Your guide to email marketing benchmarks

It’s difficult to imagine that just 20 years ago, email was hardly prominent in people’s everyday lives. Now, the number of emails sent and received per day is roughly 281.1 billion, according to a 2018 study. And with more than 300 billion emails estimated to ship out by 2020, that number doesn’t seem like it’s going to plummet anytime soon.

That’s good news for marketers. Despite technological developments that resulted in the rise of social media as the hippest marketing medium for continued relevance, email still remains more effective for return on investment (ROI) than both social media and paid search.

And it isn’t remaining static, either. Google recently announced the debut of AMP for email, which could potentially transform the face of email into dynamic web experiences. Obtaining a quality ROI doesn’t happen by accident. Extensive data gathering and analytics work are essential in identifying the success factors behind your emails.

Email marketing benchmarks

In this post, we’ll walk you through the ultimate email marketing benchmarks you should commit to measuring.

1. Open rate

Open rate refers to the percentage of your total recipients who open your email. An average email open rate is 17.92 percent, while a very good email open rate measures between 20 to 40 percent.

Attention and first impressions are what govern email open rates. To improve yours, think about everything visible when you receive something in your inbox: sender’s name, sender’s email address, date, subject line, and preview.

The key to improving your email open rate is personalization. Emails containing a personalized message have average open rates of 18.8 percent compared to non-personalized emails hovering at 13.1 percent.

2. Click-through rate (CTR)

Click-through rate measures the number of subscribers who click on a link or image in your email out of all the emails you’ve sent. The average number for this is 2.69 percent. This metric lets you know if the calls to action you place in the body of your email are effective at driving traffic and conversions.

When you ensure that your CTAs are relevant and engaging for the audience segment you’re communicating with, you’ll begin to see your click-through rates increase. Your content should also be consistent with your initial pitch (your subject line)—after all, nobody likes to be duped.

3. Unsubscribe rate

Each email campaign you send out should have this number readily accessible. It’s the number of people who opt out of your email list. Average unsubscribe rate is at 0.17 percent.

To lower unsubscribe rates, you need to identify what part of your campaign drives users away.

4. Click-to-open rate

Think of click-to-open rate as an immediate response to your email. This is the percentage of users who clicked a link or image within the email after opening it first. It differs from click-through rate because it narrows the total criteria down to opened emails only.

The average metric for click-to-open rates sits at 14.1 percent.

Improving your click-to-open rate means depending on both factors involved in click-through rate and open rate. Other essential aspects include your calls to action and engaging content that actually renders on users’ devices.

Analyze the different email apps you aim to deliver to and whether they can support what you send out. Additionally, optimize for mobile—it accounts for 59 percent of email opens. Plus, 47 percent of people now open campaigns on mobile, compared to 26.9 percent on desktop and 26.1 percent on webmail.

5. Spam rate

Spam rate is how often your recipients mark you down as spam. The average spam rate for Campaign Monitor is 0.002 percent. You’re more likely to get marked down as spam if you send large quantities of email at once, or if a user doesn’t recognize the sender. Don’t send from default email names—as much as possible, use the name of someone in your company—and don’t send to those who haven’t consented to be on your list.

6. Bounce rate

The same email list won’t work for all situations, especially if it’s years old. Going through email lists and removing inactive addresses helps reduce your bounce rate or the percentage of your emails that couldn’t be delivered due to server or spam issues. The average bounce rate comes in at 1.06 percent.

7. Deliverability

Unlike bounce rate, which measures according to system and spam issues, deliverability refers squarely to the general ability of emails to reach subscribers’ inboxes. This impacts everything—from open rate and click-through rate to click-to-open rate. Take note of the possibility of inbox fatigue.

Email tools provide users with the resources to maintain a “managed inbox,” such as Gmail’s tools for automatically segregating emails into tabs labeled  as ‘primary’ and ‘promotions.’

What marketers need to do is research. Email is your medium of choice, so you need to know how email service providers (ESPs) determine which emails go where.

Wrap up email marketing benchmarks

Will email marketing work better for you this year? Different industries have different averages across benchmarks, meaning some are more successful than others at sending emails.

Email marketing benchmarks and industry averages
Email marketing benchmarks and industry averages

Seeking out email marketing examples from the most successful industries can grant you tips on how to improve your benchmarks in a similar manner. It all depends on whether you’ve done due diligence with analytics and have adjusted your strategies accordingly. Never underestimate the power of numbers and email marketing benchmarks.

This guest blog post was written by Faye Napigkit, a senior demand generation coordinator at Campaign Monitor.