Email Marketing

What is a good open rate for email marketing?

by Zach

Email marketing is the core of many online marketing strategies, and any email marketing is only as good as its open rate. After all, what use is an email if the intended recipient never sees it? Below is a guide to what a good open rate — and what you can do to boost yours if it’s below average.

What is an “Open Rate” in Email Marketing?

The open rate simply measures what percentage of emails that are sent to a list actually are opened by recipients. The percentage is helpful in seeing how captivating a subject line is and how useful recipients typically find a campaign’s emails, and a good open rate is essential to a successful email marketing campaign. The open rate alone isn’t the only measure to consider, though.

The open rate of an email marketing campaign should be considered in conjunction with the click-through rate and click-to-open rate. The click-through rate indicates the proportion of recipients who click on the links in an email, whereas the click-to-open rate indicates the proportion of recipients who open the email and click on the links.

What is a Good Open Rate for Email Marketing?

As a general guideline, any email open rate of 20% or higher can be considered good. Open rates do vary across industries, and 20% might be outstanding in one industry but only par in another. Some of the more major industry average open rates break down as follows:

  • Advertising & Marketing – 18.50%
  • Consumer Packaged Goods – 18.10%
  • Financial Services – 24.80%
  • Media, Entertainment & Publishing – 20.80%
  • Retail – 12.60%
  • Travel, Hospitality & Leisure – 17.70%
  • Education – 24.90%
  • Nonprofit – 25.50%

The average open rate across all industries is 18.00%. These industry-specific rates show a clear preference for email campaigns that are related to good causes (e.g. education and nonprofit) and people’s money (e.g. financial services). Goods and even vacations are harder to write captivating emails for. Alongside these numbers, the average click-through rate is 2.6% and the average click-to-open rate is 14.1%. These aren’t industry-specific averages, but similar disparities between industries do exist.

Keep in mind that these are just industry averages and the size of your list plays a HUGE factor! The smaller the list of emails, the more difficult it is to engage and draw solid numbers. So if your open rate falls below 18%, don’t panic! As you build your list and work on sending valuable messages, the rates will increase. Just try to keep your open rates above 15% to avoid getting dropped in the spam folder.

How to Improve Your Email Marketing Open Rate?

If your email marketing open rate isn’t at least at the industry average, there are a few ways to improve the rate at least slightly:

  • Send emails on weekdays, which have slightly higher open rates than on weekends
  • Send emails between mid-morning and evening, which have the highest open rates
  • Spend time writing captivating subject lines, as these are what people first see
  • Use strong calls to action (CTA’s)

Implement these changes if you haven’t already, and you should see your open rate creep upward. Soon, it could break that 20% mark and become a good open rate for email marketing.