We have new data! We’ve updated our report with Q1 and Q2 2019.
What’s a good email open or click-through rate? How do your email marketing and automation campaigns stack up against others in your industry?
Our new global Email Marketing Benchmarks report has you covered – with the tips, tactics and insights to improve your email campaigns’ performance.
Can’t find what you need? Just send us an email! We love to know what's important to our fellow marketers.
We analyzed around 4 billion emails sent by our customers from January to June 2019, in 126 countries across 19 industries.
For the best insights, we only looked at active senders with at least 1,000 contacts.
We also used the unique values for average email opens, clicks, unsubscribes, and spam (abuse) complaints. That means we only count each action once – even if a subscriber clicked or opened a newsletter many times.
Below you can see how the average email open rates, click-through rates, and other key email marketing metrics vary across different locations and industries.
Take a look and see how the average email marketing metrics vary across continents.
|Continent||Open rate||Click-through rate||Click-to-open rate||Unsubscribe rate||Spam rate|
Segmentation and focus: email marketing across continents
The latest email marketing data across continents shows it’s worth focusing on your subscriber and their geolocation when catering to a global audience.
It’s become very clear that consumers in various locations show different levels of engagement when interacting with email marketing campaigns.
Take Europe and North America for example. The difference in their average email open rate is 7.84 percentage points (26.84% vs 19%). For click-throughs it’s 1.37 percentage points (4.35% vs 2.98%).
This may not seem like much at first, but given the fact that the average click-through rate (CTR) in North America is 2.98%, the difference of 1.37 percentage points accounts for +46% more clicks (if we ignore the sample size difference) for the campaigns sent by European marketers.
How about the year over year change for individual markets and the global market?
We’ve observed that global average email open and click-through rates have both been goind down.
Compared to the Q2 2018 data we’ve published in the past, the global average email open rates dipped by 1.52 percentage points. The global average click-through rates have gone down by 0.4 percentage points.
The continents that observed the biggest loss in the engagement rates YOY: North America (OR 20.78% vs 19%, CTR 3.41% vs 2.98%), South America (OR 28.34% vs 23.06%, CTR 3.85% vs 3.26%), and Asia (OR 22.11% vs 18.51%, CTR 3.20% vs 2.54%).
While the global results have dipped, one of the markets seem to have come out rather unharmed.
While Oceania scored higher in 2019, campaigns sent in this region only account for 2% of the group we analyzed.
Europe’s average open rates have roughly remained the same, but the average click-through has also dipped by about 0.2 percentage point.
So, what should you do with this data?
First, take a look at your email database. Pinpoint where your subscribers are located, and compare their engagement metrics against our benchmarks.
Then consider what you can do to beat the average results.
For instance, you could adjust your email frequency, switch up your offer to match your customers’ preferences and actions, or play with the placement and copy of your calls-to-action.
Just remember a cookie-cutter approach won’t get you far. Your email marketing campaigns should always complement your conversion optimization plan.
What are the average email marketing results in different countries? Here's what we've found.
|Country||Open rate||Click-through rate||Click-to-open rate||Unsubscribe rate||Spam rate|
GDPR and its impact
It’s been over a year since GDPR came into force.
So what’s changed?
Although the global average results have dipped, it seems not by much.
The strongest markets like Germany, France, or the Netherlands, still dominate the top of our table. Although France saw a loss of 1 percentage point in CTR, Germany observed an over 1.7 percentage point increase around the same time.
Countries that were primarily unaffected by GDPR, e.g., Brazil, the US, and Canada, saw their average open rates and click-through rates drop (continuing the decline from last year.)
Why could that be?
Perhaps other regulations like the CCPA are making global consumers more aware of their rights – and why and how to unsubscribe.
Or maybe it’s because online marketing is clearly going towards the pay-to-play mode and marketers are shifting their focus to the channels that aren’t owned by anyone – like email.
I’ll repeat the lesson from our last report.
You should always consider your target market – and compare your results to the country averages.
Customer preferences are different across markets. So are regulations – but maybe less so with the GDPR spreading across the EU.
So it’s not always ideal to compare your campaigns to others outside your market. Although it can be handy if you run campaigns in multiple countries.
