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Accueil Trailhead

Analyze Your Marketing Program

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify metrics and key performance indicators.
  • Track metrics in Marketing Cloud.
  • Calculate your program’s return on investment.

Left Brain or Right Brain?

In the 1960s, neuropsychologist Roger Sperry studied the left and right sides of the brain. He believed that everyone had a dominant side—meaning, you’d be more creative if you favored the right brain, and more analytical if you favored the left. However, recent studies show this might not be entirely true, because many tasks require you to use both sides equally. The four elements of marketing strategy (introduced in the Personalized Email Marketing module) are a great example. 

  • Know your audience.
  • Create great content.
  • Analyze results.
  • Evolve your strategy.

These elements—along with ever-evolving technology, channels, and strategies—require a successful marketer to be both creative and analytical. In this module, we dig deeper into the analysis and evolution of your marketing strategy. So, fire up your left brain, and let’s take a closer look at how to track your performance.

Measure Your Success

Before you decide where to go, you need to know where you are. That’s why it’s important to measure your campaign success using key performance indicators (KPIs). These goals or metrics should be tailored to your particular campaign, organization, or industry.

Let’s check in as Yasmin Ahmad, digital marketer for the shoe retailer Cloud Kicks, reviews some common email KPIs. 

Picture of Yasmin She wants to know what she should include as part of her marketing overview and 6-month roadmap at a company meeting in 2 weeks.


Email opens are recorded when images render in an email (based on a transparent pixel). All opens include any open from any recipient (even if the same person opens multiple times), and unique opens tracks only the first open from each unique recipient.

Metric and Calculation
How to Improve
Unique open rate (unique email opens divided by emails delivered) x 100
  • Email opens are a great way to monitor performance, but opens can’t be detected if a recipient does not download images.
  • Test subject lines and preheaders to improve open rates.


Email clicks are recorded when a recipient clicks any URL in an email. Similar to opens, you can measure all clicks or just unique clicks.

Metric and Calculation
How to Improve
Unique click rate
(unique clicks divided by emails delivered) x 100
  • Unique clicks provide a better gauge of overall audience engagement.
  • This metric may be low if your campaign is informational.
  • Test content and call to actions (CTAs) within emails to increase clicks.
Click-through rate (CTR)
(all emails clicked divided by emails delivered) x 100
  • Helpful to track if you have specific CTAs within your email.
  • Ensure your message is relevant and has a clear call to action to encourage engagement.
Click to open rate (CTOR)
(unique clicks divided by unique opens) x 100
  • This is one of the most accurate metrics for measuring an email’s effectiveness because it considers engagement among recipients who opened the email and saw your message.
  • Is your CTA clear? For example: Buy Now or Read More.
  • Test adding an offer.

List Size

Another great way to gauge your email program’s success is to track the rate at which your list is growing.

Metric and Calculation
How to Improve
List growth rate
(New subscribers minus number of unsubscribes divided by the total number of email addresses you send to) x100
  • Be sure to remove unsubscribes from this number.
  • Expect attrition, so this is an ongoing process.
  • Experiment with new ways to gain subscribers, like lead capture.
  • Engage current subscribers with offers and incentives.

Bounces, Unsubscribes, and Complaints

We covered the metrics that track activity that you do want, and it’s equally important to track activity that you don’t want. Bounces are emails that are unable to be delivered to the intended address. They are labeled as permanent (hard bounces) or temporary (soft or block bounces). Unsubscribes are the users that click on the unsubscribe link in an email. Finally complaints refer to the number of spam complaints identified by an ISP. 

Metric and Calculation
How to Improve
Bounce rate
(undelivered emails divided by sent emails) x 100
  • Hard bounce rates are one of the key elements used by Internet service providers (ISPs) to determine sender reputation.
  • Hard bounces indicate poor list hygiene by sending to invalid email addresses.
  • Scrub your list of bad email addresses and review your data hygiene policy.
Unsubscribe rate (unsubscribed users divided by emails delivered) x 100
  • A healthy unsubscribe rate should be less than 2%.
  • If this number increases, evaluate your sending frequency or your message content.
Complaint rate
(complaints divided by emails delivered) x 100
  • Complaint rate should be less than 0.1%.
  • If this number is high, investigate your content and your acquisition process to make sure users understand what they are signing up for.


Tracking your social media performance, too? Learn more about how to monitor and listen to social in the Trailhead module, Social Studio Analyze.

Track Your Performance

Now that Yasmin has a good grasp on what KPIs she’ll include, it’s time to see how they can be tracked within Marketing Cloud. 

Suggested Use
Job ID tracking
Tracking information in Email Studio that shows real-time performance of email sends at the job level.
This is a good way to double-check an email has been successful, right after a send.
Reports catalog
Find all the available standard reports based on channels.
Schedule a weekly account send summary and review metrics.
Tracking extracts
Tracking extracts in Automation Studio export data regarding email send jobs, such as clicks, bounces, and survey data.
The spam complaint data extract helps you track and investigate the users who received an email and reported it as spam.
Journey Builder analytics
From within the journey canvas you can see engagement tracking metrics for all activity from running journeys.
Keep an eye on engagement data for running journeys and create a new version of journeys to test areas that aren’t performing well.


Learn more about how you can use Google Analytics and other metrics tools, like Datorama, in the Measure Your Marketing Impact trail.

It’s All About That Baseline

Now you know what you’re measuring and how to measure it. High five! Next, to truly understand what your KPIs are telling you, you should establish a baseline. A baseline is just a point of reference to help you judge your success and determine areas of improvement. Once you’re consistently tracking engagement metrics over time, you can compare to your baseline and gain valuable information to help you evolve your strategy.



Curious about industry standards? Many marketers consult eMarketer’s email marketing performance benchmarks.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Return on investment, or ROI, measures the all-important cost-effectiveness of campaigns—that is, how much a campaign earns compared to how much it costs. And while ROI can seem tricky to calculate, it is key to helping you define the value marketing brings to your company. Let’s break it down.

How to Calculate ROI

  1. Determine the value of sales from a campaign (translate to your industry; for example, value of the number of new accounts, new donors, or whatever you are trying to achieve).
  2. Subtract campaign costs (include the platform, super messages, human resources, and time put in).
  3. Divide by campaign costs.
  4. Multiply by 100.


A new product email journey resulted in $12,000 in new sales for Cloud Kicks. With platform costs, super messages, and resource time, they estimate the campaign cost $3,250. Here’s how Cloud Kicks calculated their ROI for the campaign.

($12,000- $3,250) / $3,250 = 2.69 or 269% ROI.

Spoiler alert: Email marketing still boasts one of the best ROIs of any marketing effort. Want to go a step further? Learn how to measure your return on digital experience (ROX).



Learn how to track sales associated with campaigns in Salesforce in the Campaign Basics module.

Yasmin does some quick math and adds Cloud Kicks’s ROI and email metrics to her presentation. She’s sure she’ll get some questions from the team, so she wants to dig in to fully understand how Cloud Kicks’s campaigns stack up in the digital world. In the next unit, we do just that with the digital maturity assessment.