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How to Get High Email Deliverability: 8 Email Marketing Success Metrics

Travis Balinas
June 3, 2014

How to Get High Email Deliverability - 8 Email Marketing Success MetricsUsing email marketing for your business is only as successful as your deliverability rate. If you cannot send emails and land them in someone’s inbox, then there’s really no point in sending them at all. However, to get the most out of email marketing, you need to know what to monitor and measure in order to be successful.

Which Factors Impact the Success of an Email?

There are eight factors email marketers should monitor and measure in order to provide the best, most successful outcomes for their efforts: deliverability rate, inbox rate, open rate, bounce rate, unsubscribes, spam reports, subject lines, and formatting. We meticulously measure each of these factors to help our customers succeed.

Success Metric #1: Deliverability Rate

Email deliverability is incredibly important to the success of any email marketing campaign. In short, email deliverability rate (or acceptance rate) is the success rate an email marketer has in getting an email delivered to a person’s email address. This is everything that goes on behind the scenes like CAN-SPAM compliance, warming of IP addresses, and decades of best practices. Read more in depth about how to get a great deliverability rate here.

Success Metric #2: Inbox Rate

Deliverability is the measure of how many emails we send that get accepted by the email server. The inbox rate is the measure of how many of those emails are delivered to the inbox.

The simple way to calculate this is the number of emails that reach the inbox divided by the number of emails that were sent. This number does not include the emails that are sent to the spam or bulk folder. Read more about inbox rates.

Success Metric #3: Bounce Rate

The bounce rate metric is defined as the number of emails that are rejected by the receiving server. While the deliverability rate (or acceptance rate) counts the number of emails that the receiving server does accept, the bounce rate counts the emails that are returned to you. High email bounce rates will negatively impact the sender, so it’s important to keep this rate low. Read more about bounce rates.

Success Metric #4: Open Rate

By definition, the open rate is the measure of how many people opened the emails that ended up in inboxes. This is one of the more important metrics for email marketers because it directly correlates with how successful their campaigns are performing. Read more about open rates.

Success Metric #5: Unsubscribes

Email unsubscribes are the number of people who request to stop receiving your emails. With a small business, your email unsubscribes likely will be relatively low by nature due largely in part to the personal relationship you have with the recipients. But with a larger email list, you might not know all of those people on a personal basis, thus potentially giving you a higher unsubscribe rate. Read more about unsubscribe rates.

Success Metric #6: Spam Reports

Simply stated, this is when someone reports an email as being spam. While you might think this simply means that the email gets moved to the spam folder, it actually has a greater impact than you might think. Most major email services will start blocking your IP address for all the emails you try to send if they receive more than a handful of complaints. Read more about spam reports.

Success Metric #7: Email Subject Lines

The role of the subject line in email marketing is two-fold. Subject lines are what entice people to open an email while giving them enough information to pique their interest, but without giving away the punch line. The other role of the subject line that might not be as well-known is how it helps to weed out spam emails.

Spam filters have a list of keywords, phrases and text styling triggers that scoop up bad emails and either send them to the spam or bulk folder, or they reject the email completely. We’ve covered the top words that can get you in trouble before, and it’s something that we continually monitor for the success of our clients. Check out the worst offenders here.

The best subject lines are ones that are interesting, compelling enough to get someone to open, have a low character count, and that don’t give everything away up front. Writing the perfect subject line is challenging when you have to operate within the confines of trigger words but also write in a creative enough way to keep your open rates high.

Success Metric #8: Email Formatting

Ever get an email sent to you and the image or text extends off the screen? That person did not take the time to fully understand (and test) the importance of properly formatting their email for compatibility. With the number of operating systems, web browsers, devices, and email clients out there, there are literally thousands of ways your email could be presented after being sent. See for yourself just how many factors go into designing the perfect email newsletter.


When crafting an email marketing strategy, it’s important to keep all of these elements in mind before you start. Having a working knowledge of the ins and outs of delivering an email successfully will give you a strong baseline of metrics to analyze as you build out your approach to email marketing. You can’t monitor what you aren’t measuring. Just remember that there’s always more than what meets the eye when it comes to email marketing, and if you would rather someone do the work for you, we’re always here to help.

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