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12 Newsletter Metrics You Need to be Tracking

Analytics & Insights To Help You Hack Newsletter Success

I feel as though people either love or hate analytics.

Despite being a right-brained human, I love them.

I’m nosy. I don’t just want you to read my email. I want to know when you read it, how you felt about it, and where this relationship is going.

Newsletter metrics let you snoop. You can use them to optimize your publication and refine your targeting.

They help you identify the returns on all your hard work.

These are the 12 newsletter metrics every creator should know — and accompanying reasons to join the number-loving team.

How Do You Track Newsletter Analytics?

All of the following information about which metrics matter means nothing if you don't know where to find your metrics.

Your newsletter service should have dedicated analytics tools. beehiiv's 3D analytics come with two easy-to-understand dashboards. 

Check out your Subscribers Report for information about audience change and engagement. Your Posts Report gives you the numbers for content performance — both your averages and metrics for individual issues.

The 5 Most Important Newsletter Metrics

I'm assuming you don't have unlimited time or attention. (If you do, color me jealous.)

Sometimes you have to pick and choose where to focus. These are the most essential numbers in your newsletter analytics.

Open Rate

Open rate is the percentage of your audience that opens your email. You find it by dividing the number of unique people who open your email by the number of emails you have sent. 

Unique people. If someone opened your newsletter on ten separate occasions, it would still count as only one unique open. (But they love your content, so you’re doing something right!)

You can also calculate your average open rate. For instance, if 25 out of 100 people open the first newsletter (25% open rate) and 35 out of 100 open the second newsletter (35% open rate), you would get an average open rate of 30%.


Your target open rate will vary depending on several factors. When setting your goals, try to compare apples to apples as much as possible. Look into typical numbers for your industry and platform.

Even your location matters. French créateurs are in luck. They send their publications to a population willing to open 40.27% of even marketing emails.

Dutch scheppers benefit from the highest open rate for marketing emails (45.68%), and Indonesian pencipta-pencipta suffer from the lowest (14.69%).

The United States sits in the middle (30.74%).

(I speak neither Dutch nor Indonesian and apologize to my oh-so-many fans in both countries for any translation errors.)

How To Improve Open Rate Metrics 

Open rates are the metric that newsletter creators most frequently stalk — and for good reason. They tell you who opens your email and reads what you have to say.

Everyone on your subscriber list actively opted into your content. They were intrigued. So why aren't they opening up your carefully crafted communications?

Possible reasons for low rates include:

To improve your open rate, you need to analyze which of these factors may be contributing to a low open rate and then address the issues.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The click-through rate (CTR) measures the number of unique clicks from readers, divided by the number of emails opened.

For example, let's say you sent your newsletter to 100 people and 50 of them opened it. If you achieved a CTR of 4%, it means that you had two unique clicks (4% of 50) from your readers. This data provides valuable insights into the engagement of your audience.

The click-through rate provides valuable insights into the engagement of your audience. Feel free to experiment with your content and keep an eye on your CTR to enhance engagement.


Across industries, the average CTR is 2.3%. But that number negotiates between the highs (education at 4.4%) and the lows (retail at 0.7%).

How to Improve CTR Metrics

If your goal is to get people clicking through emails and engaging with your brand, there are a few things you can try.

Optimize your email design and layout. It should be visually appealing, accessible, and easy to navigate, leading readers down the page and to the click(s) you want people to make.

Speaking of those clicks, make sure your calls to action (CTAs) are clear and compelling. Limit the number of CTAs in any one newsletter to direct traffic in a more focused manner.

Test different versions of your email with A/B email testing — which you can also use to optimize your subject lines and the open rates mentioned above.

Unsubscribe Rate

To determine your unsubscribe rate, divide the total number of unsubscribes by the total number of emails delivered.

For instance, if you've sent out 1,000 emails and received ten unsubscribes, your unsubscribe rate would be 1%.

Remember: you need to provide an unsubscribe link in each email to maintain CAN-SPAM compliance.


