Email Thursday – How To Calculate Lift In Email



One of the metrics that gets thrown around in the world of email is lift. Lift. What does lift mean? How do you calculate lift? How will the lift affect how I approach my next campaign? Today, I’m going to give you a step-by-step walk through of how to calculate lift in response rates but also how you can use the results to help you optimize your next campaign.

First of all, you need to conduct a test. Begin by:

  • Deciding on the variable you want to test
  • Craft identical messages with the only difference being that variable
  • Send each version to 5% of your list (or a statistically significant amount)
  • Give the test at least 24 hours to accumulate data

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After 24 hours, you need to look at the response rates to the 2 tests and identify a winner. Once you have identified the winner, send that winning version to the remaining list.

But how do you know exactly how much better the winning test performed over the losing test? By calculating lift. Lift is calculated similar to ROAS. ROAS stands for Return On Ad Spend and, like ROAS, LIFT (not standing for anything) follows a similar formula.

Winning% minus Old% over Old% times 100 equals Lift%. So here’s an example:
Version A is delivered to 100 people and 10 people click on a link. Version B is delivered to 100 people and 20 people click on a link. The formula is then 20 minus 10 over 10 times 100 equals 100. Thus, version B saw a 100% lift in clicks.
In email, this is a valuable metric that is often calculated incorrectly or simply not calculated at all. And it is not unique to email either: it can be used for conversion calculations in a usability test or click calculations for a PPC campaign. However you decide to use it, make sure that you are employing this vital statistic when looking at how your email campaigns are performing.