Beware of Klaviyo's Dangerous Email Benchmarks: Campaigns & Metrics

Beware of Klaviyo's Dangerous Email Benchmarks: Campaigns & Metrics
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Following Klaviyo's "benchmarks" on the email performance campaign view can be dangerous and hurt your business.

In today’s short article, I’ll discuss why you shouldn't follow these metrics blindly (and what to track instead).

Before we begin, my main beef is with this viewport you’re presented with when navigating to the campaigns section:

Beware of Klaviyo's Dangerous Email Benchmarks: Campaigns & Metrics | Magnet Monster

First, let me cut Klaviyo some slack. Despite the provocative headline: Klaviyo is simply aggregating statistics here and benchmarking them against other accounts in their ecosystem.

My issue here is with the “Good”, “Fair”, “Bad” denominators that appear underneath each metric, and why they’re dangerous.

Below is a high-level overview of why you shouldn’t be led astray by these statistics, and in some cases, you wouldn’t even want to improve them (I’m dead serious).

Average Open Rate

Everybody knows that Apple's Mail Privacy Protection update diminished the reliability of open rates as an indicator of engagement.

The metric itself isn't completely redundant for ISP-level deliverability analysis, but it's less relevant than ever, and making business decisions solely based on open rates is a huge mistake as we enter a new privacy-focused era.

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Average Click Rate

The theory behind click rates is that it tells you how engaging your content is.

But aggregated in this way, it can lack context as to the goal of each individual campaign.

What if you send an email with the content in the body of the email itself to be consumed rather than encouraging subscribers to click to the site?

What about if your goal is to generate replies, not clicks?

And how about if I cast a wider net, lower click rate, but increase total traffic (and revenue) back to my store (like in this example)?

My opinion: focus on total clicks and returning traffic the majority of the time MoM, but never forget the objective behind every individual send.

Placed Order Rate

Not every email is designed to sell.

Need I say more about this?

Okay, I will.

Here’s an email we sent out for a client that generated amazing engagement.

Beware of Klaviyo's Dangerous Email Benchmarks: Campaigns & Metrics | Magnet Monster

This had a low click rate and moderate placed order rate, but it generated several hundred responses and improved subsequent inbox placement.

Is this email a failure or success, by Klaviyo’s standards?

Summary: analyse the objective behind each individual email and don’t aim for multiple objectives at the same time.

Revenue Per Recipient (RPR)

If the intention of your email is to sell, then this metric can be valuable.

However, aggregated in this manner, again, it assumes that the sole purpose of your marketing activities is to sell.

The easiest way to manipulate RPR is to create a slew of discount codes and send them to your list.

Does it mean you'll be more profitable?

No - you'll probably reduce LTV and frontload revenue.

Concluding thoughts

I have reduced open rates, click rates, placed order rates and revenue per recipient for several clients and improved total revenue and business outcomes for several clients.

Magic? No - just understanding the brand KPIs and goals, and thinking strategically about how my tactics will impact wider-business goals, not channel-level vanity metrics.

How did I do this? By casting a wider net with my segmentation strategy, re-engaging older customers, while simultaneously lowering all of the above metrics.

Business outcomes improved dramatically, and email-specific metrics declined.

Ask yourself, if you’re a brand owner, which is more important?

Trends are useful tools, but without context, they often lack purpose.

Choose objectives for each campaign, and try to measure the success of each on an individual level, while paying attention to macro trends.

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