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Open Rates Aren't Everything

Posted by Rhiana Duckett December 14, 2020

Using ROI to Track Email Success

When it comes to measuring the success of a campaign, email is one of the most straightforward channels to track. With clear, instantly-available open and click rates, it’s easy to attribute sales to an email send.

Or so we thought...

Seeing the bigger picture

To see the true impact email has on sales, we ran some in-depth analysis for one of our clients.

Using standard email metrics, the results were nothing to shout about, with the campaign delivering just 14 purchases (0.01% of the 116,606 recipients).


When we matched the data back to in-direct purchases though – those people who received the email but whose final click came from another channel – we were surprised by the results.

Of those who opened the email, 50 went on to make a purchase. That instantly takes the conversion rate from 0.01% to 0.04%.

Even more surprisingly, of the 112,941 who didn’t open the email, 1,181 made a purchase. That’s a conversion rate of 1.05%.

Adding all the purchases together, the email actually delivered 1,254 sales in total. A conversion rate of 1.06% against the full send.


Opens aren’t everything

Our results clearly showed that even if a customer doesn’t open the email, just seeing it in their inbox can trigger renewed interest and purchases. So even if their last click comes from, for instance, paid search, the sale could still be attributed to email. These numbers also show a significant uplift in comparison to the control group, further confirming our findings.

All in all, this has huge implications for the future of email measurement. While clicks and opens are a helpful way of comparing campaigns, they don’t tell the whole story.

To really see what’s going on, ROI is a more useful measure of success. It may take a little time to set up, but an accurate attribution model will give you a much clearer idea of what’s driving sales.


To find out more about attribution modelling, or to dig a little deeper in your own email results, email or call 01908 829300.