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Are You Digging into Your Data Gold Mine?

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by: Loren McDonald (@LorenMcDonald)
15 December 2009

A wealth of data is hiding within your email program. While many email marketers rely on the standard email reports, slicing this data by various factors, including opt-in source, time, demographics, activity and much more can reveal a number of actionable insights.

You can use these metrics to diagnose problems and uncover improvement opportunities. Following are eight examples:

1. Metrics sliced by ISP domain: This can tell you whether, for example, AOL subscribers open, click or convert more or less often than Yahoo Mail or Hotmail subscribers. Segment your list by domain name and compare performances within each segment on these metrics. This analysis can help uncover deliverability or design and rendering issues at a specific ISP, for example.

2. Overall performance by opt-in source: Do subscribers who opt in on your email subscription page differ from those who found you through an affiliate partner, a co-registration site, paid-search or your purchase process? This analysis can reveal greater or less engagement from certain sources and drive changes to opt-in forms and processes.

3. Response rates by time of day/day of week: This can help you figure out the best time or day to send. Plot a graph comparing response rates to sending day and time and look for a pattern.

4. Response rates by key business demographics: This metric can tell you whether certain demographics are underperforming, leading to a need for better content and segmentation.

5. Engagement among new subscribers: Segment new subscribers from your general message stream, and track opens and clicks on your welcome email and other initial emails. Target those who don't act on these initial emails with a separate email inquiring about problems or questions.

6. Message activity: Measure how much activity each message generates—the average number of clicks per person clicking ("clicks per clicker"); number of opens per opener; which types of links consistently drive higher click activity; and more.

7. Metrics sliced by time on list: Conventional wisdom says long-time subscribers generate less activity than newer subscribers. Segment your list in varying time increments (two weeks since opt-in, one month, three months, six months, one year, two years plus) and compare segments on metrics such as opens, clicks, conversions, unsubscribes and spam complaints. Use the information to improve the welcome experience and plan re-engagement campaigns.

8. Active vs. inactive subscribers: Analyze subscribers by their activity level, such as no opens or clicks for at least six months. Incorporate this analysis with purchase behavior and other activities to drive re-engagement and list hygiene activities.

These are just a few examples of the types of analysis you can do by using the gold mine of email data you have at your fingertips. Let your imagination run wild and see how many nuggets you can uncover.

What are your favorite and most valuable metrics you've discovered from slicing existing data in new ways? Please share them in the comments field.




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