Analytical marketing is measured marketing. If it can be measured, it can be improved.
The most important lesson in measurement is to accept that you are only competing against yourself. Industry averages shouldn’t mean squat to you. You should care most about benchmarking your own analytics over time.
What should you measure? Plenty of things: deliverability rate, unsubscribe rate, open rate, click-through rate, spam complaints, multichannel analytics, revenue, and ROI.
If you see open rates steadily declining over time, don’t go into a panic attack. Keep in mind that many ISPs and Outlook have image rendering turned off as the default. A trend in image suppression may indicate image filtering rather than a decline in engagement with the email.
Achieving high click-through rates is typically a good thing. Getting reported as spam is always a bad thing. If it happens enough times, it can take a real toll on your deliverability rates.
Combined web and email analytics can provide you with two huge advantages: You can determine the big picture effectiveness of your email, and you can capture additional data on an individual subscriber’s behavior (remember, current behavior is the best predictor of future behavior).
Which is the most important metric? It depends on your business. But at the end of the day, we are trying to build relationships that make our organization money. You want to focus on what’s impacting your bottom line.