You generally want to keep your unsubscribe rate as low as possible. Not only do unsubscribes cost you readers, but a large number will also harm email deliverability.

Some mismatches are inevitable (particularly as you're perfecting your niche and process). Eventually, most people should aim for an unsubscribe rate below 0.5%, but research your industry and competitors to find your targets.

How To Improve Unsubscribe Rate Metrics

If a lot of people unsubscribe from your newsletter, it could be a sign that something is amiss with your content or email strategy. Here are some potential culprits:

  • Misaligned expectations: Your subscribers thought they were getting one thing, but you delivered something different.

  • Poor content quality: You may need to put more time into each issue.

  • Frequency overload: Too many emails can harm a brand's reputation as people feel pestered rather than engaged.

The solution? Listen to subscriber feedback and take it seriously. 

Consider offering a preference center where subscribers can control how often they receive emails or even what types of content they want to receive.

You can also turn unsubscribes into an opportunity by creating a dedicated unsubscribe page. Include a short questionnaire asking why they no longer want to receive content. This valuable information helps you improve your email strategy and retain future subscribers.

Bounce Rate

In the newsletter game, a bounce is when an email can't be delivered to a subscriber's inbox.

Hard bounces happen when the email address is invalid or closed, while soft bounces occur when there are temporary issues with the recipient's server or inbox.

Calculate your bounce rate by dividing the number of bounces by the total number of emails sent and multiplying by 100.

For instance, if you sent out 1,000 emails and received 30 bounces, your bounce rate would be 3%.


Get your bounce rates as low as possible. 2% is considered an average acceptable bounce rate across industries.

One of the reasons a high bounce rate is dangerous is that it can feed on itself. High bounce rates lead to poor deliverability, and poor deliverability leads to even higher bounce rates.

How To Improve Bounce Rate Metrics

Keep your email lists clean and updated by regularly scrubbing them of inactive or non-existent email addresses that result in hard bounces.

Pay attention to soft bounces, too. If you see the same email addresses soft-bouncing multiple times, it's a good sign that they should be removed from your list.

Sender reputation also matters. Protect your sender reputation by maintaining good email hygiene. This includes best practices such as compliance with all regulations, sending from a verified domain, and avoiding spammy keywords in your subject lines.

You can even set up Brand Indicators for Message Indicators (BIMI) to signal your emails' authenticity to servers and readers.

List Growth Rate

List growth rate is a key metric in email marketing that measures how quickly your email list is growing.

Here's how you can calculate it:

  1. Count the number of new subscribers: This is the number of new people who opted into your emails during a specific period.

  2. Calculate the number of unsubscribes and email bounces: These are the subscribers who have either unsubscribed from your list or whose emails have bounced back during the same period.

  3. Calculate the list growth rate: Subtract the number of unsubscribes and email bounces from the number of new subscribers, then divide the result by the total number of email addresses on your list before the new ones were added. Multiply by 100 to get the percentage.

For example, if you gained 200 new subscribers, lost 50 subscribers due to unsubscribes and bounces, and had 1000 email addresses on your list before the new ones were added, your list growth rate would be (200 -50)/1000 x 100 = 15%.


A positive list growth rate is a good indication of brand growth. Make sure that you're evolving at a rate that supports your newsletter plans.

How To Improve List Growth Rate Metrics

There are many paid and unpaid newsletter growth channels you can leverage on behalf of your publication.

The first step is to make it easy for people to subscribe to your newsletter. Include a subscription form on your website, social media channels, and other relevant platforms. You can improve the forms' visibility by using pop-ups or banners.

As you engage with other brands and influencers, look for partnership opportunities to introduce yourself to people interested in your niche.

You can also take advantage of beehiiv's best-in-class growth tools:

  • Create a referral program: Reward readers for spreading the word about your publication.

  • Use newsletter boosts: Pay other newsletters for their referrals, connecting with creators with similar target audiences.

