ESPs: Implementing The Render Rate

The email marketing industry has never had a consensus around metrics, something that contributes to its reputation as an immature marketing channel. When I heard about the Measurement and Accuracy Roundtable at the eec I was excited to join the metrics conversation and help contribute to solidifying some table-stakes metrics.

Less than a year later we’ve come up with a proposal – one that represents a large step forward for email marketers. However, it also means a good bit of work. Many email marketing service providers (ESPs), email marketing vendors and individual marketers now have to start considering some new numbers.

This proposal not only calls out where everyone should eventually be, it also provides consistent names for related metrics. For us at ESPs, it means that we can immediately make it clear to our clients where we stand.

A great approach is to embrace an “Educate, Enhance and Evolve” approach. What does that entail?

1. Educate your clients on where they currently stand
Is what you’ve been calling ‘Opens’ now defined as the Action Rate? If so, then let them know, that doesn’t mean you need to change the name right away, but you should provide a tool tip or a more detailed description in your help guides. Also link to the new standards, or provide your own copy of them within your application. This will empower them to do more with their data.

2. Enhance your current reports with some of the new metrics
You may have been showing just one number, the one you thought best represented ‘Opens’. But we’ve opened the door, there are a number of different metrics which each tell a different story. By providing more of this information you allow your clients to dig deeper into their statistics and gain a better understanding of their recipients. Of course with more information comes more questions; be sure to provide detailed information about how these numbers are calculated as well as why they are important.

3. Evolve from the days of ‘Opens’
That’s right, the goal here is to stop reporting ‘Opens’ at all. Do we expect the industry to forget about ‘Open Rates’ by tomorrow? No, but we do expect the experts to start moving away from it soon. When industry leading ESPs follow suit it will help to create momentum and drive the whole industry forward.

By defining and adhering to industry standards we are enabling all email marketers to converse with the confidence that they are comparing apples to apples. This is a big step in the move towards getting email marketing the respect it deserves as a mature marketing channel.

– Adam Covati, Bronto Software