Email Marketing KPIs: Rev Your RPM to Dominate Email Marketing


For 2021, Webbula is launching a series of blog posts about email marketing metrics. We have a variety of esteemed authors from the email industry lined up to participate. Articles you missed:

  • Understanding and Leveraging the Power of Open and Click Reach Rates in Email Marketing by Jeanne Jennings. View that here.
  • Email as a Conversion Tool: 5 Metrics You Should Be Tracking by Tejas Pitkar. Read now.
  • Inactive Email Subscribers: Measure and Minimize Instead of Reactivating by Loren McDonald. Read it here. 
  • Click-to-Open Rates: The Best Measurement of Email Engagement by Betsy Grondy. Read it. 
  • 6 Ways Customer lifetime Value Can Drive Email Marketing Strategy by Emma Warrillow and Tammi Miller. Read it. 
  • Email Deliverability Guide: How to Interpret Delivery, Clicks, and Opens by Tom Blijleven. Read it now.

  • The Surprising Link Between Major League Baseball and Email Marketing Metrics by Chris Marriott. Read it Now
  • Email Metrics to Replace Open Rates After the iOS 15 Update by Dela Quist. View here. 
  • Open Rates Aren't Perfect: How to really know if your emails are engaging by Emily McGuire. Read it. 

Sign up for the discussion! 


The Email Marketing Game is Always Changing

The recent iOS 15 update has sent email marketers into a frenzy. This “mess” conjures up childhood memories of that kid flipping the Monopoly board. And as the thimble, car, and top hat hit the floor, we’re left picking up the pieces trying to figure out what just happened.

So, what does this all mean for the future of email marketing metrics and analytics? You might be surprised to hear this, but the truth of the matter is it changes nothing when it comes to the bet-your-bottom-dollar best stat when it comes to email marketing. Of course, as the headline of this article suggests, I’m talking about Revenue Per Mille (RPM).

Unpacking Apple’s iOS 15 Update

Before I get into this, first, let’s unpack what the iOS 15 update means. In a move to protect their customers’ privacy,Apple  has altered the pixel that communicates with your ESP (Email Service Provider), thereby leaving your open rate in jeopardy. If you have not done so already, a good homework assignment is to look back at your email opens by email client before the iOS 15 release and see how many people were opening your emails with the iOS 14 email client. Then, look shortly after the release and see if there’s a difference.

You will likely observe a variance, which will clue you in on how many “regular” openers have upgraded to iOS 15. Now it is reported that Apple is opening the pixel when the email is received by Apple and not when the email is opened – if  the end-user even ever opens it. This means that open rates   just aren’t the yardstick that they once were.

And that is fine because there are other – far more effective – metrics to track to gauge the effectiveness of your email campaigns.


The End of the Email Open Rate?

So now that the open rate is (severely) damaged, or at least transitions into a different trajectory, email marketers have to get off the open rate train and transfer to another stat line. But what’s it going to be? I’ve read many email marketers are going over to the next parallel track and placing click rates in the spotlight. 

And it’s a natural progression. Though, it should be noted that the click-through to open ratio (CTOR) is also damaged now, and in order to review your click stats effectively, you ought to look at the gross click rates. That is, click rates divided into total sends. While this number will be lower than the CTOR, it can still be used in earnest. 


Let’s Talk About Revenue Per Mille

However, if you’re in the e-commerce space, you are sorely missing the mark because Revenue Per Mille (RPM) delivers now more than ever. Like the gross click rate, the RPM stat bypasses the open rates entirely. Yet, this goes a step deeper and provides the specific revenue metrics your CMO is looking for. Namely, by reporting the RPM, you’ll be getting a dollar and cents mark for every email you send. 

Parenthetically, I had a math teacher way back that would always say, “when you look at numbers with a dollar sign in front of it, you don’t make a mistake.” Boy is that true – when you elevate your email marketing stats to dollars and cents, then you’re truly going to be the conductor of your email train.  

But first, let’s break down the calculation of the RPM formula for your email campaign:

(Revenue / Total Sent) x 1,000 = RPM

Now here is an example of the RMP in action. Say an email is sent to 15,000 people and it generates $1,250 your RPM would be $83.33, as follows:

($1,250 / 15,000) x 1,000 = $83.33


Making Revenue Per Mille Work for You

Abraham Lincoln said, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.”

Now it goes without saying that he wasn’t referring to email marketing, but the 16th president of the United States was making a powerful remark when it comes to preparation. This quote sums up how to look at email marketing from an analytical perspective. Looking at data in hindsight and trying to figure out heads and tails – what’s working and what isn’t – is a horrible way to manage your email marketing program’s efficacy. However, with a little forward-thinking and making a proper plan  for reviewing your email marketing efforts, you will be able to reap the benefits of email marketing. 

You would be wise to take Lincoln’s adage and put it to good use before sending out your next email marketing campaign. That is because not every email campaign is going to generate the same RPM. Therefore, it is imperative to note what type of emails you have in your stable and define them accordingly. 

For example, you might have a generic newsletter, targeted emails (high RPM), transactional emails (lower RPM), thank you emails, general updates, lapsed campaigns, etc. Clearly defining  your email campaigns will allow you to build a proper framework so you can stay on track and follow the numbers properly. 

Once defined, you will be able to  identify value opportunities that you may not have noticed before. You are also in a great position to learn not just which emails trigger higher RPMs, but if you segment your lists accordingly, you can easily identify your highest-earning segments. With this data, you can go back to your acquisition or sales team and emphatically tell them, “We need more people like X, Y, and Z.” Naturally, when you are able to “demand” this, your CMO will respect you even more.

Another area that I am constantly looking at with some of my clients is how to drive revenues by links within the emails (do more links translate to more sales?), and if sending at different times of the day and day of the week make a difference. In a nutshell, the answer is yes, it does make a difference. But my stats and findings mean nothing to you because, as I always profess, email marketing is like training for a marathon – it’s an individual sport that you need to compare yourself to yourself – not to an Olympic gold medalist. 

So, take the time and do your own pre-game research and analysis properly.


Wrapping it All Up

Once you have benchmarks in place, then you can define goals for the coming months ahead. Benchmarks are akin to a roadmap. In the days of yesteryear, one would spend a significant of time mapping out a route – often with a highlighter on a map, plus key turns clearly marked and written out. And even today, with apps like Google Maps and Waze, it is still wise to plan before you set out on a journey, and have these apps open while driving. 

Just like driving, email marketing is done most effectively with the proper planning and stats in place. And with a stat like the RPM readily accessible, it would be an email marketing crime to not put it into use. 

Happy travels!


About the Author

Shmuel Herschberg is a seasoned digital marketing executive, who lives and breathes email marketing. He is the founder and CMO of Shyn Media, a boutique agency that offers creative marketing automation, content strategy, and digital media services.

Mr. Herschberg possesses a unique blend of technological awareness coupled with strategic thinking and customer psychology. This enables him to translate customer needs into actionable, winning strategies. For more information, visit  


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