  • Cross-promote with other newsletters: Recommend your favorites to readers and be recommended in return.

  • Create lead magnets: Offer exclusive content, discounts, or other incentives to encourage readers to subscribe.

Gated content also incentivizes sign-ups. You should make a few issues readily available online so that people can sample your work, but you can require a subscription to access your archives or specials.

7 More Newsletter Metrics That Matter

These numbers are important, but they didn't make the top five. Some are different ways of thinking about similar aspects of newsletter success. The value of others depends on your business model or industry.

Conversion Rate

The conversion rate in email marketing refers to the percentage of recipients who not only open your email and read it but also take the action you want them to take. A high one indicates that your marketing is effective.

First, define your conversions. Do you want people to click a link, fill out a form, make a purchase, schedule a phone call, etc.?

Then calculate the conversions of a campaign, divide that number by the number of successful email deliveries, and multiply by 100.

For example, if you had 50 people complete the desired action and you successfully delivered 2000 emails, your conversion rate would be (50/ 2000) x 100 = 2.5%.

Lifetime Value (LTV)

Lifetime value (LTV) calculations vary depending on your business model.

LTV refers to the total dollar value that each reader will bring you from the moment they subscribe until they stop subscribing.

For paid newsletters, the monthly subscription fee is multiplied by the average period a reader stays subscribed to your newsletter.

For example - $5 per month x 7.33 months = $36.65 LTV

This gives you the average revenue per user

For newsletters that market other revenue channels — such as online courses or retail products — you'd estimate how much each subscriber spends on your offerings over time.

Churn Rate

Churn rate tells you how "sticky" your newsletter is in terms of retaining subscriber's attention. It's a critical figure in many businesses, as retaining existing customers is often cheaper than acquiring new ones.

The churn rate, also known as the attrition rate, calculates the number of consumers who leave a product over a given period, divided by the initial number of consumers.

To calculate the churn rate for your email newsletter, define the period for which you want to calculate the churn rate. This could be a month, a quarter, or a year.

Then count the number of unsubscribes and divide it by the total number of subscribers at the beginning of the period and multiply by 100.

For example, if you had 1,000 subscribers at the start of the month and 50 of them unsubscribed during that month, your churn rate would be 5%.

Weekly Active Users (WAUs)

The weekly active users (WAUs) are the readers who opened or clicked your newsletter within a week. It's a valuable metric for newsletter creators who regularly distribute content.

Monthly Active Users (MAUs)

Monthly Active Users (MAUs) represent the number of readers who have opened or clicked a newsletter within a month.

You can calculate the percentage of users active weekly or monthly by dividing the WAUs or MAUs by the total number of subscribers and multiplying by 100.

Inactive Subscribers

The definition of inactive subscribers can vary depending on the publication. For example, in the case of a newsletter that sends emails five times a week, we may consider someone inactive if they haven't opened any emails in two months.

However, if it's a newsletter that sends emails twice a week, we may consider someone inactive if they haven't opened any emails in four months.

Share Rate

Share rate calculates the percentage of readers who share your newsletter with others. It is a useful metric to track if you are looking to expand your audience through word-of-mouth marketing.

To calculate the share rate, divide the number of shares by the total number of delivered email newsletters and multiply by 100. You can also track which type of content tends to get shared more frequently.

Measure — Don't Obsess

Understanding and tracking newsletter metrics provides insights into your content, audience, and brand success. Use them to make informed decisions and continuously improve your publication.

However, avoid obsessing over individual metrics. Instead, focus on overall trends, ignoring outliers and statistically insignificant changes.

You should also remember that metrics are just one aspect of a successful newsletter.

Keep experimenting with different strategies and tools while staying true to your unique voice as a creator.

Quality content is always the most important thing.

You want to hack growth — not become a hack. Put out a steady stream of good newsletters, and the numbers will come.

To take full advantage of beehiiv's analytics and growth-hacking tools, sign up for an account today.

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