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How Important are Email Statistics

Filed in: Email Marketing

Email Stats

How important are email stats? That’s a question that I ask myself every time I look at our email stats. There are so many intertwined variables that I want to put a different perspective on what the numbers could mean.

Things to think about…

  • Time of year, month, week, day and current season – Best practices say test different times of the week and day to find out when you get the best opens and click throughs. I personally think you would need many years of data to really compare apples to apples. For example you should compare the stats of time of day sent around the same time of year to really get a more definitive answer on whether one time was more effective than the other.
  • Did your competitors send an email around the same time – If your competitor happen to send a newsletter about the same time you did with a sale wouldn’t that have implications on your results. Do you count that into your statistics somehow?
  • Weather – Natural disasters happen, it rains for days, it’s wonderful outside or any other weather scenario can happen. Do you then break down your stats to be filtered by geolocation to find out what the true numbers mean. If you got wild fires burning near your house you’re probably not going to buy detailing products from Detailed Image even if it is our biggest sale of the year. We have many customers from California which could greatly skew our numbers.
  • Email preview pane – If it opens in the preview pane, does it mean the user opened it, even though they deleted without even looking at the email.
  • Types of email: Sales vs Content– Some users like content, some like sales, and some like both so shouldn’t the success of your email be weighted somehow.
  • Type of sale or content – Different sales and content appeal to different people which will return different results. You have to remember not all subscribers want the same thing so you have to try to appeal your subscribers with various sales and content.
  • Holidays – The competition for inbox space is ruthless during holidays as retailers are out in full force to get your attention. The success of your email may directly be related to your competition.
  • Expectations – A string of bad newsletters can turn subscribers off but they haven’t unsubscribed until a newsletter that was actually very successful. It was successful but not quite good enough for those expecting more after a string of valueless emails. High unsubscribes skew a successful email to be unsuccessful.
  • Cyclical buyers – What if your buyers were all in sync with their buying times which could make an email look tremendously successful or not.
  • Your business’s current growth – High growth could shadow problems by making an email look successful when it’s really the other parts of the business contributing to a successful email.
  • What the user wants – An email that may not look successful statistically may have nailed the bullseye of a small niche part of your list.
  • Unsubscribes – Did the unsubscrbe come due to the failure of the email to meet subscriber expectation? Or horrible customer service? Or email frequency? It could be anything and from my experience you only get reasons for the unsubscription a small percentage of the time.

Those are just a few things I could think of that could make your email stats look a certain way. I’m not saying that email statistics mean nothing, I’m just saying the numbers can be deceiving at times. There are many variables that come into play on the statistics of an email. Now ponder this, how much time and effort is it worth to break down the numbers to learn why the numbers are what they are to maximize your results? That’s a really good question because it looks like you can always break down the numbers a little further. These are just some of my thoughts on email stats.

11/12/2010 Comments (0)

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