If you do, segment your audience before comparing the results against the benchmarks.
This can also help you spot your best-performing markets – which might not be the same in other digital marketing channels.
Here, we've gathered email marketing benchmarks by industry. You can see how your average email open, click-through, click-to-open, unsubscribe, and spam complaint rates compare against other companies in your industry.
|Industry||Open rate||Click-through rate||Click-to-open rate||Unsubscribe rate||Spam rate|
|Arts & Entertainment||28.72%||4.48%||15.61%||0.20%||0.02%|
|Health & Beauty||25.09%||4.19%||16.69%||0.25%||0.02%|
|Restaurants & Food||33.10%||3.46%||10.45%||0.23%||0.02%|
|Sports & Activities||28.99%||3.82%||13.19%||0.20%||0.01%|
|Technology & High Tech||24.17%||3.03%||12.53%||0.24%||0.01%|
Make it relevant and interesting – and get results!
When comparing your average email open and click-through rates, look at other companies within your industry.
Things like legal regulations, competition, or simply the nature of the industry will affect average performance.
In terms of industry trends, restaurants and food, non-profits, and publishers are still on top.
This suggests brands that send content about things we like and care about will always get the highest engagement.
At the same time, legal services, agencies, and healthcare have seen a drop. This could be because of their campaigns – or the nature of the industry.
If you’re seeing the same, take a look at what’s changed over the past two quarters. It could be as simple as how often you send emails – or how much (or little) you personalize them.
Either way, it’s a good idea to compare your average stats with your industry. You might spot an opportunity to outperform your competitors.
In this table, you'll see the average landing page conversions based on the subscription rate they generated across industries.
|Industry||Average conversion rate|
|Arts & Entertainment||5.30%|
|Health & Beauty||5.59%|
|Restaurants & Food||7.52%|
|Sports & Activities||9.86%|
|Technology & High Tech||6.03%|
Earn trust for landing page success
This time around, legal services, publishing, and the sports and activities industries have enjoyed the highest conversion rates.
All these industries had higher than average email marketing metrics like opens and clicks, too.
Overall, most industries have seen a drop in conversions – especially travel and non-profits.
How can you boost your landing page conversion rates?
Pay attention to your lead magnets and the quality of traffic you drive to your landing pages.
Make sure to align them all. If there’s a mismatch, even if your landing page design is spot on, you’re not going to see high conversion rates.
Below you'll find out how popular the use of confirmed opt-in is in different industries.
|Industry||double opt-in||single opt-in|
|Arts & Entertainment||10.21%||89.79%|
|Health & Beauty||8.35%||91.65%|
|Restaurants & Food||8.33%||91.67%|
|Sports and Activities||12.09%||87.91%|
|Technology & High Tech||7.24%||92.76%|
Double opt-in: an underrated growth tool
I’m a huge fan of confirmed (double) opt-in. Lean lists mean better results, and email deliverability is so much better when you have verified your list with double opt-in. It’s also a good security measure, to prevent anyone from injecting spam traps or sending other harmful emails to your list.
It’s great to see a bigger, continuous take-up of confirmed opt-in – a relief after the Q2 2018 drop. This confirms my hunch that we needed to wait til the GDPR dust settled.
What’s interesting – but not surprising – is that the industries with a bigger share of confirmed lists also observed the highest average results in terms of opens and clicks.
This once again proves that email list quality trumps quantity.
Here, you'll find the average email marketing results observed by marketers depending on the time, day, and frequency of email sends in their email campaigns.
In this section, we’re looking for the answer to the popular question – what's the best time to send your email campaigns.
When’s the best time to send emails?
Once again our data suggests the short answer is: it depends.
In general, there seem to be two time slots you could aim for. The first is around 10 AM – shortly after people arrive at work and have their morning coffee.
The second slot is around 1 PM. This could be because people are catching up on emails after lunch.
Like in our last reports, we're again seeing an increase in click-through rates later in the afternoon, around 6 PM when many of us return home.
Just remember every audience is different.
Sometimes people change their behavior based on the day or their work-load.
It’s hard to generalize what’s going to work best for everyone. That’s why it’s better to let an algorithm pick the best time for you.
