KPIs for Product Managers

KPIs for Product Managers: email open rate

Discover the importance of email open rate as a key performance indicator (KPI) for product managers.

Product managers play a vital role in any organization, and measuring the success of their efforts is crucial. One of the key performance indicators (KPIs) product managers track is email open rate. This metric measures the percentage of email recipients who open a message, and it offers valuable insights into the effectiveness of a company's email campaigns. In this article, we'll explore the importance of email open rate as a KPI for product managers, how to set goals, and strategies to improve performance.

Understanding Email Open Rate as a KPI

Email open rate is an essential metric for product managers to track because it indicates whether recipients are engaging with a company's email content. According to a recent study, the average email open rate across all industries is 21.33%, so marketers need to aim for a benchmark that's higher than this figure.

But what exactly is email open rate? This metric measures the percentage of recipients who opened an email. It's calculated by dividing the number of opened emails by the number of delivered emails. This means that if an email was sent to 100 people and 20 of them opened it, the email open rate would be 20%.

Importance of Email Open Rate for Product Managers

Product managers use email open rate to evaluate the effectiveness of email campaigns. Tracking this metric helps identify whether messages are resonating with customers and whether products are reaching their target audience. By keeping an eye on email open rates, product managers can gauge how successful a campaign is and make improvements where necessary.

For example, if a product manager notices that a particular email campaign has a low open rate, they may need to revisit the subject line or sender name to make it more compelling. Alternatively, they may need to adjust the timing or frequency of the emails to better suit the audience's preferences.

Factors Affecting Email Open Rate

Several factors can influence email open rates, including subject line, sender name, time of day, and frequency of emails sent. Product managers need to understand these factors and how they impact open rates to create effective email campaigns.

The subject line is often the first thing recipients see when they receive an email. A compelling subject line can entice them to open the email, while a boring or vague subject line may cause them to ignore it. Similarly, the sender name can also impact open rates. If the sender is someone the recipient trusts or recognizes, they may be more likely to open the email.

Timing and frequency are also important factors to consider. Sending emails at the right time of day can increase the chances of them being opened, while bombarding recipients with too many emails can lead to fatigue and decreased engagement.

Industry Benchmarks for Email Open Rates

Industry benchmarks for email open rates vary, typically ranging from 15% for retail to 28% for nonprofits, so understanding benchmarks specific to respective industries can give product managers a better understanding of how their own email campaigns are performing. However, it's important to note that these benchmarks are not set in stone and can vary depending on the audience and the type of email being sent.

Overall, email open rate is a crucial KPI for product managers to track as it provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of email campaigns. By understanding the factors that influence open rates and benchmarking against industry standards, product managers can optimize their email campaigns for better engagement and ultimately drive business growth.

Setting Email Open Rate Goals

Setting realistic email open rate goals is essential for product managers to measure the campaign's performance properly. By aligning open rates with organizational objectives, product managers can ensure that their email campaigns contribute to the company's overall success.

When setting email open rate goals, it's important for product managers to consider the following:

Aligning email open rate with product objectives

Product managers must align email open rates with key product objectives. This ensures that campaigns are relevant to the company's goals and ultimately drive the desired action from recipients. Without alignment, campaigns exist in a vacuum and will not support long-term business objectives.

For example, if a company's objective is to increase sales of a new product, the email campaign should focus on promoting that product and driving recipients to make a purchase. In this case, the email open rate goal should be aligned with the number of sales the company hopes to achieve.

Identifying target audience segments

Product managers who segment their target audience can set more specific email open rate goals. This method offers more granular insights into the effectiveness of email campaigns, and it allows teams to make more informed decisions about marketing efforts.

For instance, if a company sells both men's and women's clothing, it would make sense to segment the email list by gender. This way, the product manager can set separate email open rate goals for each segment, based on the unique preferences and behaviors of each group.

Establishing realistic and achievable goals

Product managers must set realistic email open rate goals that are achievable and relevant to respective industries of the company. Setting excessively high goals could lead to disappointment and lost efforts, but without goals, email campaigns do not have a clear map for measuring effectiveness and may struggle to meet company objectives.

It's also important to consider industry benchmarks when setting email open rate goals. For example, the average email open rate for the retail industry is around 21%, while the average open rate for the non-profit sector is closer to 25%. By understanding these benchmarks, product managers can set realistic goals that are in line with industry standards.

In conclusion, setting email open rate goals is a crucial part of any successful email marketing campaign. By aligning goals with product objectives, identifying target audience segments, and establishing realistic and achievable goals, product managers can ensure that their email campaigns are effective and contribute to the company's overall success.

