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5 email metrics to track-ashlyn writes blog


last updated:
August 20, 2021


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Reading time: 9 min.

True life: I’m an email marketing copywriter, which means I love digital marketing, but I also am obsessed with my privacy and my data online—it’s a weird life. 😉 Apple and iOS have some privacy updates that are coming down the pipeline, which, yay, when we have our consumer hat on, but *cringe* for our email metrics. These changes will directly affect the email metrics that you’re measuring in your creative small business, as you use email marketing. Soooo let’s talk about it.

5 Email Metrics You NEED to Track- Ashlyn Writes Blog

Now when you first hop in and look at your email marketing analytics, you may get a *little* bit overwhelmed with all of the geeky vocab flying around in there, but I wanna break it down and make it as simple as possible for you to track and figure out what to look at. I want to set you up so that your email marketing is on track for success.

By the end of this post, you’ll learn what email marketing metrics actually matter and the ones that I don’t really care about. Plus, since we are on the cusp of that new iOS update, I’m gonna give you my opinion on what things to actually change up and how you can prep best for it.

So today we are talking through these 5 email metrics:

  1. Open rate (explain what open rate means)
  2. Click through rate
  3. Unsubscribe rate
  4. Conversion rate
  5. List growth rate

If you’re working through this and  you want to grab some email subject line swipe files, don’t forget to click here or down below for a link to my 42 Plug-And-Play Email Subject Line Templates!⬇️⬇️

Email Metric No. 1| Open Rate

Come out of the gate here and give me the big secret. I’ve talked about this in some other videos, you want to make your subject line, which is what your open rate is kind of dependent on— you want to make that obsolete. Instead, I am far more concerned about how I and how my copywriting clients can build that know, like, trust factor so much that when a reader sees your name in the inbox, it’s no question, they absolutely click open—they want to hear from YOU.

Now, here’s why that matters more than ever. Apple has recently unveiled some of the features that the iOS 15 update will have. For many of us working here in the digital marketing and email marketing space, some of these features are a little bit, *shall we say* not so fabulous. Like I said, I love privacy as a consumer, but it’s gonna hurt the way we track email metrics and that’s okay, we just have to prep for it.

As it is, open rate is a super inaccurate email metric. Think about things like unroll.me. If you use a tool like that, that screws things up because essentially to track an open rate, here’s what happens. An email service provider embeds an invisible pixel in each email. And that email goes out if the email is opened and the image is displayed, tracking information to sit back and recorded as an open, sounds great in theory, but it’s simply not reliable.

5 Email Metrics You NEED to Track-ashlyn writes blog

From far away, it’s okay. But up close, it’s a big, old mess.

I’m telling you all this because I don’t want you to freak out so much about your open rate. We’re gonna get into what you actually should worry so much about later on. If email open rates were that imperative for us to look at in the future.

<< Related:45 Swipeable Email Marketing Ideas Your Subscribers Will LOVE >>

Now with this update, according to tactical.co, with this feature, you are not gonna be able to tell what recipients are using iOS 15 devices when they open the emails and open rates are important for tracking the success in most email marketing campaigns, at least a lot of us look at it that way. Furthermore, this is my favorite part of the article, it’s the metric that most marketers use when cleaning your lists. I mean, if you’ve cleaned your list before, this is probably something you’ve looked at, who’s actually opening your emails?

How can you prep best for this update? Well, today, go ahead and put it on your calendar for this week or next. I want you to go ahead and clean your list. We’ve talked about how to do that in some of my other videos—this is paramount for you to go ahead and do— you should be cleaning your list regularly anyway.

Email Metric No. 2| Click-through Rate

This is surprise, surprise,  the number of people that after that email is open, click the hyperlink that you have inside your email, where you want people to go.

For example, when I send out my weekly dog-ear newsletter, I include the main link that I want them to go to three different times—that’s the same hyperlink, three times.

I’m gonna put it once above the fold. So for people on mobile devices, it’s there at the ready. I’m usually going to link some sort of either an image or a button. And then I’ll also probably hyperlink an entire sentence.

<< Related:How to Write Better Emails: My PROVEN Email Newsletter Formula >>

That percentage of people who click the link, that forms the click through rate, that is always the metric that I’m way more concerned about than the open rate. While industry standard varies from industry to industry, a whopping 2% is kind of the overall average—that’s something to think about as you’re looking at your metrics.

I harp on it with my team when we’re going through and crafting different campaigns for our copywriting clients. One thing you could always do is remember that each email has one goal, essentially one CTA. Now there’s variance there. I’m gonna change it up sometimes, but overall, I have one goal and one big call to action or a link that I’m driving to in every single email.  Sometimes you’ll send out roundups, but by and large, go with that rule.

5 Email Metrics You NEED to Track-ashlyn writes blog

Another tip, and I talked about this when I did a video all about your subject line, you would think that your subject line has more of an effect on your open rate, but weirdly enough, it actually has more of an effect on your click through rate. 