Here, we've looked at the average results of email campaigns sent on different days of the week.
What's the best day to send emails?
As in our previous reports, the difference between individual week days isn’t as clear-cut.
Monday and Tuesday continue to lead both in terms of average opens and clicks.
At the same time, when you look at the click-to-open ratio (CTOR), Saturday and Sunday were the top two choices.
This may be due to the fact that weekends are much less competitive. Combined, Saturday and Sunday account for 18% of all email campaigns sent, while Tuesday on its own, accounts for 17%.
Either way, I suggest you run an A/B test, ask your audience, or pick a day you’ll always send your emails on.
Some offers are more time-sensitive – like when people have to go somewhere to use them. In that case, it might make more sense to send your offer Monday evening rather than Tuesday morning.
How many emails should you put into your autoresponder cycle? We've analyzed how the average engagement metrics change depending on the number of emails our customers used in their autoresponder cycles.
|# of messages||% of cycles||Open rate||Click-through rate||Click-to-open rate||Unsubscribe rate||Spam rate|
It’s not about length. It’s about value.
Shorter autoresponder cycles tend to produce better results. In fact, the single message autoresponder cycle – often used as a welcome or thank you email with a link to download something – had an astonishing 88.7% open rate and a 35.07% click-through rate.
But don’t get me wrong. It’s not really about length – it’s all about delivering value. You can easily run engaging long-term campaigns if subscribers keep finding your emails useful.
The trick is to understand the customer journey and create marketing automation workflows that match every stage. For example, B2B sales cycles are usually complex and might even extend into years. They call for long email sequences that seize every potential opportunity to address your audience’s needs.
When planning your email marketing communication, start with your subscribers. Which of their problems are you solving? How exactly can you help them? What do they need to know to help them decide to buy your product? The answers will fuel your automated email campaigns – and convert your prospects into satisfied customers.
How many of your subscribers open your emails within the first two, four, or six hours after sending? Is it the same for clicks? Here, we’re looking at how the recipients’ engagement changed over time after the campaign was sent.
|Opens by hour||% of all message opens||Cumulative %||% of all message clicks||Cumulative %|
Time-sensitive offer? Be quick!
Email results change over time. There’s a big spike in the first few hours, followed by a gradual drop.
So keep this in mind if you send time-sensitive offers.
Almost 19% of all email campaigns are opened in the very first hour after sending. With each hour, your chances of getting more opens decrease.
After 6 hours, over half of your emails have already been opened.
Planning a flash sale? Consider a retargeting campaign (via emails or a PPC campaign) to follow up with the people who don’t respond within six hours.
If your offer isn’t time-specific, take time to analyze your results before following up. Even though only around 26% of subscribers will open your emails seven to 24 hours after you send them, it’s often worth the wait. And sending more emails isn’t always the answer.
There’s another story this data might be telling us:
Since email opens and clicks continue to accumulate over time, perhaps the best time to send email shouldn’t be your top priority.
As long as your campaign ticks most of these email marketing best practices, you might still hit a homerun even if you miss the best time-slot by an hour or two.
In this section, you'll see the average metrics observed by marketers using different email marketing tactics.
In this table, we're looking at whether adding video content (including links to your video hosting platforms) could help you boost your engagement metrics, primarily the average click-through and click-to-open rates.
Video in emails: room for improvement
When it comes to content, emails with video still generate the highest engagement rates.
The problem is not all email clients support it, which is why only around 8% of the emails our customers send contain links to videos.
For now, the best workaround is to use an image (maybe even a GIF) that looks like a video player and links to your page. That way, you'll boost your click-throughs and enhance your contacts’ experience as they’ll watch the content in their default browser or video player.
As soon as Google implements this feature (and they haven't said when,) it will spread to most major email clients.
Below we're looking at the relationship between the email subject line length and the average open rates they scored. On top of that, you'll see what subject line length is most popular with email marketers.
Are shorter subject lines better?
Looking at the data, you could say your email subject lines should be somewhere between 90 and 140 characters.
After all, they scored the highest open rates. But bear in mind they only account for around 8% of all emails we tracked.