Strategies to Improve Email Open Rates

Improving email open rates can be a challenge, but there are several strategies that product managers can use to achieve better results. In this article, we will explore some additional tips to help you improve your email open rates.

Crafting compelling subject lines

Subject lines are the first point of contact with recipients and a critical factor in determining whether they open an email or not. Creating compelling subject lines that pique interest and generate curiosity around the email's subject matter can increase the likelihood of recipients opening the message.

One way to create compelling subject lines is to use action-oriented language that encourages recipients to take a specific action. For example, instead of using a generic subject line like "New Product Launch," try using something like "Be the First to Try Our Exciting New Product."

Another effective strategy is to use personalization in your subject lines. Including the recipient's name or location can make the email feel more personalized and increase the likelihood of it being opened.

Personalizing email content

Email personalization can make messages more relevant to recipients. Product managers can leverage data to include recipient details in emails, such as the recipient's name, location, and previous purchases. Personalized emails can lead to higher engagement and ultimately higher open rates.

Another way to personalize email content is to segment your email list based on recipient behavior or preferences. For example, you could create a segment of customers who have previously purchased a specific product and send them targeted emails with related products or promotions.

Optimizing send times and frequency

The time and frequency of emails sent can impact open rates. Different recipients have different email habits, so adjusting email send times and frequency based on engagement patterns can improve open rates, as product managers can assess which timing and frequency works best for their audience.

One way to determine the best send times and frequency is to analyze your email metrics, such as open rates and click-through rates, and adjust your email schedule accordingly. You could also consider sending emails at non-traditional times, such as early in the morning or on weekends, to see if that increases engagement.

A/B testing for continuous improvement

Product managers can use A/B testing to determine which email elements resonate with their audience. A/B testing can help product managers refine and improve email campaigns with data-driven insights over time, and it allows teams to determine which elements are performing well and which are not.

When conducting A/B tests, it's important to only test one element at a time, such as subject lines or email content, to ensure accurate results. You could also consider testing different email formats, such as plain text versus HTML, to see which format performs better.

In conclusion, improving email open rates requires a combination of strategies and continuous experimentation. By crafting compelling subject lines, personalizing email content, optimizing send times and frequency, and conducting A/B testing, product managers can achieve better results and ultimately drive higher engagement with their email campaigns.

Measuring and Analyzing Email Open Rate Performance

Measuring email open rates is crucial for product managers to evaluate the effectiveness of their campaign. Email open rates are one of the most important metrics to track when it comes to email marketing campaigns. It is the percentage of people who open an email out of the total number of people who received it. The higher the open rate, the more successful the campaign is.

However, simply tracking email open rates is not enough. Product managers must also analyze the data they collect to gain insights into their email marketing campaigns' performance.

Tracking email open rate metrics

Product managers must incorporate tools that track email open rates, such as email service providers. With such tools, product managers can measure email open rates, compare rates of different campaigns, and continually improve. Email service providers offer a range of metrics, including open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, and conversion rates. By tracking these metrics, product managers can gain a better understanding of how their campaigns are performing and make data-driven decisions to improve them.

Identifying trends and patterns

Product managers can identify trends and patterns by observing email open rates' fluctuation over time. Patterns could be based on the timing and frequency of email campaigns or segment recipients by various types such as buying history, characteristics or demographics. Observing trends and patterns can reveal campaigns that are least successful and those that are successful, responsible for helping product managers find actionable improvements.

For example, product managers may notice that their open rates are highest when they send emails on Tuesday afternoons. They may also notice that emails with subject lines that include personalization, such as the recipient's name, have higher open rates than those without. By identifying these trends and patterns, product managers can make data-driven decisions about when to send emails and how to personalize them to improve their open rates.

Adapting strategies based on performance insights

Tracking email open rates and analyzing trends and patterns allows product managers to identify successful and unsuccessful campaigns. Using performance insights, product managers can adapt their strategies continually to achieve better results as they aimed for in their return goals. For example, if a campaign has a low open rate, a product manager may decide to change the subject line or send the email at a different time to see if it improves the open rate. By continually adapting their strategies based on performance insights, product managers can improve their email marketing campaigns' effectiveness and achieve their goals.

In conclusion, measuring and analyzing email open rates is crucial for product managers to evaluate the effectiveness of their campaign. By tracking email open rates, identifying trends and patterns, and adapting strategies based on performance insights, product managers can continually improve their email marketing campaigns' effectiveness and achieve their goals.


Product managers who use email as a marketing tool must measure success using metrics such as email open rate. By understanding the importance of email open rates, setting goals, and using appropriate strategies and analysis methods, product managers can design effective email campaigns that produce better results. Through these practices, email open rates can help guide product managers to achieve long-term business objectives.