9 Essential Mobile Messaging Metrics (And How to Use Them)

Mary Kearl By Mary Kearl Jan 26, 2018

Modern marketing is built around data. In a lot of ways, that’s just dandy—with today’s unprecedented access to customer data, it’s possible to provide your audience with smarter, more relevant, more personal experiences while ensuring that you have your finger on the pulse of your customers’ engagement levels. But all that data can also lead to paralysis: there’s so much that you can track and leverage that figuring what metrics really matter to your business can be exhausting and time-consuming, if not overwhelming.

That’s the thing: within the world of mobile, there are tons of metrics that can be tracked. To help you figure out what’s really key to your mobile messaging efforts, we’ve identified 9 mobile messaging metrics that you can’t afford to ignore—along with key insights from each that you can use to supercharge your strategy. Take a look!

1.Push opt-in rate

Push Opt-In Rate = mobile app users who opt into receiving push notifications / total mobile app users

Push notifications are a powerful way to reach customers with times-sensitive messages—but only if they’re willing to receive them. Many consumers have been burned before by brands that abused this channel to send too-frequent, irrelevant notifications, making them gun shy about granting push privileges to other apps.

To improve your app’s push opt-in rate, consider priming new customers for push notifications—choose the key moment to get the OK to send push, explain the benefits of receiving the notifications, and leave wiggle room for asking again if users say no at first. For those who’ve already opted out all is not lost: Try a re-permissions campaign.

2. Direct push opens

Direct Opens = # of times users tap on the push notifications they receive, which in turn triggers direct app opens

Remember, push opens and push opt-ins go hand-in-hand. The gold standard would be to have a high opt-in rate and a high push open rate—meaning your users understand the value of receiving messaging from your app and you send them relevant messaging they’re likely to open. On the low performing end of the spectrum? Apps with low opt-in rates and low open rates shows there’s a disconnect between the app and its audience.

3. Influenced Opens

Influenced Push Opens = # of times users manually open an app after receiving a push notification (rather than tapping on the notification directly to open the app)

Looking at your direct opens or direct open rate alone won’t show you the complete picture. Including influenced opens and your influenced open rate in your analysis will show you the true impact your push notifications are having on overall audience engagement. The dynamic is particularly significant on iOS, which tends to have lower direct open rates but comparatively strong influenced open rates.

4. Total push opens

Total Push Opens = direct opens + influenced opens

Total opens or total open rate (which is calculated by taking the number of direct opens and influenced opens divided by the number of users who received the push notification) is what paints the complete portrait of the power of your push notification campaigns. After all, if your users are taking action on the messages you send, that’s an effective outreach campaign—even if they’re taking a few minutes to do it.

5. Email open rate

Email Open Rate = # of times people open a given campaign / total # of emails delivered

6. Unique email open rate

Unique Email Open Rate = # of unique user email opens / # of emails delivered

Winning subject lines are an obvious go-to for driving up this messaging metric. Two overlooked tricks email marketers (often unknowingly) have up their sleeves? Preheader text (aka the Johnson Box), which is the summary text that comes ahead of the subject line, and the visible from name (sender). The marketing pros at Ibotta found testing these improved open rates by 8% and 17% respectively.

7. Email click-through rate

Email Click-Through Rate = # of times people clicked on a given campaign / # of emails delivered

8. Unique email click-through rate

Unique Email Click-Through Rate = # of unique clicks / # of emails delivered

For a lot of brands, “number of email subscribers” is a vanity metric that they trot out on marketing decks to wow people who are easily impressed by big numbers. While your email open rate is more meaningful than that metric, probably the best indicator of a given campaign’s health is its email click-through rate.

With this metric, you’re measuring not just how many people could potentially receive an email (number of subscribers) or how many bothered to open your email (email opens), but how successfully the campaign drove real engagement. If you want to be even more precise about measuring performance, pay closer attention to your unique click rate, which will help you distinguish number of times people clicked from the number of unique people who clicked.

9. Email unsubscribe rate

Email Unsubscribe Rate = # of unsubscribes / # of total email subscribers

The benchmark email unsubscribe rate is pretty low in comparison to negative KPIs from other messaging channels—usually around 0.3%, depending on the vertical. To improve your rate going forward and improve the lifetime value of your acquired email contacts, consider a double opt-in for new subscribers.

Final thoughts

Messaging metrics are a key part of understanding how your customer engagement efforts are faring—but they’re not the end of the story. Dig deeper into digital benchmarks with our look at 10 essential app metrics.

Mary Kearl

Mary Kearl

Mary Kearl is a writer and digital strategist, who has led email, social media, and content marketing for several brands. She has helped launch six mobile apps and one niche social network and is always up for a good Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime binge recommendation or travel tip

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