Brands use email marketing for a variety of reasons. For one, email is a widely used communication channel—data from Statista indicates that there are more than 3.9 billion email users worldwide. It’s also a trusted platform. According to the Pew Research Center, 66% of users feel either somewhat or very confident that email clients will protect their data.

However, the main reason why marketers use email marketing is for it’s proven effectiveness. Email marketing has an ROI of $44 for every dollar spent, which makes it one of the most lucrative digital marketing channels out there today.

The great thing about email marketing is that you can get even more out of the channel by leveraging the right data.

In this post, we’ll walk you through current email marketing benchmarks and how you can use them to maximize your email marketing.

Email marketing benchmarks for 2019

Campaign Monitor is a tech company and email service provider that published an email marketing benchmark report earlier this year.

The report consists of data from billions of emails that were sent through Campaign Monitor in 2018 by brands from dozens of industries.

Take a look at some of the data from the report.

  • Email marketing across all industries
    • Average open rate – 17.92%
    • Average click-through rate – 2.69%
    • Average unsubscribe rate – 0.17%
    • Average click-to-open rate – 14.10%
    • Average bounce rate – 1.06%
  • Top industries (based on open rate)
    • Nonprofit – 20.39%
    • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting – 20.13%
    • Government – 19.79%
    • Healthcare services – 19.12%
    • Other – 18.94%
  • Top industries (based on click-to-open rate)
    • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting – 18.03%
    • Media, entertainment, and publishing – 17.15%
    • Real estate, design, and construction activities – 16.47%
    • Unknown – 15.52%
    • Government – 15.11%
  • Best days to send emails
    • Day with the highest open rates – Thursday
    • Day with the highest click-through rates – Tuesday
    • Day with the highest click-to-open rates – Saturday
    • Day with the lowest unsubscribe rates – Sunday or Monday
    • Day with the lowest bounce rates – Monday
  • Worst days to send emails
    • Day with the lowest open rates – Sunday
    • Day with the lowest click-through rates – Sunday
    • Day with the lowest click-to-open rates – Monday
    • Day with the highest unsubscribe rates – Wednesday
    • Day with the highest bounce rates – Friday

Enhancing your email marketing performance

You’re now familiar with email marketing industry standards. Here are the steps you can take to stay improving your email marketing metrics and remain one step ahead of your competitors.

  • Open rate

Campaign Monitor found an average open rate of 17.92% across all industries. One thing you can do to improve yours is to work on your subject lines.

Always remember to personalize subject lines and include your subscribers’ first name. You can also try testing different subject line lengths (long vs. short), content  (offering discounts vs. offering free shipping), and tone (fun vs. businesslike).

Another way to increase your open rates is to send emails during the times and days when your subscribers are most active. You can determine this by testing different send days, send times, and cadences (daily, weekly, etc.). According to Campaign Monitor, the day with the highest open rate is Thursday, though the metric can vary depending on your industry.

  • Click-through rate (CTR)

Benchmarks data indicates an average click-through rate of 2.69%.

To increase your click-through rate, focus on the clickable element of your email: the call to action (CTA).

Improve your CTAs with clear, concise copy. Instead of using bland or overused CTAs like “download now”, try something like “get the ebook today” since it better communicates the benefits of clicking to your subscribers.

That being said, remember to tweak other elements of your email as well. You can try creating more in-depth segments so that you can send the most relevant content possible. You can also try offering stronger incentives to your subscribers to better capture their attention.

  • Click-to-open rate

The average click-to-open rate is 14.10% and is a strong indicator of your email’s overall effectiveness. 

To improve your click-to-open rate, ensure that your emails render perfectly on all devices. This is of utmost importance, especially now that more than half of all email opens occur on mobile.

You should also collect the right data from your subscribers so that it’s easier for you to segment and personalize. Optimize your signup forms and landing pages to capture information other than the subscribers’ names and email addresses.

  • Unsubscribe rate

The unsubscribe rate across all industries is 0.17%

Although the metric rate is relatively low, you should still take the necessary steps to prevent your subscribers from opting out of your communications.

Maintain list health on a regular basis. You can try to re-engage inactive subscribers, but don’t be afraid to delete them if your re-engagement attempts are unsuccessful.

For easier engagement with your subscribers, automate specific emails including your welcome emails, holiday emails, and birthday messages.

Wrap up

While email marketing is definitely a powerful digital channel, you can definitely make improvements to your metrics when you take advantage of data. By learning updated email marketing benchmarks, you can boost your email performance metric by metric—from your open rates right down to your bounce rates.

Want more information on benchmarks? Check out Campaign Monitor’s Email Marketing Benchmarks 2019 report.

Author Bio:
Ash Salleh is the Director of SEO at Campaign Monitor, where he works closely with content, copy, and analytics teams to improve site-wide optimization. Prior to his time at Campaign Monitor, he also provided SEO and digital marketing expertise at Zappos and Axiata Digital.