Reports in email marketing are as essential as breathing is to keep alive. Any self respecting email marketer relies on reports generated from their ESP to assess the success or failure of their email program. Critical business decisions are made from the reports, so dead-on accuracy is key.
However, before checking the accuracy of the reports, one must make sure that what they are looking at from their ESP is what they deem/think they are looking at. Is the definition that the ESP has for an open, a click or unsubscribe match what you and your organization believe it to be.
It sounds simple but have you really checked? Ask yourself these questions:
- When the ESP reports an open, do they include in the number those that have clicked but images never rendered?
- Does the unsubscribe that they report include undelivered, bounce counts or spam complaints? Is there a breakout?
- When does the ESP consider a person unsubscribed?
- Do they report on CTOR and how do they define an open rate?
- Do they break out unique to total clicks or unsubs and what do you use as measurement to your organization?
I can go on an on about reporting, but even the most seasoned email marketer should have a long talk with their ESP to ensure that what you think you are reporting is really what they are reporting for your email marketing.
Takeaway: The key takeaway in all of this is whether you are a medium or large sender, you should request a meeting with your ESP representative to go over what is really involved in their reporting. Ensure that it aligns with your business nomenclature and never ever assume that they always match up. Sometimes it’s the little things that really make a difference and its always best to take a mini inventory of your partnership.