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Why should you bother investigating your marketing statistics? Well, people around you tend to tell you what you want to hear. Customers will give compliments if they like your product/service, but if they don’t, often you won’t hear a thing about it. So here you are, thinking that you’ve done an amazing job, but the reality is, it could always be better. In short, the statistics might be a bit nerdy, but they don’t lie.


Open Rates

The first statistic usually discussed in a newsletter is the open rate. How many people in your database are opening it? Of course, you don’t want to send it out and have it ignored. If your open rate is low, it could be that the list you are sending to is dated and contacts may have changed email addresses. The industry average is 10-20%. You should go through your database at least once a year and clean it up.

  • Identify disengaged subscribers – someone who hasn’t opened the email for more than six months – and send them a personal email to try and reengage them.
  • Remove emails that have a hard bounce.
  • Remove emails that have marked you as spam – this might take some research to learn about spam filters.
  • Remove inactive subscribers.

Once this is regular practice, I think the click rate is the most important statistic to review.

Click Rates

In our newsletters, we only put a partial piece of the article with a ‘read more’ button/link to read the newsletter in full on the blog/website. This click determines whether what you are providing is relevant to your customers.

Reviewing this statistic is the longest game of all data improvement opportunities. You need to try different topics and styles to figure out what your audience wants to hear. Then by process of elimination, work out which ones are most effective and repeat (not the content, but the topic and style).

Don’t be disheartened by click rates, overall, they are quite a low percentage even for successful newsletters. The average click rate over all industries is around 2 to 3 percent. Some quick tips are:

  • In your subject line, don’t sell anything, just tell them what’s inside and personalise it
  • Ensure your newsletter is optimised for mobile or it’ll be opened and then discarded
  • Position your calls-to-action on the left-hand side – this is the most effective

Unsubscribe Rates

A high unsubscribe rate would be above 0.5% – the only exception to this rule is if it’s your first or second time sending something to the database. But with the spam laws, you should only be sending to people who have opted in, therefore they should be expecting to receive your email.

But again, to stop high un-subscription rates, your content needs to be valuable and timely. Too often and the reader will feel like they’re being pestered. Ask your customers how often they want to hear from you, it’s that simple. I’ve written about this one before, you can read it here.


If you don’t have Google Analytics installed on your website, do it. It will help you understand your audience. If you do have it, ensure you have the latest version (GA4 took over on 1st October 2022).


How many people are visiting your website each day, week, and month? Is it rising or declining? Where are they coming from – both location and device? These statistics can help you fine-tune the messaging on your website. Perhaps offer a language translation if you have many visitors from other countries or update your content with the use of less technical language if your viewers are younger, or put more effort into the mobile version of your website.

Traffic Source

How are visitors arriving at your website? Did they follow a link, respond to an email offer, engage with you on social media, or from a Google Ad campaign? This information will tell you what’s working and what’s not – very important for deciding where to continue putting your marketing spend.

Popular Pages

What is it that your visitors are looking at? It can often be surprising what is considered popular content, and high numbers is an encouragement to keep producing content along the same lines. If the visitor isn’t staying long on that page, then perhaps it wasn’t what they were looking for – consider what the link is and how it relates to what’s on the page.

Social Media

With all social media, the best way to know if your page is performing well, it’s best to compare yourself to other businesses in the same industry. I’ve just picked the three main channels for New Zealand.


On this channel, look at your engagement, it tells you how many people are taking action on your post such as sharing, commenting, liking and clicking. Higher engagement rates mean that you are succeeding in connecting with your audience. Grow your engagement and you will authentically grow your page likes and followers.


Guess what, it’s also engagement. Are people interested in what you have to say? This will help you determine what resonates with your followers and allow you to create more of what your audience loves.


Sorry to sound like a broken record, but yup, engagement again. Instagram provides a few different versions of engagement – by followers, by reach, plus stories. Consider your story views and exits. Your views tell you how many unique visitors saw your story. In general, the longer you’re on Instagram and the more followers you get, the more your story views should increase.

Setting goals

Once you’ve been watching the stats for a while, you’ll get an idea of what is a good month and a bad month. Then you’ll be able to set goals around open rates, click rates, visits, time on pages, , and engagement, to grow your online presence.

Next month we’ll compare pay-per-click advertising and content marketing.