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Understanding Email Marketing Jargons

Email marketing is a big subject by itself, there are many jargons and terms which are email marketing specific.

In this article, we will be talking about the various email marketing jargons and KPIs which we will look out for when executing an email campaign.We will uncover the following common terms in email marketing:

  1. Click Through Rate (CTR)
  2. Conversion Rate
  3. Email Blacklist
  4. Email Blocking
  5. Email Whitelist
  6. False Positive
  7. Hard Bounce
  8. Soft Bounce
  9. HTML Email
  10. Open Rate
  11. Opt-In
  12. Single Opt-In
  13. Confirmed Opt-In (Double Opt-In)
  14. Opt-Out
  15. Permission Based Email

Click Through Rate (CTR)

CTR is defined as the percentage (the number of unique clicks divided by the number that were opened) of recipients that click on a given URL in your email.

Your email might have special offers or links to drive your email receivers to your landing page. Having a CTR in mind ensures you can monitor and experiment with your message to optimise your conversion rate. This leaves us to the next pointer, conversion rate.

Conversion Rate

In contrary to what most people think, conversion rate is the number of percentage of recipients who respond to your call-to-action in a given email marketing campaign or promotion. This is the measure of your email campaign’s success.

You may measure conversion in sales, phone calls, appointments etc. It is important that conversion does not necessarily mean a sale — it simply means how many of your email receivers have responded to how you would like them to.

Email Blacklist

It is common for an ISP to use a blacklist to determine which emails should be blocked (see “email blocking”). Blacklists contain list s of domains or IP addresses of known and suspected spammers. If we use our own IP address, we may easily end up on blacklist and our email will get blocked.

Email Blocking

Email blocking occurs when the receiving email server (e.g. Yahoo!, Gmail, Hotmail etc) prevents an inbound email from reaching the inbox of the intended recipient.

When this happens, the block is total and is unknown to you —  you will not be notified and will not even know.This reason is why you may prefer to use a third party email marketing company specialising in this to conduct your email marketing campaign.

Email Whitelist

A whitelist is the opposite of a blacklist. Instead of listing IP addresses to block, a whitelist includes IP addresses that have been approved to deliver email despite blocking measures.

Emails sent from whitelisted email servers will head directly to the inbox. One way to get whitelisted is to ask subscribers to whitelist us/safe-list us. 

False Positive

A false positive occurs when a legitimate, permission-based email is incorrectly filtered or blocked as spam. When they have subscribed, but your email still end up in spam folder.

Hard Bounce

A hard bounce is the failed delivery of an email due to a permanent reason like a non-existent address. Permanent reason is that the email maybe no longer exist. If you do not remove these email addresses, the ISP will start to move your messages to spam folder.

Soft Bounce

A soft bounce is the failed delivery of an email due to a temporary issue, like a full mailbox or an unavailable server.

Open Rate

The percentage of emails opened in any given email marketing campaign, or the percentage opened of the total number of emails sent. How does tracking for open rate work?

When email is opened, that pixel is loaded — when it loads 100 times, it indicates that it has been downloaded 100 times, hence the email has been opened 100 times.

One flaw in open rate is that many of the email servers has turn off the option for automatic image download — the pixel will not get download. In this case, people can read your email but not load images, since the image is not triggered, it will not be marked as open.


To opt in or subscribe to an email list is to choose to receive email communications by supplying your email address to a particular company, website or individual thereby giving them permission to email you.

Single Opt-In

A single opt-in list is created by inviting visitors and customers to subscribe to your email list. When you use a sign-up tag on your website, a message immediately goes out to the subscriber acknowledging the subscription.

Confirmed Opt-In (Double Opt-In)

A more stringent method of obtaining permission to send email campaigns. Confirmed opt-in adds an additional step to the opt-in process. It requires the subscriber to respond to a confirmation email by clicking on a confirmation link.

Only those subscribers who take this additional step are added to your list. ISPs and countries now prefer double opt-ins, so it might be advisable to do so for your own email marketing campaign.


To opt out or unsubscribe from an email list is to choose not to receive communications from the sender by requesting the removal of your email address from their list. In all of your emails, there should be an unsubscribe button.

Permission Based Email

Email sent to recipients who have opted-in or subscribed to receive email communications from a particular company, website or individual.

Email Service Provider (ESP)

An ESP is an organization that provides a tool or service that enables marketers to send out mass emails to their clients, prospects and customers.

The article here sums up the email marketing jargons which business owners might face if they want to conduct their very own email marketing. For digital marketers, these email marketing jargons should not be something foreign and should be used frequently as part of their analytics.

Find out more about creating an effective email marketing campaign here.Find out how email marketing can be used for retail and food and beverage companies, with the article tailored in Singapore context.


Leading Solution is a reputable digital marketing agency in Singapore, talk to us regarding your digital marketing needs today.

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