The DataHero Blog

Track Email Performance in SendGrid

January 16th, 2014


In this post, we’ll step you through how to determine your email’s deliverability effectiveness, engagement with your audience, optimize your email timing and identify important cohorts using DataHero and SendGrid.

To begin, connect your SendGrid account to DataHero. Your SendGrid credentials will need API permission in order to integrate SendGrid. Simply enter your SendGrid login information and import an email report. Select SendGrid in the left hand rail then click Import to view a list of reports available for import. Then click the import button next to Categorized Email Statistics.

SendGrid Import

Monitor Deliverability

First, take a look at how many of your emails are being delivered to your users’ inboxes. “Requests” are emails that are meant to be sent, “delivered” are the emails that are actually received in inboxes.

To make this chart:

  1. Import the Categorized Email Statistics Report

  2. Create a New Chart

  3. Drag on the following attributes:

    • Date
    • Requests
    • Delivered

You’ve instantly got a chart that shows you how many of the emails you send out are reaching their intended inboxes. If you’d like to improve your ratio of delivered to requested emails, check out SendGrid’s Deliverability Guide.

 DataHero Requests vs. Delivered Emails

Next, let’s look at how many emails bounced or were tagged as spam. Emails that are marked as spam in a users’ inboxes will start a feedback loop back to SendGrid, letting you know how many of your emails were marked as spam. Bounce emails are not delivered for various reasons, but usually because the email address entered is incorrect or outdated. Keep your list healthy (and your reputation untarnished on SendGrid) by pruning these bounced addresses out of your list.

To make this chart:

  1. Use the Categorized Email Statistics import from earlier
  2. Drag on date, bounces and spam reports
  3. Click Type in the top left corner of the chart canvas and select Stacked Area
  4. Click the percentage button in the top left corner of the chart canvas to toggle the percentage function

Now you have a graph depicting the emails that did not reach their intended recipients so you can plan how to improve your delivery rate.

 DataHero Bounces and Spam Reports by Quarter (1)

Improve Engagement

Once you know how well your emails are being delivered, measure the effectiveness of your messaging and calls to action by comparing opens across categories and by date.

To make this chart:

  1. Use the Categorized Email Statistics Report

  2. Drag on the following attributes:

    • Date
    • Category
    • Opens

DataHero will automatically create a stacked bar graph that shows you your opens by category and month so you can look for trends in opens and find out which emails perform best in engagement.

DataHero Opens by Category by Month

Experiment with different messaging or subject lines to increase open rate. If your emails are transactional, this graph can also give you a general idea of how customers are interacting with your website. For example, if an email event is triggered when a user adds an item to a cart, this is reflected in the graph above.

Having a user open an email is only half the engagement battle. It is also important to measure clicks or unique clicks, as this is when the user performs the action encouraged in the email. To use the Add Item to Cart example from above, the call to action in the email may be “Purchase This Item”. Experiment with calls to action or images to determine what content resonates with your audience. You can even try sending transactional emails to users if the price on a product in a user’s cart falls. Once you experiment with those new emails, you can then analyze their effectiveness in DataHero. It’s best to have some kind of feedback loop in place that allows you to hypothesize → test → analyze → repeat.

To make this chart:

  1. Use the Categorized Email Statistics report

  2. Drag on the following attributes:

    • Date
    • Unique Clicks
    • Category

Now you can see not just opens but clicks broken down by category and date.

 DataHero Clicks by Category by Date - Onboarding Process

You can also filter out specific categories very easily, allowing you to focus on the ones you have questions about. For example, you may be trying to optimize your onboarding process. You send three emails to new users within the first week; one to confirm the email address, a welcome email and a product education email. You want to know if these three emails are helping or overwhelming your users. When you drag category onto the chart canvas you’ll see the labels on the left side of the page under the In Your Chart tab. Uncheck the categories you wish to exclude. In the example below, it seems that product education emails tend to have lower engagement. Since this is arguably the most important email in the onboarding process for customer retention, it may make sense to roll the welcome email and product education email into the same email or run some other experiments.

 Onboarding Email Categories by Click-1

Spot trends by adjusting time groupings

Analyze multiple year’s worth of data with the “Grouped by: Month of Year” option. In DataHero you can simply click on the Date dropdown and visualize your clicks by quarter of the year or day of the week, for example.

 Time Groupings

You can also easily visualize the change in clicks or opens month over month or even percentage change. Click on one of the buttons in the top corners of the chart canvas to see a cumulative, comparison, percentage or rate of change graph. The rate of change graph below, for example, shows the percentage change in each category as compared to the previous quarter. Learn more about these graphs and features here.

 Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 2.59.50 PM

Prioritize cohorts

Get a snapshot of which browsers your customers use to view email with a donut chart or create a column graph to view trends. You can do the same thing with devices, email clients or internet service providers.

To make this chart:

  1. Import the Email Statistics by Browser report

  2. Drag on browser type

DataHero Clicks by Browser

To find trends, go beyond a donut chart (which only shows you one point in time) and drag Date onto the chart canvas. This will show you how the cohorts have changed over time.

DataHero Opens by Device by Date

Once you’ve created all of the charts that are important to you, keep them up to date automatically using DataHero Live Charts.  During team meetings, you can pull in new email data and instantly refresh charts by just clicking Update Now.

These charts give you great handle on all aspects of your email process, from delivery to engagement and cohort breakdown. Now you can make decisions based on data and adjust to continually improve your email campaigns. Pull in your own SendGrid reports and leave a comment below to let us know how you use them.

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By Kelli Simpson

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