Getting started with email deliverability monitoring and performance metrics

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You will learn

Learn what good email deliverability metrics look like by industry, and which strategies to use to help improve your email performance. In this guide, find out about the specific open and click rate, both for email campaign and flow messages, that you should strive for after depending on what vertical or industry you are in. Additionally, learn ways to help mitigate potential deliverability issues and how to continue to monitor these rates over time.

Before you begin

It’s important to understand the fundamentals of email deliverability and best practices to help you make your subscribers’ inboxes. Read our guide on email deliverability before you dive into evaluating your metrics. The metrics outlined in this guide are targets you should aim for after completing the warming process.

What to think about as you monitor deliverability

As you regularly review your campaign performance, it's a good idea to ask yourself the following questions to remain diligent regarding email deliverability issues:

  • Spam complaint rates
    • Any recent spikes? 
      • If so, in what time frame? 
      • What else changed recently? 
    • Are these rates <0.01% per mailbox provider?
  • Open rates (excluding MPP) over time
    • Any recent drops? 
      • If so, in what time frame? 
      • What else changed recently? 
      • What segments or lists does this impact? 
    • Are these rates >33% for all industries (note that this could be higher for flow messages or during busier sending times of the year)?
  • Unsubscribe rates
    • Any recent spikes? 
      • If so, in what time frame? 
      • What else changed recently? 
    • Are these rates under 0.3%? 
  • Click rates
    • Any recent drops? 
      • If so, in what time frame? 
      • What else changed recently? 
      • What lists/campaigns does this impact? 
    • Are these rates >1% for all industries (note that this could be higher for flow messages or during busier sending times of the year)?
  • Bounce rates
    • Any recent spikes? 
      • If so, in what time frame? 
      • What else changed recently? 
      • Any specific mailbox provider (MBP) or ISP that is bouncing? 
    • Are these rates <1%? In other words, this means for every 100 emails you send, 1 will be returned to you.

The ideal time frame for these above metrics would be across the last 30 days, unless you send weekly or less, then look at larger time frames. It is important to keep in mind that these rates are an average over time.

Additionally, not every campaign needs to fall inside the rates noted above. Having one campaign fall outside these rates can happen; you only need to be concerned if this is a trend. It’s important to continually monitor your individual campaigns, flows, and their health over time.

How to evaluate your email deliverability

There are a lot of numbers in your Klaviyo account, so you might wonder what good email deliverability looks like.

Opens, clicks, bounces, unsubscribes, and spam complaints come together to determine your overall deliverability performance and show how successfully you reach your subscribers’ inboxes.

Common “symptoms” that signal a deliverability issue include:

  • Drop in opens
  • Drop in clicks
  • Spike in unsubscribe rates
  • Spike in spam complaint rates
  • Spike in bounce rates
  • Drop in revenue/conversions 
  • Reports of emails not being delivered
  • Reports of emails landing in the spam folder

 These deliverability metrics are calculated in the following ways:

  • Unique open rates
    The number of individuals opening your email divided by the number of emails delivered (as opposed to total opens, which measures the total number of times emails are opened).

  • Unique click rates
    The number of individuals clicking a link in your email divided by the number of emails delivered.

  • Bounce rates
    The number of bounced addresses divided by the total number of emails sent.

  • Unsubscribe rates
    The number of recipients who unsubscribe divided by the total number of emails delivered. These rates are measured on a per campaign basis, or you can view the list growth report for a particular list.

  • Spam complaint rates
    The number of spam complaints about a particular email divided by the total number of emails delivered.

Deliverability metrics by industry

When looking at any of your deliverability rates, it's important to consider that these may differ slightly depending on your industry (i.e., some industries naturally see higher opens or clicks versus others). The charts below provide the averages that Klaviyo has gathered across our customer industries.

It’s worth noting that these are targets you should strive for after warming your infrastructure if necessary, and you should continue to use email marketing best practices and strive for further subscriber engagement. It’s also important to continue to monitor these values.

Note that the rates in the charts below will be periodically updated throughout the year. The current rates below represent Q4 2022 data (i.e., September–December 2022) gathered from across Klaviyo’s benchmarks data. The industries listed are derived from your account settings self-selection.

Opens and clicks benchmarks for email campaigns

The information below represents average email rates across Q4 2022. Note that Apple Mail Privacy Protection opens are included in the open rates presented.

For more detailed information regarding conversion rates and revenue per recipient, visit our full quarterly ecommerce guide.

Industry Average open rate Average click rate

All (aggregated across all industries)



Apparel and accessories









Food and beverage



Hardware and home improvement



Health and beauty



Housewares, home furnishings, and garden






Mass merchant



Office supplies






Sporting goods



Toys and hobbies



Opens and clicks benchmarks for flows

The information below represents average flow rates across Q4 2022. Note that Apple Mail Privacy Protection opens are included in the open rates presented.

For more detailed information regarding specific types of flows (e.g., welcome, post-purchase, SMS, etc.), visit our full quarterly ecommerce guide.

