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Almost 20% of email marketers in the US have no idea on the results of their campaigns as they are neglecting to track ROI, according to a new survey.

This echoes the findings of Econsultancy's recent Email Marketing Industry Census, which found that 42% of companies surveyed didn't know what kind of return they were getting from their email marketing efforts.

The eROI study looked at the use of email analytics for around 500 email marketers, and found that 18.06% were not tracking the results of their email campaigns, and therefore had no way of learning lessons in order to improve future campaigns.

These campaigns may have been a great success, but without accurate ROI measurement, making a case for future email marketing efforts or for further investment is virtually impossible to do. 

Other highlights from the eROI study:

  • Tracking of conversions is also an issue for some email marketers;  around one in eight aren't tracking conversion rates. Time and budget restraints were among the excuses for this, but a quarter said they didn't know how to.
  • Some email marketers are failing to share their email analytics with the relevant people in their organisations. While around 75% shared the results with executives, and 60% with corporate marketing departments.

The results are surprising, given the proven ROI that can be gained from email marketing. For respondents to our survey that were aware of the figures, 61% said that email delivers ROI of 300% or more, while 30% confessed to ROI of more than 500%.

Here are a few tips from the Econsultancy/Adestra Email Census on tracking ROI from email campaigns:

  • Ask each customer how they found out about you.
  • Invest in web analytics to track all orders back to where they began their web session from. 
  • If you use an email marketing provider, use one that can integrate with your website to track orders.
  • Monitor other inbound channels (e.g. telephone) and use discount codes / special offers / unique phone numbers to label inquiries and orders. 
  • Allocate and invest time in analysing the performance of each campaign.
Graham Charlton

Published 6 April, 2009 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

David Iwanow

David Iwanow, SEO Product Manager at Marktplaats.nl

It its also important to know that any campaign is only as good as it's weakest link.  There are complex email tracking software packages out there, but unless they are correctly tagged or fully intergrated into your web analytics, people will fail to update campaign codes or break links.

As a fall back solution, if you are using unique thank you pages within your contact/lead forms you should be able to atleast capture a large majority that can be attributed back to the campaign. Its not the best solution but below are the most popular options for tracking.

Google Analytics offers a free url builder to track external links, you can also look at more expensive enterprise solutions such as webtrends or omniture.

Omniture Genesis offers pre-built integrations to more than 30 email partner marketing applications and have a case study to download on the topic.

WebTrends has created a strategic partnership with leading email marketing vendors under its Open Exchange.

over 7 years ago


Jake Holman

@The Lost Agency - That's half the problem right there. There's nothing "complex" about tracking, and indeed, most ESPs (Email Service Providers) give pretty easy ways to track the ROI right out the box. It's really not complex rocket science and shouldn't need another app to do the work that the other app you're already paying can do anyway.

The crux of the problem is this; a lot of the people running Email Marketing Campaigns within Organisations are probably not that engaged in Email Marketing (it's part of their role, not their sole role), have little to no Marketing background and/or are simply doing what they're asked to do my management. Thus, they don't receive the training they need in order to understand how Email Marketing can and should be done effectively.

It is something we, the Email Maketing Industry, will struggle with for a long time to come. Email is still seen as the cheap, easy solution to mail out to thousands of people, rather than the ROI rich, relationship and social networking builder that it really is. Thus, not enough human resources seem to be put into it, for now.

over 7 years ago

David Iwanow

David Iwanow, SEO Product Manager at Marktplaats.nl

@jake I agree its not complex, but as you said many people are not taking responsibility for the task because its not their role, but my job is not a webdesigner but does that mean i dont highlight broken links to a client?

It should not be a question about training, its a simple task, make sure you add the tracking code to the end of the url, they can be made simple just "email campaign" or complex "april campaign"

It should not be a matter of training, it should be a simple tick and flick list, got landing page, tick, add campaign code, tick, send test email, tick, send campaign, tick. Most people who are running this campaigns in house understand what a URL is so should be able to follow simple instructions to tag the campaign to the end of the link.

It is something that is also an issue for web analytics firms who can often manually re-sort data to make it usable but if it is setup correctly it makes our task easier.

over 7 years ago

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