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Using Email Engagement Metrics to Improve and Drive Performance

Interpret your results to understand the relevance of your targeting and messaging in order to optimize future email pitching efforts

Cheyenne V. avatar
Written by Cheyenne V.
Updated over a week ago

Journalists often get hundreds of emails from PR practitioners every day. The unfortunate reality is that most of these pitches are never read, let alone responded to. This has several significant implications. A lot of PR efforts are wasted, and journalists are frustrated with all the noise cluttering their inboxes.

How do you make your pitches stand out? We will attempt to answer that question here and show you how you can use Meltwater's Influencer product as a feedback loop to refine your pitches over time to improve your pitching performance and earn impactful media coverage.

Pitches sent through Meltwater use email tracking (unless you've requested to have it turned off), which generates a set of engagement metrics that present a valuable and objective feedback loop to offer insight into how well the pitches you sent resonated.

This article will cover:


Open Rate

Open rate tells you what percentage of recipients opened emails (it doesn't mean that they read the whole email). It should be considered as a baseline metric to gauge the relevance of your targeting and your messaging. The percentage is calculated by dividing the number of unique opens by the number of delivered emails. If your open rate is low it means that you need to re-evaluate your targeting and/or messaging.

Tip: assume that your recipients only read the subject line and the first sentence in your email. Your focus should be on why this is valuable to your recipient(s). Personalized. Relevant. Brief.

To review further details into the engagement with your latest release:

  1. Select the Media Relations drop-down in the left-hand navigation bar

  2. Select Outreach

  3. Click on the recent release you want to review the open rate for

  4. Click Open Rate at the top of your screen

Email engagement is split into four tiers:

  • Bounced - the number of recipients that didn't receive your email. There could be several reasons for this. If you are seeing a high volume of bounces, we strongly recommend that you take action. You can learn more about how to prevent bounces in our Guide to Approved Sender Setup.

  • Unopened - the number of recipients that didn't open your email. If you are seeing a high volume of unopened emails, targeting or copywriting (or both) should be revisited to improve the relevance and thereby, performance.

  • Opened - the number of recipients that opened your email. Keep in mind that this is an approximation.

  • Untracked - number of recipients that do not receive tracking pixels (e.g. German recipients) or those who block Meltwater’s tracking.

Click to Open Rate

Click-to-open rate is a much stronger indicator of relevance and interest than the open rate because the recipients click on links in your email to seek further information. The percentage is calculated by dividing the number of people who clicked a link within your email by the total number of people who opened it (unique clicks divided by unique opens). The higher the percentage, the better the engagement!

Tips: in addition to keeping your pitch brief, personalized and focused on why it's valuable to whom you're pitching - make it easy for the journalist to explore additional resources that can help them develop the story (e.g. links to a calendar to schedule an interview, press kit, original research, infographics, etc.). Most journalists are extremely busy and write up to several stories per day. Demonstration of empathy goes a long way.

Note: Any clicks on the unsubscribe link in the footer of the email are excluded from the calculation.

Unsubscribe Rate

The unsubscribe rate is a really important metric to watch. Any journalists that unsubscribe from receiving future emails from you is a clear signal that you need to do a better job with your targeting and messaging. The screenshot shared above shows an unsubscribe rate of 16.7%. This is a major red flag (the pitches are essentially considered spam by several recipients). This metric should be zero. The percentage is calculated by dividing the number of unique unsubscribed email addresses by the number of delivered emails. Any emails sent to journalists who have unsubscribed will be automatically blocked.

Tips: follow the tips outlined above and remove any unsubscribed influencers from your lists.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for metrics to appear?

We recommend waiting an hour to allow for data syncs necessary to reflect up-to-date metrics. Learn more about Improving Low Engagement Rates for Distributing Press Releases.

What’s the impact on my metrics when I send pitches to a general email address that may have more than one recipient (e.g., a pressroom email address)?

Metrics will not exceed 100%. For example, if you send your email to a general address and multiple users open it, we will only count it once for that email.

How accurate are the metrics?

The numbers are approximate. Use them as an indicator to help guide strategy and report on relative performance. You can learn more about Email Tracking and Engagement Metrics.

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