E-mail marketers are driven by measurement, but e-mail measurement metrics are not standardized across the industry.
While it is perfectly legitimate for an e-mail marketer to measure its own campaigns against past efforts to create valid numbers, comparing a marketer’s efforts to the rest of the industry is a lot foggier.
When marketers say their e-mail click rates are up, they are using vague statistics because e-mail service providers define their deliverability and rendering differently. For example, if an ESP defines a delivered e-mail as one that lands in the spam box, click rates could be lower. If the marketer counts e-mails that did not render, the fact that a consumer opened the message might make it seem less meaningful.
To fix this, the Direct Marketing Association’s e-mail division, the E-mail Experience Council, released an industry standard for metrics in March. Service providers AllWebEmail and Email Transmit adopted these standards, and 11 other companies have said they will do the same. This includes Alterian, BlueHornet, Blue Sky Factory, Bronto Software, Cooler Email, Green Arrow, Office Autopilot, Send Pepper, Silverpop, SubscriberMail and YesMail.
A universal system is still far away, but hopefully the industry can come together on this issue. Then, when companies release metrics saying click rates are up, it will means something.