What metrics actually matter — and how does my newsletter compare?Jacque Boltik & Nicco Mele, Shorenstein Center,
This research paper looks closely at a serious problem among publishers: Incomplete, inaccurate and overly simplified email data. It covers ground that any news organization with an email product ought to understand, including:
- How different email service providers (ESPs) calculate benchmarks — such as open rates and click-through rates — differently
- How to think not just about email list size, but email list composition
- Comparisons based on unique open rate and unique click rate, illustrating the differences between a common list, a very engaged list and a struggling list
- How to study and understand churn
- How to understand, at a deeper level, audience engagement via email over time
Email performance data is the gateway to understanding a range of characteristics about your current readership and opportunities for growth. Yet, a far too common mistake is an over-reliance on open and click rates alone—these numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. We must shift to effectively leveraging email data—data every publisher owns—for a deeper analysis of online audiences.