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Average Open Rates For Email

Posted by Jeff Davis on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 @ 09:45 AM

Email marketing will remain a significant portion of our digital marketing plans for the foreseeable future.  The reason – it works and is readily accepted by many consumers. 

One of the questions I am frequently asked deals with “average open rates”. Off to the research center.  Below are links to four articles that all bring some form of thought to this question.

MailChimp offers free research based on industry and company size. Open Rates High - 48.6% for Religion.  Low Daily Deals/E-Coupons 19.3%

My favorite section of this article is Tips for Improving Your Stats. Ideas on handling hard and soft bounces.  I like “When it comes to subject lines, boring works best. When you write your subject line, don’t sell what’s inside—tell what's inside. Read our study on writing effective subject lines.

Open rates have dropped over the previous five years.  In 2008 they averaged a high of 13.2% and by 2012 it had settled to approximately 10%.  They also show open rates by industry and now is a time to remind you to look at research methodology.  The reported open rates for Mailer Mailer are considerably less than MailChimp reporting.  But they tend to trend the same.  MM also reports “The next chart demonstrates the cumulative percentage of opens in the hours after your message is delivered. So, a message delivered to 500 recipients may receive 50 opens, and this chart shows when those opens occur in the hours after deliver.”

It continues, Our findings reveal that about half (51.7%) of all opens occur within the first six hours after delivery. At 18 hours after delivery, about three quarters (74.9%) of total opens have occurred. In general, most opens occur in the first few hours after delivery, after which point they taper off until all opens have occurred — approximately 2 weeks after the message has been sent.

This report, using data from Mailer Mailer shows the Email Open Rates, by Hour adjusted for local time.  “Generally speaking, much as with last year’s study, emails scheduled to be sent between the early evening and the early morning achieved the best open rates.”

“While emails scheduled between the evening hours and early morning tended to lead to the best email open rates, emails were actually opened at a much greater rate during the workday than during those overnight hours.”

Email open rates by time of day

 “Average email open rates continued their downward path during 2011 and the first quarter of 2012, though click-through rates (CTRs) increased slightly during the same period.”

Some key US findings for the five quarters ended 1Q12:

·       Open rates averaged 19.9%, down from a 2009 average of 21.3%.
·       CTRs averaged 5.4%, up from a 2009 average of 4.5%. 
·       Unsubscribe rates (0.27%) were in line with previous studies overall, but varied dramatically by industry type. 

My answer to what is an acceptable open rate?  It doesn’t matter.  The key to any good marketing is to test and measure.  Whatever today’s open rate is, tomorrow’s should be better.  This is a great time to brush up on ideas for A/B Testing

Topics: digital advertising, Email Marketing, digital marketing, marketing, open rates, email


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