Great News, Open Rates are Dead!

Vanessa Copley
Open Rates Are Dead

We’re very excited here at SegMetrics to hear that open rates are the next victim of iOS updates. It’s a similar change to Gmail’s image prefetching update a few years ago, which will make open rate stats even more drastically inflated and meaningless.

“The iOS 15 update means that marketers could lose around half of their open rate data. That will render it effectively useless, as it can no longer be used as a legitimate KPI or optimization metric.”


And that’s great news! Because do you know what’s worse than not optimizing your campaigns? Optimizing them for misleading metrics…

Open and click rates – misleading marketers for decades 

Here at SegMetrics, we’re big optimization nerds. There’s nothing we love more than combing through data to determine what’s working.

So you’d think we’d enjoy open rates, rights?

Well, the bad news is that testing subject lines to improve open rates has never been helpful. According to Mailchimp’s data:

“Unfortunately, we found that opens and clicks don’t predict revenue any better than a coin flip!”

This is confirmed by research into 50 million emails, that concluded:

“Open rates wrongly predict success 53% of the time”

Or in other words, an improvement in open rates has no connection to improving sales.

(Note: We’re sorry if this reality check is distressing. We’ll understand if you want to take a minute to try and reason why we’re wrong)

Focusing on what matters – money!

Now we’re not just saying you should take a hit and hope approach to your emails. Open rates are meaningless, but there’s a better alternative!

How about…which emails actually make money!

Alternative #1, measure immediate sales

The most obvious choice is to measure which emails are leading directly to purchases. 

This is standard in e-commerce, where most emails are aimed at bringing in sales (although there’s other options). Most major email platforms have integrations for platforms such as Shopify and Woocommerce to attribute sales to email clicks.

For industries such as info products, this isn’t always so straightforward. You might have a nurture sequence where immediate sales aren’t the aim, which brings us to…

Alternative #2, measure impact on LTV

With tools such as SegMetrics, you can see how email sequences impact average lifetime value.

This is ideal if your aim is to increase spending, days, weeks or even months after someone received the emails. Revenue data from your email platform or payment processor will be matched up with someone’s contact data and the sequence they have been tagged with.

It is ideal if you have a long nurture sequence before pitching your course, or want to build the brand relationship after a first purchase.

Example: lead follow up sequence

Let’s say you have a free mini-course you email out to people who downloaded your lead magnet, after which you pitch your main product. You’ve been wondering if switching the content to a different content would be a good idea.

Previously, you might have looked at the open rate to see if the new series got in front of more eyeballs.

But with SegMetrics, you can split test them to see which brings in more revenue. Simply

  1. Tag leads with which email sequence they are receiving
  2. Let the emails run until enough people have gone through the funnel
  3. Use SegMetrics (or our free split test calculator) to see the revenue attributed to each tag

If you then want to take it up a level, you could even measure which course content works best with which lead magnet!

Vanessa Copley


Vanessa Copley is a business automation specialist and the founder of Custom Client Journey. She specializes in client journey management and bringing the human touch to your automated experience. In her free time, she enjoys reading fantasy and horror novels, practicing Tang Soo Do and spending time with her amazing children, the love of her life, and their 15 birds and 2 dogs.

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