Integrated Insights email performance indicators

Email performance indicators in Integrated Insights automatically surface emails that are performing well. Indicators have suggested next steps so you can focus on driving results. 

NOTE: The Integrated Insights Report is available in Litmus Enterprise plans for Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Oracle Eloqua, and Marketo.

integrated insights report in litmus analytics with yellow badge indicated

Performance indicator metrics calculations

Performance indicators look across 6 engagement and list health metrics and identify high and low performers.  Emails with metrics that are more than 2 standard deviations from the mean rate are highlighted.

  • Averages (mean) are calculated based on the last 30 days of email sends
  • We filter out emails sent to less than 100 recipients when determining the indicators
  • Engagement metrics include open rate, click-through rate (CTR), and click-to-open rate (CTOR)
  • List health metrics include soft bounce rate, hard bounce rate, and unsubscribe rate
  • Litmus read time is not used for the performance indicators

Email performance badges call out whether a metric was high performing or low performing.

Performance badges in your Integrated Insights

  • High open rate, CTR and CTOR green badge indicates an email with a high open rate, click-through rate, and click-to-open rate. This email's subject line, design, and content worked well together to engage your audience.
  • High CTR and CTOR green badge is for an email with a high click-through and click-to-open rate. This email's content was engaging and worked well.
  • High open rate green badge is for emails with an effective subject line, but average or below average clicks.
  • High unsubscribe rate yellow badge indicates an email with a high unsubscribe rate. There may be an opportunity to improve this email's content.
  • High hard bounce rate yellow badge is for an email with a high hard bounce rate. This could be an indicator that it's time to evaluate your list health.
  • High soft bounce rate yellow badge is for an email with a high soft bounce rate. This may mean recipients are temporarily out-of-office.
  • Low open rate yellow badge indicates an email with a low open rate. This may mean your subject line needs improvement.
  • Low CTR and Low CTOR yellow badges apply to emails with low engagement overall. This may be an informational email, or it may need some enhancements.

High open rate

This email had an exceptionally high open rate compared to emails sent in the last 30 days, but click-throughs were close to the average or below average.  

  • It may be that the goal of this email was informational, in which case, you did a great job on the subject line! 
  • If the intent of the email was conversions or clicks, then you may have a mismatch with your subject line and content. Or you may need to adjust your message envelope, which includes the sender name, subject line, and preview text, to better align with your content.
  • Lower conversions may also indicate a mistake in your email. Be sure to check every link before sending!


  • Align your subject line with your content
  • Set your subscriber's expectations and clearly state what's inside the email
  • Make sure your call to action is clear

Check out our guide to improve calls-to-action (CTAs).

High unsubscribe rate

This email had a high unsubscribe rate compared to emails sent in the last 30 days.

A high unsubscribe rate on its own in a single email campaign isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If the high unsubscribe rate is a repeating pattern overall (not in a standalone email), you may need to make some adjustments.


  • Improve your content/design to better align with customer expectations.
  • Consider testing different days or times of sending.
  • Take a look at your email frequency. 
    • If you are sending email irregularly, subscribers may be unfamiliar with your brand and unsubscribe because they don't recall signing up.
    • If you email too frequently, subscribers may unsubscribe instead of updating their subscription preferences. 
  • Investigate if there was a pattern in the audience who unsubscribed at the highest rate.
  • Think about where you’re acquiring your email addresses. A high unsubscribe rate could be an indication of poor email acquisition methods.

Read more about the benefits of email preference centers to help deter unsubscribes on our blog.

High hard bounce rate

This email had a high hard bounce rate when compared to the emails sent in the last 30 days.

A hard bounce is a permanent bounce, meaning an email will not be received by that email address. It may be the result of an unknown user error, which is caused when an email address:

  • Is invalid because it doesn’t exist or contains a typo (e.g., instead of
  • Has been deactivated, such as when someone leaves a company or abandons a free email account.
  • Has blocked your emails from being delivered.


  • Actively managing hard bounces is critical. Determine your specific ESP’s practices to ensure a process is in place for all key elements. Do they automatically correct common email address typos? After how many hard bounces will your ESP mark an email address undeliverable? And for which kinds of hard bounce? 
  • Set rules for deactivating hard bounces and add them to a suppression list as part of your list hygiene practices. Doing this removes the possibility that you’ll accidentally send to email addresses you know will hard bounce.
    • Also consider creating suppression lists of commonly misspelled email domain names to avoid sending to them in the first place.
  • Actively manage the data quality of your list to reduce bounce rates. Repeatedly sending email to addresses that hard bounce can indicate to internet service providers (ISPs) that you have bad list hygiene practices. Data quality is an important metric for ISPs when they’re deciding whether your emails are spam or not and can contribute to your sender reputation.
    • Actively managing your list isn’t just good for deliverability, it’s good for engagement, too. (Which is, in turn, good for deliverability.) When you send to a cleaner list, you’re more likely to be sending to people who want to receive and will engage with your email. That’s a win-win.