Industry Average open rate Average click rate

All (aggregated across all industries)



Apparel and accessories









Food and beverage

53.65% 6.09%

Hardware and home improvement



Health and beauty



Housewares, home furnishings, and garden






Mass merchant



Office supplies






Sporting goods



Toys and hobbies



Negative Engagements

While open and click rates can vary across industries, you should aim to keep negative engagements as low as possible. Your negative engagement rates should remain in the healthy range: 

Metric Needs attention Room for Improvement  Healthy

Bounce rate

> 2%


< 1.0%

Unsubscribe rate

> 1%


< 0.3%

Spam complaint rate

> 0.05%


< 0.01%

Bounce rates

High or rising bounce rates‌ are usually an indicator that you may have an issue with your list hygiene or your sender reputation. Regardless of industry, aim to get bounce rates as low as possible and aim to keep bounce rates within acceptable/healthy limits. Depending on your sending cadence, you should review your bounce rate averages every few sends or campaigns and try to improve them. Bounce rates can be an early indicator of larger issues, including those related to list hygiene, subscriber preferences, reputation with mailbox providers, etc.

In addition, low bounce rates go hand-in-hand with overall email marketing best practices. These practices include:

Unsubscribe rates

Your unsubscribe rates represent the number of recipients who unsubscribed divided by the total number of emails delivered. In general, you should aim to be under a 0.3% unsubscribe rate per email campaign, regardless of industry.

While unsubscribes can be a normal part of email marketing and deliverability, excessive unsubscribe rates per campaign over time can cause mailbox providers to filter future campaigns away from the primary inbox. This may indicate there is a list hygiene issue that needs to be addressed in order to maintain good deliverability and reach subscribers.

However, you may have times where you are periodically encouraging subscribers to adjust their email preferences and confirm if they even want to receive your emails. In ‌these cases, you may expect to see unsubscribe rates potentially higher, and, thus, it’s key to monitor this rate in context.

It’s also important to consider how you are opting in your users and what consent they have given you to contact them. Consider if you are sending your subscribers the emails they expect to receive from your brand, what type you are sending, and when you are sending them. 

Spam complaint rates

When someone marks your emails as spam, this signifies to inbox providers that you are sending emails to people who do not wish to receive your mailings. These providers will then be more likely to send your emails directly to spam rather than an inbox in the future. 

Not all inbox providers report feedback of recipients that have reported their messages as spam. With that in mind, 0 spam complaints does not mean they are not reporting your messages as spam. For a full list of inbox providers that provide feedback on spam reports, you can go to Validity’s list of available complaint feedback loops. Note that Validity processes most complaints for a majority of providers and therefore should have the most up-to-date list available.

Spam complaints are more dire than when someone unsubscribes from your marketing, and a rise in spam complaints should not be taken lightly.

If you have a high spam rate (over 0.05%), there are 5 key steps you can take:

  1. Conduct spam tests
    Services like Inbox Tracker will generally help you check whether your email is likely to end up in the spam folder by applying standard filters and scoring your email, as well as delivering your email to test seed list addresses in sample inboxes (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.). Although these services are not always 100% accurate, they can be helpful in identifying general issues or downward trends in your emails.

  2. Identify “stale lists” or email addresses
    A "stale list" could originate from a competition or sweepstakes you ran, an event you held where you collected emails, or a list you haven’t emailed recently. You may also have issues with proper suppressions or segmentation in your sending habits, so performing a segment audit is another way to identify the problem.

  3. Identify non-engaged subscribers
    Inbox providers will not only look at your sender reputation and content but also how often your subscribers are actually opening your emails. Although you may send to valid subscribers who originally signed up for your emails, subscribers that are rarely or never opening your emails can affect your reputation over time as these emails may eventually get shuffled into the spam folder. Therefore, it’s important to regularly review your lists, ask subscribers if they still want to engage with your brand via a re-engagement campaign, and clean out any subscribers who don’t want to hear from your brand or never responded regarding their preferences.

  4. Review how you are acquiring subscribers
    Along with identifying problematic lists, it may be helpful to review how you are acquiring your lists to begin with. You will want to ensure that your forms adequately present your brand, what types of emails a subscriber should expect to receive, and how you will contact your subscribers. Learn more about implicit consent and best practices for using this when reaching out to subscribers.

  5. Make sure your email renders with your unsubscribe link
    Inbox providers like Gmail can often clip or cut off emails that are too long, which could cause your unsubscribe links being cut off as well. With this in mind, it’s important to make sure that your unsubscribe link is accessible or possibly moved higher in your email so that subscribers can easily unsubscribe instead of just marking you as spam. Using the testing and preview function in Klaviyo and other services like Litmus can help you see a preview of your email in various inboxes to ensure your unsubscribe link is not cut off.

Use the following process to identify problematic lists and email addresses:

  1. Create a segment specifying that someone meets the core condition you'd like to test. For example, they have a email address or are on the list that you created for a specific competition.
  2. Add a second condition to the segment with the condition: has opened an email at least once within the last 12 months
  3. Repeat this process for people not in the first group (i.e., use these same parameters to exclude subscribers who are in the first segment).
  4. Compute open rates to see if the open rate for your test list is actually much lower than the open rate for your other lists.

