A Call to Action for Standard Email Metrics


The email marketing industry needs standard reporting and metrics.

Today it is impossible to compare and benchmark response and deliverability rates across the industry because marketers get reports with different terms based on different calculations. Marketers are restricted in comparing reports and synchronizing data when looking to evaluate or change email broadcast vendors.

Inaccurate or inconsistent metrics diffuse the credibility of email marketers.  If our own metrics cannot conform to benchmarks, we lessen our ability to convince senior management and fellow digital marketers of our success.  It also hinders our ability to negotiate for resources.

You can help.  Read the quick background here and then take action with the links below.

The email marketing industry may be ignobly unique among direct and online marketing disciplines for our lack of measurement standardization.  For the past two years, the members of the eec Measurement Accuracy Roundtable (a volunteer member committee)  have wrestled with the problem of a lack of a consistent and unified standards for the most basic email metrics such as delivered, open and click.

Through our work, the Roundtable has built a foundation for industry standardization for these basic but important metrics.

We have created (and vetted) new definitions of key measures so that they are not only accurate, but the names accurately reflect the measure.  (You can read in past eec blog postings about the struggles and debates to come up with terms we could all support.)  Latest definitions are here.

We have surveyed dozens of email broadcast vendors (ESP’s and MTA/on-premise providers) in order to audit existing reporting and gauge the level of variance across the industry.  Please note that the eec Roundtable does not support or claim that any one provider’s method of calculating common metrics is better than any other.  Many ESP’s and other broadcast vendors participated in the development of these definitions.  We are very grateful for their support.

The Roundtable has repeatedly come to the industry – practitioners, eec members and thought leaders – to gather feedback and insights.

Now it’s time for action.

Here’s how you can help us start the ball rolling.  Join our launch efforts now.

Voice your support (or dissent) for standardization of metrics in our industry.  Take this one question survey.

Read the definitions

Tell us your thoughts and send in any corrections to the Roundtable.

CommitSign the petition to advance standard metrics now.

Join the Roundtable (eec members only).  Just email Ali at the eec.

Please place your comments below.  And stay tuned!

Thanks to the hard working members of the eec Measurement Accuracy Roundtable! 

– John Caldwell & Luke Glasner, eec Measurement Accuracy Roundtable Co-Chairs



5 thoughts on “A Call to Action for Standard Email Metrics

  1. I agree we need standard metrics across the industry to help us as marketers understand what we are reporting on, especially as we start to use new tools as we move in our jobs.

    I don??t feel that the use of standard metrics in producing industry benchmarks will help us though. I feel general email benchmarks are used as a crutch and can get in the way of having an informed dialog with senior management. Unless Benchmarks can be given on list size, targeting, content type, geography etc in relation to your list you won??t be able to have the conversations you need to help your organization.

  2. I do feel that standardization of some basic metrics mentioned above would be helpful in reducing confusion and misinterpretation of data.

    The problem with this movement lies in the fact that; 1) Everyone defines success by a different metric 2) Business are constantly coming up with new ways to look into data to gain relevant insights and 3) General industry benchmarks are not that useful when launching highly targeted campaigns.

    Couple this with upgrades in technology then add in an evolving social media and you have an analytical environment that is constantly changing.

  3. Hi, do consider to include Socialization-Rate on the definition to standardize / monitor at industry level. Most ESP’s already include the "fwd-2-friend/post-on-Facebook" functionality on their offering and have seen it provides a truly distinct metric on campaign effectiveness compared to overall CTR/CTO.

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