Email Marketing Metrics: What’s a Subscriber Retention Rate?

Email Marketing Metrics: What’s a Subscriber Retention Rate?

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Email Marketing Metrics

When digging into your email marketing metrics, one that you need to zero in on is your subscriber retention email marketing rate. Don't worry if that sounds like algebra, we will explain.

A subscriber retention is the rate at which your subscribers are either fleeing or staying with you.

To Calculate

Subtract the bounces and unsubscribes from your total number of subscribers, then divide the whole mess by the total number of subscribers. Yikes!

In plain English: (# of subscribers – bounces – unsubscribes)/# of subscribers.

So, if the total number of subscribers is 1,000 with 25 bounces and 120 unsubscribes, then your subscriber retention rate is 85.5%.

What does the rate mean?

Well, it's a reflection on how well you're holding on to your customers. In a perfect world, your retention rate would be 100%, where you'd never lose a customer to a bounce and no one ever unsubscribes.

Breaking it down a bit more, the subscriber email marketing retention rate shows:

  • Email relevancy
  • Promotion relevancy
  • Email frequency/timing


  • Which type of email marketing leads to the highest and/or lowest number of unsubscribes?
  • Has the retention rate remained static or fluctuated throughout the year and/or month?
  • Is there a correlation between a high retention rate and they type of promotions offered?
  • Does your retention rate plummet after a major sale (or holiday)?

Does that all make sense now? How are your retention rates for the last few months or even the last few years? Understanding this important metric is key for your overall email marketing success.

Looking for more retention email marketing tips?

In need of a software that will keep your contacts engaged and interested? Sign up for a free trial today or call our sales team at 1-866-323-6572 ext. 1

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