2023-11-30 3:02 pm
2024-04-26 12:40 pm
2024-04-26 12:40 pm

What is the Average Open Rate for Email Marketing?

Email marketing is the backbone of your online campaigns, so learning all you can about what to expect determines overall campaign return on investment. 

Read on to unlock the secrets of email marketing open rates because understanding how to improve your open rates will pay massive dividends for your marketing campaigns and give you a system that serves as a benchmark for future campaigns.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Why email open rates matter
  • How to increase your open rates
  • What affects the average open rate
  • Optimizing your emails

And plenty, plenty more. Let’s begin.

Understanding Email Open Rates

understanding email open rates

To improve our open rates, we must first understand what they are and how they work.

How Does Open Rate Work?

Email open rate is a metric that marketers closely monitor. It is the rate at which recipients of your emails click on the email in their inbox. Open rates will be measured by your customer relationship management (CRM), which tracks a range of email engagement data. It can also be valuable to see who is opening your email specifically, and you can learn more about that here.

Why Do Email Open Rates Matter?

Email open rates matter because they are the measurement of how many people are reading your emails. It doesn’t matter if you have a contact list with a million addresses if nobody is opening it. 

Measure of Engagement

Your email open rate is indicative of campaign success. It tells you who your message is reaching and who is engaging with it. A range of decisions can influence what you can make and correlates with overall email effectiveness. 

Campaign Effectiveness

If you’re cold-emailing or working off a contact list you’ve developed for yourself; you need to know if your campaign is reaching the right people. Campaign effectiveness measurements include open rates but can also include responses, uptake of special offers, social media engagement, and much more.

Deliverability Insights

Your email open rate reflects your email deliverability. Deliverability is simply the measurement of how deliverable your emails are. This is assessed through open rate, bounceback rate, spam rate, and other measures. 

Audience Relevance

Open rate varies across different sectors. Depending on your field, the audience you are cultivating will always be different. Open rates can help you tell if your mailing list is relevant to your business or if you need to find a new one.

Financial Implications

If you’re spending money on a marketing campaign, then you need to be able to measure if that money is being spent wisely. An open rate is an excellent measure of your campaign’s dollar-for-dollar impact. 

Feedback on Timing

The timing of your emails can make a massive difference in your open rates. You can assess which time and day of the week to send your emails based on your open rate.

Brand Perception

You can tell much about your brand perception based on how people engage with your material. Open rates tell you whether your target audience trusts your brand, finds your content engaging, wants to find out what you’re up to, and whether or not they value your communication.

Trigger for Action

Email marketing material must always include a call to action to entice your audience to take you up on offers, engage you for services or products, or communicate with your online channels.


Factors That Affect Average Open Rates

factors that affect average open rates

Open rates can be influenced by various factors, each of which you can independently tweak and adjust to bring your open rate up. Certain factors will influence open rates to a greater or lesser extent, so experiment with different tweaks to see what offers the most significant improvement. 

Email Content

The most fundamental factor influencing your email open rate is the content, which is critical in email marketing strategy. 

Your content must appeal to those on your marketing list and benefit them daily. Because people don’t engage with content that doesn’t offer them anything, your open rate provides insights into content relevance.

Target Audience

Knowing your target audience will improve your open rate immensely. There’s no sense in blasting out emails all over the internet to swathes of people who are not interested in your work. 

Honing your target audience will mean greater engagement and a higher open rate. This translates into more sales for you and determines overall campaign ROI. 

Time of Day

Understanding how the time of day you send your email affects the open rate is vital. Explore our guide on the best time to send cold emails for more detailed insights. 

Is it first thing in the morning when they sit at their desk? Is it on their lunch break? Is it in the evening when they have free time to read? The success of your emails fluctuates based on the time of sending. 

Frequency of Emails Sent

If you send fewer emails, you may irritate your audience. If you send too few, they may forget you exist. You need a consistent, well-timed, thoughtful email campaign to get the most engagement possible. 

Mobile Optimization

Much of your audience will be reading your emails on their phone, so having a finely-tuned email optimized for reading on smartphones will ensure your audience can engage with your content. 

Mail Privacy Protection

Recipients need to be sure that their data is protected and their privacy is assured, so be sure to use some form of mail privacy protection. 

Industry Averages for Email Open Rates

industry average for email open rates

You might think anything less than a 100% open rate is a failure, but understanding the average open rates for different industries will help you determine whether your emails are hitting their mark.

Firstly, let’s get something out of the way, though. The average open rate for all businesses everywhere is 21.33%. If you’re landing between 17–25%, you’re in a good place. Check your open rate and see how it compares to industry benchmarks.

That being said, different industries have their own open rates based on the size of the industry, the market it serves, the usefulness of email campaigns and products, and plenty of other factors. 

