what you did differently in this email compared to others. Then, you can identify the elements of the campaign that differ from your past successes and remove them from your future approach.
With this kind of reporting, you can also see engagement based on viewing environment shown in the graphs below:
This information is useful because it can show you if your email is more or less engaging based on the reading environment.
If, for example, you had low read rates on mobile clients compared to desktop or web clients, you need to take a good look at how your email was displaying on mobile. Maybe it wasn’t rendering correctly. Or maybe you didn’t use large enough buttons for the reader on-the-go. There are lots of different design elements to keep in mind for mobile, so make sure you adhere to them to make your emails easily digestible in every inbox. These engagement rates help you understand if your email was able to get its message across, no matter where they read it or how big their screen was.
Heatmapping & Click Tracking
Go a step beyond engagement reporting and visually see how your recipients are engaging and interacting with your email via heat maps. This technology lets you gauge what interests your audience the most within your email. Forget only tracking CTR, with the click map overlay you can see if your audience prefers pictures to text, where in the email most of the clicks happen, etc.
In the example above, 34.51% of people clicked the first “Get Access” CTA button. Under that button is an image that received 38.05% clicks. Both the image and button sent you to the same place, but this shows that only using a button in your email wouldn’t cut it as more people prefer to click on the images. The heatmap also shows that only 1.77% of clicks occurred on the second “Upgrade” CTA button. This reveals that most people are only clicking on the upper half of the email, so ensure the most important element in your email is at the top.
Click tracking is also an extremely useful tool as you can see in seconds how clicks were dispersed.
If your link that served as the main CTA didn’t get the most clicks out of all the email links, you’ll want to re-think your strategy. Perhaps it was placed too far down the page or the text within the CTA was not actionable enough.
At the end of the day, these two features will let you get a pulse on the effectiveness of the elements and design of your email. Get visual representation of what you are doing right and wrong.
Email Client Tracking
There are thousands of client quirks out there ready to make your email look crappy. That’s why you want to focus your energy on coding your templates for clients that your subscribers are actually using. That’s where email client reporting comes in! Software can track what devices and clients your emails are being read on as you can see in the examples below.
This information can be advantageous for a marketer if the higher-ups are claiming there isn’t enough money in the budget to make the email templates mobile-friendly through responsive or fluid hybrid design. If you can show to your boss that half off your emails are being opened on phones or tablets, you’ve got the justification to go responsive now and not a second later.
Another way you could use this data is for optimizing emails in the clients and devices that are most popular among your audience. For example, if the #1 mobile device for your audience is the iPhone 6 and the most popular email client is Outlook, you had better know how to fix alignment issues in Outlook and use media queries for iOS devices.
Save time and money by centering your efforts on key clients and devices.
Subscriber- Level Report
There are tons of ways you can pull broad information from a campaign, but what if you want to narrow down your analytics to an individual? Luckily it’s possible to get such a granular view with subscriber-level campaign reports. It’s a snap shot of each subscriber’s interaction with your email campaigns. For example, you can dig even deeper with these reports to track an individual’s email activities like when they opened, what they clicked, and where the email was read. Plus, a whole lot more!
You can use this data for a multitude of things. For example, it gives you a good idea of how attentive your audience is to your emails. If you see more than half of your opens happening 2-3 days after the send, you may want to avoid “One Day Only Sale” promotions. You can also use this to retarget customers who may have opened the email too late to take advantage of an offer. Use the “time of day” part of this time stamp to help determine when your audience is most receptive to your emails. You can then adjust your send time to hit this key time perfectly on your next send. Really, the possibilities are endless with this detailed of reporting. This report is your marketing oyster.
Knowing where your contacts live can be seriously powerful information. Tracking opens by geographic location lets you answer questions like whether you should deploy campaigns by different time zones or if a recipient is close enough for you to target them about a local company event coming up.
A great way to utilize geographic location would be by localizing subject lines! The mega retail store, Target, made good use of this tactic when they tested localization in promotional emails. They did this by identifying which Target stores were close to their recipient’s listed address. The email sent to them featured the name of the subscriber’s local store in the subject line, as well as that store’s telephone number and store-specific links.
Another great example of using geolocation to personalize email copy was seen by S-Digital in an email campaign for the Open Golf Championship. The example below uses geolocation and routing services to create dedicated travel directions (to the Championships) for each and every recipient of the campaign!
As a result of the campaign, the online traffic increased by 250% with over 500 leads!
How are you measuring success?
What you don’t know can hurt you, and that’s why you need analytics software that will go beyond just tracking opens and clicks. Learn when, where, for how long, and on what clients and devices yours emails are being viewed with Email on Acid. Try us free for 7 days and get unlimited access to our advanced analytics so you can focus your testing and optimization where it really matters.
Author: Alex Ilhan
Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.