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  2. Measuring Newsletter Performance

How to read newsletter analytics

Review analytics for your sent editions


From your Workspace, navigate to the Sent tab, where you can view your previously sent editions. You’ll see the title, the day you sent it, as well as a various analytics for each send.


Hover over your statistics to see the following descriptions:

  • Word count: The number of words in your newsletter edition.
  • Open rate: The percentage of recipients who opened your newsletter. If you do not see a percentage displayed, your newsletter has not yet been opened, or the analytics are still calculating.
  • Clickthrough: The percentage of recipients who clicked any link in your newsletter. If you do not see a percentage displayed, there are no links in the edition, no links that have been clicked on, or the analytics are still calculating.
  • Thumbs up: The total number of positive responses to your newsletter edition. If your count reads “N/A” email reactions are not turned on (you can toggle this under Settings), you do not have any reactions to your newsletter edition, or the analytics are still calculating.
  • More analytics: Selecting “View Report” on your newsletter edition will open a dialogue displaying additional analytics. You’ll see specifics for individual recipients, links, responses, and which emails bounced, as well as the ability to download your report.

Clicking on “View Report” will also show you number of bounces, if any, and give you the option to filter your recipient list by delivery status.

Open rate tells you the percentage of individual recipients who opened your newsletter.

  • This is tracked via a hidden pixel in the email.
  • Some email clients do not automatically download images. If a recipient opens the email but does not elect to download the images, they will not be tracked as having opened the email.
  • If your organization has this setting, it is important to let your audience know that they need to download images, or talk to your IT team about adjusting those settings for Axios HQ emails.

Clickthrough rate tells you the percentage of individual recipients who opened any link in your newsletter. Unique clicks tells you how many individuals clicked on a link, while total clicks tells you the total amount of clicks, including multiple clicks from the same user.

Analytics over time

In addition to looking at the analytics for each edition of your newsletter, you can also compare the performance of your newsletter over time by heading to the Analytics page. You can choose between looking at the full history of your newsletter, the last 10 sends, or set a custom range.

You’ll see statistics for whichever timeframe you select:
  • Total sends – the number of editions sent
  • Total deliveries – the total number of emails delivered across these editions
  • Average Smart Brevity score – the average Smart Brevity across all cards
  • Average open rate – the average open rate across editions
  • Average click rate – the average clickthrough rate across edition
  • Average word count – the average word account across editions

By the numbers: Below that, you have two line charts to display your open and clickthrough rates over time across editions in your newsletter. In addition to comparing how your editions have performed compared to each other, you can also see how your newsletter is performing against the internet average, calculated off statistic released by other newsletter-sending services, and your own benchmark. 

By default, this benchmark is the cohort average of other HQ senders with the same audience type (internal vs. external) and size, or you can set your own custom average if you want to compare against your average with a previous sending service or have a goal you’d like to reach!

Finally, you’ll see your top performing editions and links. Looking at commonalities across your top performing editions may give you insights in what best resonances with your audience and help you write more effective newsletters.

And if you want to view your aggregate report as a PDF, there’s a download button in the top right corner of your Analytics page.


Why are my open rates so low? A recipient said they read the newsletter, but analytics are showing that they never opened it.

We determine our opens via pixel-tracking, which means that if a recipient does not load images when they open their email, their open will not be tracked. We suggest asking your audience to turn on image viewing. 

Go deeper: The process to turn on automatic image loading varies by email client. Here are instructions for Gmail and Outlook.

Why are my open rates so high / seem skewed?

There are a few factors that can influence open rates:

  • If someone’s inbox automatically displays the selected email in a sidebar, they might be counted as opening a newsletter every time they click on that email while shuffling through their inbox.
  • Some email spam filters actually open emails and click links in them to test for security reasons. This can result in opens and clicks being attributed to recipients even if they did not interact with the email, and can sometimes lead to higher open rates.

Why does a single recipient show so many opens?

Sometimes, people open and close emails without realizing as they navigate through their inbox.

Additionally, if a newsletter is forwarded to other recipients, their opens and clicks will be attributed to the original recipient. This will not influence your open or clickthrough rates, but can increase the total click number and explains a recipient having many opens linked to them.

Spam filters that open emails to test their safety can also increase the number of opens attributed to a single recipient.