Over 85% of subject lines are even shorter. That’s a promising trend, considering mobile use is on the rise – and less of the subject line is visible on smaller screens.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to giving your subscriber an idea of what’s inside.
Your subject lines need to be compelling enough to get people to open the email. But remember that your sender name and preheader text aim to do the same.
If you design them together with the goal of optimizing your open rates in mind, you can achieve great results.
In most cases, it’s not about the length of the subject line but rather conveying the message.
If the content is relevant to your audience, it's easy to come up with a subject line that scores a high open rate.
Need proof? Take a look on the chart at the 25-26% open rates beside the three longest subject line groups we tracked.
Still not convinced? Make A/B testing your new best friend!
Could adding an emoji to your subject lines help you achieve higher email open rates? We've looked at how popular and successful this approach is among GetResponse customers.
|Emoji||% of messages||Open rate|
Emoji – fewer fans, slightly better results!
Still scared of using emojis in your subject lines? You’re not alone. Our statistics show that even fewer marketers use them these days (3.9%) compared to the lprevious report (6.7%.)
Having said that, if you’re not a big emoji fan and feel it doesn’t fit your brand, this quarter’s results suggest it could be worth a try.
The average open rates for emails that contained emoji in the subject line were 25.02%. That’s almost 3 percentage points higher than the average.
Here’s what to keep in mind when using emoji:
- Use the emoji that make sense for your email
- Don’t go overboard
- Run an A/B test to check your results
Emoji in subject lines can improve open rates, attract subscribers, and do much more. They can also help you express an idea with less space – crucial on mobile. But they may not be ideal if you’re targeting a very professional type of audience.
I hope we’ll know more about emoji in the future, so test them out and let’s see what works.
Here we've tried to answer the question whether you should use personalization in the email subject lines.
|Personalized?||% of messages||Open rate|
Personalizing subject lines isn’t enough
We can see the same trend we observed in our last report.
Personalization is as popular as ever – but the results have dipped.
There’s only around a 0.5 percentage point difference between personalized and non-personalized subject lines.
What does that tell us?
Personalization in the email body still works (more on that later.)
But when it comes to subject lines, it’s not enough to say “Hey, Bob” to win your subscribers’ hearts.
Your message must also be interesting and relevant. But don’t expect simple tricks like this to instantly lift your results.
For that, you need to take a long-term view.
Do individual phrases in email subject lines correlate with email campaign performance? Here we explore whether individual words have the power to make or break your email campaigns.
|Phrase or symbol||% of messages||Open rate||Click-through rate||Click-to-open rate|
Don’t play games. Communicate value, expect results
Marketers often ask about what they should or shouldn’t include in their email subject lines.
Having previously looked at the use of personalization and emoji, we’ve decided to explore how specific phrases and symbols correlate with email marketing results.
We’ve listed some of the most popular phrases and looked at the open rates, click-through rates, and click-to-open rates that the email campaigns that contained them observed.
The outcome was pretty interesting.
If we only looked at the average open rates, the winning “phrase” would be “fw”.
The next top three phrases were “pdf”, “newsletter”, and “ebook”.
That’s bad news because we strongly discourage marketers from using “fw” and “fwd” as these phrases are primarily used to trick email recipients into thinking that the message came from someone they know.
I think this tactic is rather short-sighted and given the low CTRs, it would not generate many conversions. Plus it’s something that could cause deliverability problems in the future as people may be more inclined to mark your messages as spam.
What about the other top three phrases?
It seems that communicating the value recipients will get out of the message pays off.
Although emails that contained these phrases didn’t get the highest average open rates, they got much higher click-through (CTR) and click-to-open rates (CTOR). Both of these metrics are a clear sign of user engagement.
So what should you do?
If you’re promoting a piece of content or a valuable resource, you’re probably better off if you mention it in the subject line.
Your emails will probably get higher than average engagement rates.
What if you’re running a sales promo?
It looks like using phrases that evoke urgency like “now” and “quick” isn’t the best way forward.
People are probably just tired of them.
Many don’t like to be pressured into doing things that require instant action – which is generally a good thing.
Or it could be something else, we can’t know for sure.
On another note, it’s interesting to see that emails that contained the phrase “free” performed particularly well.