Learn more about managing bounces and leverage our Ultimate Guide to Email Deliverability.

High soft bounce rate

This email had a high soft bounce rate when compared to the emails sent in the last 30 days.

A soft bounce is a temporary bounce, meaning while the delivery of your current message was unsuccessful, you may be able to deliver another email to that address at a later date. It could be bouncing because:

  • Too many people have marked your emails as spam.
  • You’ve been put on a blocklist.
  • The recipient’s mailbox is full.
  • The email account has been temporarily suspended.
  • Unforeseen errors or outages at the receiving mail server.
  • A high number of recipients had an out-of-office auto-responder turned on. Soft bounces due to auto-responders tend to increase during peak holiday seasons.


  • Temporary bounces may not need immediate attention because they usually resolve on their own, but they should be closely monitored. 
  • Similar to hard bounces, after three bounces, it’s time to remove the email from your list as part of your list hygiene practices. This removes the possibility that you’ll accidentally send to email addresses you know will bounce. Just make sure the interval in which those bounces happened was not too short, like over the course of a day.  
  • Be sure to ask your ESP what they do about soft bounces to ensure a process is in place for all key elements. Do they automatically attempt to resend your message? When and how many times until they give up? At what point do they convert a soft bounce to an undeliverable email address on your suppression list?
  • Actively manage the data quality of your list to reduce bounce rates.

Read more about managing bounces on our blog.

Low open rate

This email had an abnormally low open rate when compared to emails sent in the last 30 days.

  • You may need to adjust your subject line and/or segmentation.
  • Subscribers may not recognize your sender's name.
  • There may be a better time to send your email.
  • You may be experiencing some deliverability issues.


  • Ensure your subject line is relevant to your audience with proper segmentation. 
    • Email segmentation is the process of separating your customers into groups based on certain traits (e.g. personality, interests, habits, pain points) and factors (e.g. demographics, industry, income) they have in common. Since each group is composed of customers with something in common, that also makes them more likely to respond to similar messaging or calls-to-action (CTA).
    • Read more about how to use segmentation with personalization to improve your brand experience on our blog.
  • Your subject line is your opportunity to make a great first impression. Consider making the following adjustments to drive more subscribers to open your email:
    • Take a look at your subject line, sender name, and preview text and ensure they all work hand-in-hand. Think of your preview text as an extension to your subject line. Work on crafting subject lines and preview text that works together and makes sense when read together.
    • Focus on your subscriber. Start injecting the word 'you' into your subject line.
    • Consider adding action to your subject line, so your subscriber knows exactly what you want them to do with your email.
    • Be specific instead of vague.
    • Think about transactional subject lines differently. They probably have different goals and might even be managed by different teams.
    • Check out these tips to improve your subject line
  • Ensure your sender's name is easily recognizable and not misleading. Avoid repeating your sender name in your subject line or preview text.
  • Consider running some testing to determine the best time to send your email to optimize open rates.
  • Take proactive steps to ensure your email is landing in the inbox
    • Ensure you have fundamental authentication protocols like DKIM and DMARC in place.
    • Run thorough spam tests prior to sending.
    • Audit your entire email infrastructure to ensure your acquisition, unsubscribe sources, and complaint feedback loops are all in proper working order to avoid any hangups. 
    • Read more on how to improve deliverability

Low CTR or Low CTOR

This email has an abnormally low click-through rate compared to emails sent in the last 30 days.  

The goal of this email may not be clicks or conversions. For example, an email welcoming a new customer may not include a CTA or measure success with clicks. Another example is an email reminding your customer to take action within your platform. The email may not have clicks, but may drive in-app activity.

If the goal of this email is clicks, there may be some actions you can take to improve click-through rate.


  • A low click-through rate could be due to incorrect or broken links. Be sure to check every link before hitting send.
  • Ensure your subject line aligns with the content in your email. What got your subscriber to open should lead to exactly that.
  • Consider using verbs in your CTAs (calls to action) that not only amplify the act of taking action, but the value of it. For example, instead of saying 'Download Now,' try 'Start Planning.'
  • Make sure your CTA stands out with contrast and visual indicators to steer your subscriber towards the clickable elements. Consider leaving a generous amount of white space around your CTA to make it easier to find.
  • Use urgency to encourage action.

Read more about how to design emails that convert on our blog.


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