If you’re an email marketer, you’re probably pretty used to being asked questions like, “How was the open rate on that email campaign?” or “How did you choose that subject line on that email?”

The answers to these questions can often be a bit more complex than the requester realizes. To thoughtfully and accurately answer these types of questions, we need to make sure we’re comparing apple to apple metrics, and have strong and dependable reporting to reference back to.

In order to achieve this, we need to compare similar types of campaigns with historical data. Historical data can help create a benchmark to help you understand the “norm” of how similar types of campaigns perform, so when something rises above or dips from the norm, it stands out.

Where should you start?

Depending on your business, a good place to start measuring and benchmarking your email performance might include some of your most consistent, or highest volume emails such as your:

With any measurement, it’s important to iterate and make sure you’re building upon previous successes as well as learning from those things that didn’t do so well. Keeping tabs on your stats helps you understand what indicators to watch out for to know that everything is running smoothly with your emails. It’s also important to measure the same email engagement metrics each time so you are consistently building upon your performance.

Some metrics that you may consider starting with may be:

SendGrid’s Email Benchmark Report breaks down industry-specific averages and performance, so make sure you check that out as well!

Where do these stats come from?

Your email service provider (ESP) will likely have an option to view email campaign performance or run a report for you. While I’ve personally spent a lot of time manually pulling stats after campaigns, there are automated options out there that will pull these stats for you.

If you have a SendGrid account, you can have these stats shared with you on a monthly basis in the form of a pdf report. Beyond just campaign performance, this Expert Insights report allows you to keep tabs on the health of your deliverability, and also gives you specific advice on things you could improve on, shared directly from our team of deliverability experts.

Whether you’re logging your email stats manually, or through something like Expert Insights, staying on a consistent cadence for reporting will help you stay on top of your email program health.

So, back to those questions you regularly receive from teammates or bosses. With the appropriate reporting, as well as benchmarking, these questions will be easy as you’ll have the right comparison to share, and the right data to reference.

Boss: “Why did we choose that subject line?”
You: “Because (for example) in recent months we’ve learned short and optimistic language resonates for that type of campaign/for that audience.”

As marketers’ jobs become increasingly data-driven, metrics and benchmarks are only going to become more and more critical. Interested in comparing beyond your own program? Examine email benchmarks in your industry in our latest Email Benchmark Report. How do your stats compare?

Curious about some more details on how we report on campaigns such as our monthly customer newsletter? We break down how we measure and report on those email campaigns here.

Happy sending!



Austin Whiting
Austin is an email marketing associate here at SendGrid. When he's not planning and scheduling campaigns, he's out filming skateboarding, or hanging with his girlfriend eating Ben & Jerry's (he highly recommends Americone Dream flavor).