This phrase, previously believed to cause deliverability issues, seems to work well for quite a few marketers.
To be honest, I’m not too surprised by this. People still enjoy receiving free things. Whether it’s free delivery or a free sample. While often there are strings attached, it doesn’t hurt to check what the offer is about.
Does adding the preheader increase your chances of getting your emails opened? Let's see how popular preheaders are and whether email marketers that use them get better than average email open rates.
|Preheader?||% of messages||Open rate||Click-through rate||Click-to-open rate|
The preheader: your subject line’s best friend
The preheader is the first snippet of text in your email that appears next to your subject line. People see it before they even open the email.
We’ve been singing the preheader’s praises for a long time – and urging marketers to add one if they want high open rates.
But only around 11% do.
And that’s a shame, given emails with a preheader get much higher average open rates – 27.82% vs 21.46%. They also have a far greater impact than personalized subject lines.
So, how should you design the preheader?
Here’s an example from Interaction-Design.org:
Subject line: Do not seek praise, seek criticism
Preheader: Learn how to conduct effective usability testing
As you can see, the subject and the preheader go together to tell the story.
In fact, you should make use of all the elements that subscribers see in the inbox before they open the email. Used well, the so-called envelope (sender, subject line, and preheader) can make a difference.
And your average open rates will reflect that.
Does tailored content in emails correlate with higher average engagement rates? In this table, we're looking at the relationship between the email engagement metrics and the use of personalization in the email body.
|Personalized?||% of messages||Open rate||Click-through rate||Click-to-open rate|
Personalized content influences clicks and conversions
When personalizing the email body content, we should be looking at three specific metrics (in this exact order): the click-through, click-to-open, and open rates.
Why? Because if you think about it, personalized email body and copy can only step in after you’ve already opened the message.
At the same time, your positive past experiences could affect the likelihood of you opening the messages from a particular sender.
So how does personalized email body copy influence clicks?
If we just looked at click-throughs, we’d see personalized emails tend to score higher: 3.87% vs 3.25%.
If you ignore the difference in the size of these two groups, that’s an 19% improvement!
At the same time, more people opening your emails usually means more clicks. Because there are more eyes on your CTAs. But as I’ve just mentioned, your experience with the brand’s previous campaigns could be one of the reasons why you’ve opened the email in the first place.
That’s why it’s worth using the other metric: the click-to-open ratio. It also tells you if subscribers are more likely to click on an offer after opening an email with personalized copy.
So what does our data tell us?
Turns out, personalized emails lead by 0.7%. Which could mean a lot or a little, depending on the size of your email database and the value each click carries for your business.
Few things to keep in mind.
First of all, we don’t know what level of personalization our customers implemented in their email campaigns.
It could just as well be that 99% of them used basic personalization like using their contacts’ first name in the opening line.
On top of that, it might be that we’re not seeing all of the “personalized” email campaigns that our customers are sending.
It could be the case that instead of creating dynamic content or even using the built-in merge tags, they chose to send the newsletters to their segments individually, as separate messages.
But let’s go back to the original question:
Should you personalize your email campaigns? Or would the CTR difference be too small to justify the costs?
The best way to know is to test it.
My gut feeling says it’s worth it, but again, I wouldn’t expect significant differences if you only use the most basic personalization. Think bigger!
And while you do that, we’ll be busy making personalization much easier to use. So you can look forward to even better results.
How important are welcome emails? What open and click-through rates do they get, on average? Here's what we've found.
|Open rate||Click-through rate||Unsubscribe rate||Spam rate|
Welcome emails: your secret conversion weapon
If you only send one thing, make it a welcome message.
Why? Because our latest data shows the average open rate is over 82%! And the average click-through rate is around 27%.
That means more than eight out of 10 people will open your welcome email. And more than one in four will click through to your site.
That’s four times as many opens and seven times as many clicks compared to other emails.
Why do welcome emails get such high open and click-through rates?
Because we expect welcome emails to land in our inbox – to confirm our signup or purchase.
Sure, they’re sent less frequently, which made our sample much smaller and partly affected our results.
But that doesn’t make them any less valuable.
