Elizabeth Yin, co-founder of email ad network LaunchBit, said she’s hoping that email newsletters get better this year — and to make that happen, LaunchBit is launching a new service called the 2012 Email Newsletter Report Card.
“Email marketing has gotten out of control,” Yin told me via email. “My inbox is so cluttered with too many boring email newsletters, and I’m sure many other people face a similar problem. Some of these newsletters are ones that I subscribed to, and they’ve just gotten boring over time. Others are just flat-out spam.”
Companies that send newsletters can see how they compare to the larger industry by visiting the report card site and either using OAuth to connect to their email provider or providing an API key. (Yin said the report card works with major providers like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, MadMimi, AWeber, and SendGrid.) Then LaunchBit will provide a grade in a number of areas like open rate, clickthrough rate, and subscriber growth.
Now, you could see a lot of this data already (it’s being pulled using your login information, after all), but Yin said the real advantage here is the ability to understand your performance in a larger context (specifically the 300-million-plus newsletter sends that LaunchBit has analyzed). For example, she said she’s talked to some newsletter publishers who think that a 10 percent open rate is good, while others think that a 30 percent open rate is bad — they’re both wrong.
“One of the tricky things about reading analytics from within an email service provider is that often you don’t know whether your numbers are good or bad,” Yin said. “No email service provider gives you a grade or a ranking.”
The report card also provides tips on how to improve your grade and compares your content (the average number of words, images, and links in a newsletter) to the industry average. All this data is packaged into a nice infographic with a sharable URL — but the URL is randomly generated, and it’s hidden from Google, so you can keep it private if you want. You can see a sample report card here.
LaunchBit is backed by 500 Startups, Tony Hsieh’s Vegas TechFund, and others. It’s offering the email report card through NewsletterDirectory.co, its site where newsletter publishers can buy, sell, and trade newsletter ads.