Basically, it shows you how many people are annoyed versus how many people are delighted by the emails you are sending them.
So if you or your brand care about the right frequency and the best content for your emails. This is the metric for you.
Quality score was first used in online marketing to influence the ad placement on a search engine. Or as describe by Wikipedia:
Quality score is a variable used by Google, Yahoo!, and Bing that can influence both the rank and cost per click (CPC) of ads. To determine the order in which ads are listed, each ad has the following formula run against it: bid *Quality Score.
For email marketing we kept the name and adapted it to measure engagement quality. Though, it does not influence directly inbox placement. More on this in the last paragraph.
The formula is simple:
1 — (Unsubscribes / Responders)
You can use Unique clicks or Responders depending on your ESP’s metrics.
Your quality score goal is depending a lot on your:
The more emails you send, the harder it will be to get a good quality score.
We don’t have a benchmark for each industry but hopefully after reading this article you’ll use it and share yours. So we can create a quality score benchmark per industry like Mailchimp does for other metrics.
There is a lot of ways to improve your quality score in an email.
As we’ve seen above it’s depending on a lot of factors.
Here are the biggest levers:
If, despite you optimizing an email, the quality score is stagnating pretty low, you should question yourself why you are sending this email at all?
Quality score is a good indicator on engagement quality and should be combined with other email metrics like opens, clicks or unsubscribes.
But before working on the quality score you should make sure to optimize your open rate. As you won’t have much impact on it if your users are not opening your emails.
Also note that this quality score is different from the Sender Score used by Return Path or the Message Quality Score used by Campaigners. These 2 focus on giving you information about deliverability and inbox placement. Though, quality score might indirectly affect deliverability and inbox placement as it is giving you precious engagement information.