The problem with classic email campaign metrics

LinegraphAre you really customer centric? Many email marketers talk of being customer centric and wanting to engage customers, yet in most cases its campaigns that are measured and not customers.

How can you know if you are engaging customers if you aren’t measuring them?

In the early years of email marketing with a monthly send campaign metrics did an adequate job. However the situation has become more complex. Frequency has been increased to many times a month for some brands, segmentation is used so that on each send different portions of the customer base is contacted and on top of that triggered email programmes are overlaid.

With all those emails flying around classic campaign metrics fail to capture this complexity.

As an example consider these four campaigns sent over a two week period. Due to segmentation each send is of a different size.

Week 1Monday10,0002,00020%804%
Week 1Wednesday25,0005,00020%4008%
Week 2Tuesday15,0003,75025%37510%
Week 2Thursday50,0007,50015%3755%


Now ask the question how many customers were engaged in this period?

The metrics can’t tell us. What if some customers are in just one segment and others in multiple segments? A customer may have clicked on zero, one, two, three or four campaigns. Are those 1,230 clicks from the same 1,230 customers or is every click from a different customer? We simply don’t know how many unique customers were engaged and by how much.

Now consider the customers who are in the database that were sent nothing, the metrics don’t reflect we didn’t even talk to those customers.

I’ve been working with three other DMA Email council hub members on what is needed to measure customers and engagement. You may download and read the resulting discussion paper we’ve authored.

Whilst a big step forwards this is a starting point, the intention of the authors is to further verify and improve this, however one thing is clear, we won’t be changing the view back to campaign metrics as a way of determining customer engagement.

Until next time, keep pushing the envelope.