What Your Email Click Through Rates and Bounce Reports Are Telling You

Irina Doliov
May. 15, 2015 by Irina Doliov

ClickThruRateHow do you know if you’re being successful with your outbound email? Generally, senders look at bounce rates, open or render rates, and clickthrough rates as metrics to determine the success of their messaging efforts. However, when comparing competing email service providers, the efficacy of one versus another is sometimes difficult to determine because different ESPs calculate bounce rates, clickthrough rates and open rates differently. Understanding how numbers are derived is essential to clarity.

In determining how we would calculate these metrics, SparkPost takes a conservative stand, always using the number that you sent (targeted) as the foundation for any calculation. So the bounce rate is calculated as bounces divided by targeted. Other ESPs such as SendGrid use the “accepted” or “delivered” number as the denominator, which means making a direct comparison isn’t possible without the raw numbers for a given campaign or time period. “Accepted” or “Delivered” factors out bounces – which results in a lower denominator – and therefore a higher overall rate.

We chose “Targeted” as the denominator in rate calculations for a number of reasons. The primary is that in looking at the industry, we discovered that the only written and agreed-upon set of standards for how these metrics are defined and calculated has been established by the Email Experience Council (EEC).

The Email Experience Council has been working to standardize the terminology and calculations for these metrics and SparkPost uses that industry benchmark in reporting data to its customers. The metrics definitions can be downloaded from the EEC website here:http://redpillemail.com/eec/standardizedmetrics.pdf

Now that we’ve launched, we will work to get the EEC certification. Unfortunately, not all ESPs have made the change. This fact is important to keep in mind as you begin to use SparkPost, especially if you find yourself wondering why your clickthrough rates are different from what you saw with a previous provider.

To learn more:

Bounce classification codes https://www.sparkpost.com/docs/bounce-classification-codeshttps://www.sparkpost.com/docs/bounce-classification-codes

Consuming SparkPost Webhook Events with Loggly – Part 1 of 3https://www.sparkpost.com/blog/consuming-sparkpost-webhook-events-loggly-part-1-3 

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