I’ve been exploring the world of email KPIs and writing up my findings. The first post was Email Newsletter KPIs Part 1 – Delivery Rate, Open Rate, Growth Rate, Cost of Acquisition followed by Email Newsletter KPIs Part 2 – ReOpen Rate and Email Newsletter KPIs Part 3 – Platform Variance, Environmental Variance. I’ve been offering metrics we find useful and doing my best not to offer something NextStage specific.
This time out I’m going to discuss what we call Viral Capacity — does your newsletter provide sufficient value that subscribers pass it on to others by “word-of-mouth”? It is NextStage specific and is also something I think can be fudged using some more common metrics.
Viral Capacity has to do with a subscriber finding enough value in what you offer to pass your material on to someone else and demonstrating their own value level to you simultaneously. This last part is important. It’s wonderful that someone passes your material on, it’s better that they pass it on and continue to use it themselves. This is true WOM (word-of-mouth).
There are lots of ways to segment this metric. For example, how many subscribers pass it on within their own organization? How many subscribers pass it on within their industry? How many subscribers pass it on to individuals with no obvious mutual affiliation?
This last one is a critical success metric for some email marketing efforts because it falls into the “good neighbor” category and is (to NextStage) true word-of-mouth. Person A is getting person B involved simply due to the content, not because the content is industry or product or demographic specific. This is also simply good business. No company wants to rely on a single client and this chart indicates that the newsletter has three distinct client segments.
New Wine in Old Skins
Back when NextStage was developing its Evolution Technology most businesses didn’t have a computer on every worker’s desk. I know this is hard to believe, except perhaps in the developing world where a few computers per business (regardless of size, sometimes) is the norm.
Back then we created a very useful report for our clients; Real Visitors per URL. The idea was simple and typically NextStageish; because more than one person might be using a computer during a workday, count the different thought patterns (thought patterns are incredibly unique) and you’ll have an accurate count of the number of real humans that visited your site rather than just the number of computers. The differences are worth noting because they’re a very good indication of interest – ten visitors per computer indicates high interest in an organization, one visitor indicates less organizational interest.
The value prop? Learn how many people per session where actually visiting your site as opposed to how many cookies or logins were on your site.
A simple variation of that report methodology determines how many of the Environmental Variances are due to your newsletter being passed on to someone else versus someone reading it as they travel. You can guess at this with Platform and Environmental Variance and New Conversions (covered in the next installment) and a true measure is Viral Capacity, me thinks.
The chart above shows six subscribers who’ve not only reopened the newsletter quite a bit themselves, they’ve also passed it on to someone else who’s also opened it (and many times, too!). This is WOM on fire; people finding value and telling others they found value, then those others finding value and passing it on, and on and on and on. The red indicates the number of times the original subscriber opened the newsletter, the green and yellow indicate other people (as determined by NextStage’s Evolution Technology) who also opened and read the newsletter.
Viral Capacity has two values associated with it. First, how many times is a given newsletter passed on and read. That value, Transmission, is 3 because each of the six subscribers’ newsletters is opened by at least two other people hence 1+2=3 (on average). The other value is Viral Opens, a count of Transmitted Opens to Subscriber Opens. That value is just over 4.5. The higher the better for these numbers and values above 10 are both incredible and worth investigating because they are so incredible.
Next time, New Conversions.
Please contact NextStage for information regarding presentations and trainings on this and other topics.
Links for this post:
- BizMediaScience Email Marketing blog posts
- How to Design an E-Mail Newsletter to Maximize Your ROI: Part 1 podcast
- How to Design an E-Mail Newsletter to Maximize Your ROI: Part 2
- Email Newsletters, Anyone?
- Make sure your email newsletter is working
- BizMediaScience SEND Glands Blog arc
- “Know How Someone Is Thinking in 10 Seconds or Less” Half-day training at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, 13 June 08