Depending on your industry, you’ll have a different open rate to shoot for.

Average Business-to-Business Open Rates

The average email open rate for business-to-business (B2B) services is between 15% and 20%. 

B2B open rates can be lower because you are not engaging an individual directly with an appealing proposition but rather a business, and your email is being opened by an individual who may or may not be able to take you up on an offer, let alone engage with your campaign.

In any case, it’s important to cultivate your mailing list for B2B to include only businesses that operate within the industry you are targeting so that you increase your open rate.

Average Business-to-Customer Open Rates

Business-to-customer (B2C) open rates are typically higher than B2B because you are contacting an individual in your audience who can decide whether to engage with your services. 

Ideally, your mailing list will have been sourced to include people who have actively registered their interest with your business or have been targeted for their interest in what you offer.

The average open rate for B2C ranges from 19% to 30% on the very top end.

Optimizing Your Email Marketing Campaigns for Higher Open Rates

optimizing your email marketing campaigns for higher open rates

There are many ways you can improve the open rate of your emails. Below, we’ve collected a list of the best techniques to make your emails more appealing to your reader, avoid being marked spam by your reader’s email system, and improve the readability of your content. 

Leverage Personalization and Segmentation

Even though your readers know that they are receiving a mass email, nobody wants to be treated as if they are one of a thousand recipients. Making your emails personal, with a friendly and informal touch, can make them more appealing. 

Segmentation is another tool hugely beneficial for increasing open rates because the engagement rate depends on the target audience. Segmentation is when you break down your mailing list into smaller groups and specifically target your emails to those smaller groups. You might segment based on location, previous purchases, or demographic data. 

Campaign success is affected by list segmentation. By segmenting your mailing list, you can send more targeted emails that are more likely to get results and save other parts of your audience from emails they don’t need or want. 

Craft Compelling Subject Lines

The first thing anyone sees in their inbox is your subject line, and your open rate is influenced by subject line quality. If you use a generic subject line, don’t be surprised when it doesn’t inspire people to jump in and start reading immediately. 

Compelling, specific subject lines, like questions, pain points, or statistics, inspire curiosity in your audience and promote a healthier open rate, meaning more eyes on your business and marketing campaign. The subject line they engage with offers a glimpse into recipient behavior and can inform future campaigns.

Use Pre-Header Text Strategically

Pre-header text is the text that appears to the right of a subject line in an inbox. It’s your last opportunity to craft an engaging first impression, so using it wisely is crucial. If you can convey an exciting premise, ask a compelling question, or demonstrate the value of your services in a few words after the subject line, you’ll be well on your way to a higher open rate.

Improve Your Deliverability

Often, a poor open rate is impacted by deliverability issues. Deliverability measures how effectively you can get emails into your readers’ inboxes. Bouncebacks and spam filters can sometimes reject emails that aren’t formatted appropriately or personalized. You have a big problem if an email service provider can’t differentiate between your content and a spam email. 

Deliverability can increase with more personalized content, double opt-in procedures, and shortened URLs, and it can be improved with better design. All of these factors can be optimized by A/B testing. 

Poor deliverability is a reflection of list health. If your email list has a lot of inactive or unverified email addresses, this could affect your delivery rate.

Include Valuable Content

It goes without saying that if you have nothing of value to add, you have nothing to say, and you’re better off leaving well enough alone. One of the most fundamental things you need to focus on is the content of your emails, ensuring that it is useful and appealing to your audience.

Your open rate reflects whether or not your content is exciting and is enhanced by personalized content. 

Create Mobile-First Emails

Among younger demographics, the use of smartphones to send and receive emails is higher than any other device. The use of smartphones to open and read emails is also growing in every other age range, so focusing on your email readability and formatting for a phone will make them more useful to more people.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Improve My Email Open Rates?

Email open rates change based on time of day, content, mailing list curation, design, and deliverability. Improving your mailing list quality is crucial, and one way to do this is by buying a laser-targeted email list. Each of these factors can be enhanced to give you better results.

How Do I Personalize Subject Lines?

You can use names, the information you’ve gathered from previous engagements with your brand, or anything else that shows that you have a personal connection with your customer. 

What Are Great Subject Line Examples? 

Good email subject lines are direct, concise, and play on curiosities or concerns your customers may have. If you want a good primer or what makes a good email line, you can read our article Email Subject Lines that Work.

What Is a Good Email Open Rate?

While you might think you need 100%, 90%, or 85% open rates, 30% would be a good high-end range to aim for. Understand that open rates are different between industries and you will need to set your targets in line with those averages. 

Open rate can be influenced by all of the factors we have discussed above, and you can test different changes with A/B testing to find what works best for you.

While you care about open rates, you need to use a highly accurate email list to maximize your outreaches. Try Bookyourdata with 10 free leads to skyrocket your ROI with high open rates.



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