Best of all, setting them up is super easy – especially if you use marketing automation workflow templates.
Oh, did I mention they’re great for boosting your email deliverability? Keep that in mind, too.
And if you want even better deliverability – and conversion rates – make sure to add something click-worthy to your welcome messages.
It could be a discount code, personalized video, or exclusive content available only to the new subscribers. Do that and watch your average email statistics soar!
Should you add images to your emails? Or maybe it's better to send text-based newsletters instead? Here's what the numbers say.
|Has Graphic?||% of messages||Open rate||Click-through rate||Unsubscribe rate||Spam rate|
Versatility and relevance matter
Should your email marketing campaigns be text- or image-based? It’s a great question – with a not-so-simple answer.
We tried to split the emails our customers sent into those with images versus those without them. The problem? We don't know the image sizes. Was it a simple logo – or was the entire email an image?
What the data does suggest is that image-based emails perform better – both in terms of the average open and click-through rates.
The difference is rather significant – 3.74% vs 2.74% in the case of CTR and 24.64% vs 16.28% for open rates.
But once again, this might not be the case for your audience.
Plus the CTRs could increase because there are more eyes to look at these specific emails.
I suggest making your communication more versatile, try both approaches, and A/B test individual messages to find your winning strategy.
And once you've done that, don't stop evaluating your results. Make sure you're always optimizing your email marketing campaigns.
Here, we’re looking at other elements that may play a role in how you run your email marketing campaigns and the average metrics you could expect.
Do email marketers with bigger lists get better results? Here, we're looking at the relationship between the average email marketing results observed by our customers and their list sizes.
|List size||Open rate||Click-through rate||Click-to-open rate||Unsubscribe rate||Spam rate|
|1,000 - 2,499||28.26%||4.78%||16.90%||0.31%||0.02%|
|2,500 - 4,999||23.12%||3.63%||15.68%||0.22%||0.02%|
|5,000 - 9,999||18.75%||2.78%||14.80%||0.16%||0.01%|
|10,000 - 24,999||16.80%||2.42%||14.39%||0.12%||0.01%|
|25,000 - 49,999||15.50%||1.87%||12.04%||0.10%||0.01%|
|50,000 - 99,999||14.50%||2.28%||15.73%||0.10%||0.01%|
Email lists: when quality beats quantity!
When it comes to email lists, email marketers have long preached the importance of quality over quantity. Is this still true? Without knowing the overall conversion rates, it's hard to say for sure.
What we can see clearly, though, is that marketers with smaller lists are better at engaging their audiences, and their messages tend to get higher average open and click-through rates.
In fact, this trend's been visible since we started publishing this report.
The lesson? When you're growing your lists, don't lose touch with your customers! Build relationships just like you would if you were running a corner store. Personalize your subscriber experience and make sure the conversation keeps delivering value to them. Your audience will appreciate it and pay you back with interest.
What percentage of emails are opened on mobile? How is it different for desktop and web-based email clients? Let's take a look.
|Type||% of message opens||% of message clicks|
|Desktop (e.g. Apple Mail)||45.69%||24.62%|
|Web-based (e.g. Gmail; Note: this could be either desktop or mobile)||20.00%||28.37%|
Design for all devices
The data clearly shows people use email on all devices, with a strong trend towards mobile.
That’s great news for email marketers: your customers interact with your emails whenever and wherever they feel like.
So, to be successful, you need to apply responsive design principles that make your emails look great on any device – and work well with all email clients.
That’s why you should start designing your templates with a CTA in mind, cut out the clutter, go finger-friendly, test your results, and constantly optimize for conversion.
And don’t forget the actual sale doesn’t take place in the email (though Gmail seems to be going in this direction).
So make sure that even after subscribers click-through to your site and go to the checkout, their experience is effortless. On any device.
In this table, you'll find the average email address length.
Short, long, and everything in between
Your lead capture forms play a big part in your list growth.
When designing and optimizing forms and landing pages, keep it in mind people can have long email addresses. So make sure your forms are big enough to fit them.
And pay special attention to the mobile experience, since it typically doesn’t favor longer addresses.
Remember you can also ask for business emails, since they’re often shorter than personal ones.