Monitoring your deliverability in response to Apple iOS and MPP changes

Starting with the September 2021 release of iOS 15, macOS Monterey, iPadOS 15, and WatchOS 8, Apple changed how they handle email privacy. This will affect any email client checked via the Mail App on the Apple iPhone using iOS 15.

These changes could not only affect how you track subscriber engagement, but how you monitor your deliverability and reputation overall. We suggest following the steps below to ensure you are on top of your deliverability best practices.

Expand your engaged segment

For deliverability monitoring, it will be key to focus on other metrics besides opens to inform you if subscribers are actually engaged with your brand.

Email engagement data, like clicks and opens, will help you understand if your customers are actually interacting with your brand. If you are not using these metrics already, you will want to expand your engaged segment in Klaviyo to include them. It’s also important to note that non-email engagement data like purchases or onsite activity is also relevant, but since these do not impact how mailbox providers view your engagement, consider engaging with these subscribers through other means like social or SMS.

If you have any flows that trigger based solely on email opens, consider expanding that trigger definition to include other engagement criteria, like clicks or product views.

Remove unengaged segments

Once you have widened your engagement criteria, look at subscribers that may be unengaged.

With these changes to Apple Mail opens, we suggest creating an unengaged segment that includes at least clicks. As you continue to monitor your unengaged segment, you may want to expand this to include subscribers that were not active on site and did not make purchases.

Actively monitor and clean your lists

Besides simply monitoring your unengaged subscribers, regularly try to re-engage these people or even completely remove them from your lists. Regular list cleaning will ensure that you’re only contacting people who want to hear from you and help you maintain a strong reputation.

How to monitor key metrics over time

  • Daily: Klaviyo Reporting
    • Campaign segment reports
    • Benchmarks
    • Email provider trends

  • Weekly: Google Postmaster Tools
    • Domain reputation graph 
    • IP reputation graph
    • Spam complaints

  • Weekly: Outlook SNDS (For accounts on dedicated IP only)
    • IP reputation
    • Spam trap hits
  • Quarterly: Deliverability audit (Klaviyo or third-party consultant)

Campaign reporting

Use the following key metrics to evaluate your deliverability performance. These can be found by navigating to your Campaign trend report. This is your main report where you can monitor opens, clicks, bounces, and spam.

Campaign trends report showing performance data for deliverability metrics for campaigns

You can also create custom reports for campaigns, honing in on the metrics you care about most and viewing how they change over time. To do this, head to Custom Reports and create a new Campaign Performance Report

Campaign table

By default, your Email Campaigns page will show a table view as shown in the example below. 

Campaign performance table showing quarterly marketing performance

You can also choose to expose the data for percentiles by toggling the option for Detailed View on the upper right side.

Detailed view toggle for marketing performance data

In these tables, note what your value is for various performance indicators (e.g., open rate, click rate, bounce rate, etc.). Compare your data with the recommendations in the table above and make changes where needed to boost your deliverability. Learn more about the metrics on the Campaigns Performance page and what they each mean.

Moreover, you should strive to have a status of Excellent or Good for each performance indicator. If your status is Poor or Fair, make efforts to improve these through new strategies

Campaign graph

On the Email Campaigns page, you can monitor how your campaigns perform over time, customizing the performance indicator, timeframe, and graph to focus on. 

Chart showing campaign performance over time

Additionally, by hovering over any of these graphs for your campaign performance, you will see a breakdown of how your performance rating status (Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor) was derived. Your rating will be a mix of Klaviyo best practices for benchmarks, peer groups, and overall industry statistics.

Information on how performance rating status was derived

Benchmarks reporting

Another way to monitor your email deliverability performance is to analyze your deliverability-specific benchmarks. Klaviyo’s benchmarking tool allows you to evaluate and compare your data in relation to Klaviyo deliverability best practices, overall industry trends, and peer groups (i.e., companies similar to your own). Use this tool to take note of how your deliverability performance relates to others and Klaviyo guidance to determine where you can improve.

In order to see benchmarks, you must meet our eligibility requirement of having sent at least 25 emails in the last 6 months. However, if you are viewing your campaign performance analytics, you can see these benchmarks without the 25 email minimum. Any account that provides its industry will see industry-level benchmarks. Benchmarks are updated with new data on the tenth of every month. You will see a timestamp of when your benchmarks were last updated in the upper right. If you become eligible for benchmarks this month, your benchmarks will not be available until next month.

Part of how Klaviyo formulates peer group benchmarks is by using information on your industry and vertical. Your industry and vertical information is stored on the organization contact information page. It is important to keep this information up-to-date if it is not already. Learn how to update these organizational and vertical information settings.

Email performance benchmarks

Within the benchmarks section, there are 4 separate pages where you can analyze your data. By default, you’ll be directed to the Overview page. Select Email Campaigns from the main tab to hone in on your email marketing and deliverability performance.

Additional resources

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