Another way to say that is your click-through rate can change depending on how powerful and strong your subject line is.

Think about it as when they see your subject line, that is priming them for what they’re gonna see as whatever they should click on in the body of your email—that priming is very important.

A little mathlete note to mention here for you to remember—your open rate and your click through rate are going to naturally decrease as your email list grows. That’s just how math works. That can be helpful to keep in mind as you’re hearing maybe how peers are doing in the industry or those metrics can be different depending on somebody who has 100,000 person list and somebody who has 100 people or 1000 people on their email list.

Go ahead and let me know in the comments below, does that 2% industry standard click-through rate number surprise you or does it make you feel good? Is that a little bit more on track to what you are seeing in your email marketing platform? I’d love to know. 🙂

<< Related A How-To Guide For Tracking Metrics That Matter >>

Email Metric No. 3| Unsubscribe Rate

Hot take here, but I don’t care about this from that much. I’ll tell you in just a sec what I’m more concerned about, but I would always rather, whether it’s social media metrics or email marketing metrics, I would rather have a smaller list of more loyal people who are tuned into what I wanna say and wanna be there and don’t mind me pitching and selling from time to time, than a broad list of people.

<< Related: Write Better Newsletters: 5 Ways to Get People to Read Your Emails >>

I have a friend who logs into her email marketing platform and puts her hand over the unsubscribe number until she gets to where she wants to. I personally look at it, but I don’t worry about it that much, because I’m more concerned about what I’ll tell you in #5.

Bird Box Horror GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY

Okay we’ve talked through these email metrics so far: open rate, click through rate, and unsubscribe rate. The next email metric we’re concerned about is the conversion rate—you knew I was gonna say this one. 😉

Email Metric No. 4| Conversion Rate

This is what happens when they get on the other side of that link that they clicked in your email. Do they actually convert? Do they do what you wanted them to do? Did they go to the shop page and buy the template? Did they click through to the sales page and actually purchase your offer? Did they click through to the reg page and sign up for whatever challenge or webinar hype piece you have going for your launch?

If you follow my Quarterly Champagne Campaign system that I teach inside Prime to Launch, which essentially, is setting up your business to do FOUR big launches a year. Then when you’re in one of those launch seasons, this is when you start to measure for that metric. Your typical weekly newsletter probably isn’t gonna be as concerned about converting because we’re starting to, in those weekly newsletters tackle those objections and start to prime for your offer. We’re not concerned yet about converting to the sale, but when I’m in pre-launch for that hype piece phase, then I’m worried about this.

5 Email Metrics You NEED to Track-ashlyn writes blog

Now in a recent video I walked through and basically gave you a screenshot-able example of what your email funnel could look like for a say, evergreen webinar launch, that may help you. I’ve also talked about conversion rates, borderline ad nauseum in this video, I will link that in the description box.

Here’s my final little soap box moment—watching is a numbers game. I know I’ve said that before here. I’m gonna say it again. I tend to see students in clients be a little surprised that conversion rates are just by and large, lower than maybe what they were expecting. And that’s like most math, most numbers. That’s not for us to judge. It’s just something for us to keep in mind as we build our lists. As we grow for our traffic, leading into a pre-launch for a launch phase, you got to do that backwards math and figure out if this is the goal that you wanna sell, how much traffic do we need to go into that funnel?

Email Metric No. 5| List Growth Rate

All right, and the last email metric is number five, list growth rate. Okay, I told you I’m not as concerned about the unsubscribes. What I am concerned about is this though, this is essentially the over-under of how much our email list grew in a single week, new subscribers minus the unsubscribers or the balances. What you wanna track here is your email list growth and attrition, either a week over week or a month over month, quarter over quarter, basically, are you adding more email addresses every single month than you lose through your unsubscribes and your hard bounces.

You want to make sure you’re tracking all of these email metrics when it comes to your email list.

I want you to get ready for that iOS update. And I want you to just map these things at least quarterly in your business. Again, that’s open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribes conversion rate and the overall list growth rate. These provides such valuable information, and they’re gonna help guide you in the direction that you need to go for your email marketing fabulousness in your business.

If you’ve got any questions about the emal metrics I covered today, as always, make sure that you leave them in the comments below and be sure to check out the video —I’m showing you all about how to craft a sales and a launch sequence for the upcoming, big marketing campaign you’ve got in your creative business. Here’s to working from a place of more rest, less hustle, and I’ll see you in the next one.

⬇️ Don’t forget to click here or down below to grab your FREEBIE:  my 42 Plug-And-Play Email Subject Line Templates! ⬇️



5 Email Metrics You NEED to Track- Ashlyn Writes Blog

Reading Time: 9 Minutes Reading time: 9 min. True life: I’m an email marketing copywriter, which means I love digital marketing, but I also am obsessed with my privacy and my data online—it’s a weird life. 😉 Apple and iOS have some privacy updates that are coming down the pipeline, which, yay, when we have our consumer hat on, […]


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