Hot news! We’ve updated our report with Q3 2019 – Q2 2020 data.
We want to live in a world where emails are relationship builders, not distractions.
The best way to achieve this is by helping marketers design more meaningful campaigns backed by data and insights.
Turns out, as an email marketing software provider, we have tons of data.
And that’s why we created the Email Marketing Benchmarks report.
Can’t find what you need? Just send us an email! We love to know what’s important to our fellow marketers.
We analyzed 5.5 billion messages out of almost 30 billion emails GetResponse customers sent within the period of July 2019 - June 2020.
For the best insights, we only looked at active senders with at least 1,000 contacts.
We also used the total values for average email opens, clicks, unsubscribes, and spam (abuse) complaints.
That means we count every action your subscriber makes – whether they reopen your messages or click all of your links.
To learn about how to calculate these and other important metrics, check out our post on email marketing KPIs.
What could be considered a good open rate (OR) is rather individual, and the factors that influence it are often out of your control. The industry you’re in, your target audience, and the type of campaign you’re running all play a part in how high your open rate will be.
Out of all the industries we analyzed, Internet Marketing had the lowest average open rate of 14.97%. At the same time Nonprofits, the industry with the highest result, observed an average open rate of 30.85%.
For better email results, visit our email marketing best practices guide.
Much like with open rates, what you should consider a good click-through rate is rather individual.
The elements such as the industry you’re in, your target audience, and most importantly — the type of campaign you’re analyzing — all affect how high your click-through rate will be.
Of all the industries we looked at, Travel had the lowest average click-through rate of 1.61%. On the other hand, Publishing, which was the top performer, had the highest average CTR of 4.29%.
Follow this link if you’d like to learn how to increase your email click-through rates.
Email click-through rate (CTR) tells you the number of people who clicked on any of the links inside of your email.
Meanwhile, the click-to-open rate (CTOR) compares the number of people that opened your message with those who clicked on any of the links.
CTOR is an important metric that can help you better understand how relevant and engaging your emails are.
To calculate CTOR, you need to divide your click-through rate by the open rate and multiply it by 100%.
Conversion rate focuses on the results — how many times or how many of your recipients have taken a given action.
For example, how many times they downloaded your ebook, how many of them registered for a webinar, or visited your product page.
This metric can be very useful, especially when you assign a monetary value to your conversions. Then it’s very easy for you to decide whether a particular campaign was successful and needs repeating, or if you should choose a different approach.
As everyone can have their own definition of conversion, it’s impossible to say what a good email conversion rate is, and we suggest that you look at the next best thing, such as the average click-through rate.
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|
Average click-throughs are down. What now?
The latest data shows us that there has been a drop in the global average email engagement rates. While the average open rates have only slightly decreased (from 22.15% to 22.02%) the drop in the average click-through rates is more noticeable (from 3.43% to 2.13%). Interestingly, Oceania and Africa saw an increase in the average opens reported, but the click-throughs followed the global pattern.
What could be the reason for these drops? Most likely, it’s about how engaging our marketing communication has become. Especially in these challenging times, we need to make sure that our messaging hits the right tone, does not seem opportunistic, and offers tons of value. One way to achieve this is by doubling-down on personalization & marketing automation. By tailoring our communication to the customers’ needs, we can get them more involved and engaged with our brands.
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? Not a bad thing, after all.
The data shines a new light on which the top-performing countries are.
Overall, the GDPR-zone is still strong and observed the highest email engagement rates. However, some countries, Germany in particular, saw a much stronger drop in average opens.
While opens are one metric to look at, marketers should primarily focus on what communication drives their clicks and conversions. After all, these metrics are the closest to the business bottom line. And while Germany saw a drop in the opens metrics, it remained one of the top countries in terms of the average click-through rates.
And speaking of CTR, two countries, in particular, have a lot to improve on. Vietnam observed an average CTR of 0.77% and India saw a 1.29%. Compare that to the Philippines (6.27%), Canada (5.92%), and Belgium (5.45%), which observed the highest click-throughs.
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||25.97%||3.17%||12.22%||0.16%||0.01%|
|Health & Beauty||23.58%||2.72%||11.52%||0.14%||0.01%|
|Restaurants & Food||30.09%||2.99%||9.94%||0.23%||0.02%|
|Sports & Activities||25.15%||3.32%||13.22%||0.16%||0.01%|
|Technology & High Tech||19.87%||2.51%||12.63%||0.16%||0.01%|
Challenging times but the top performers still shine.
Our report goes over a relatively long time frame, during which a lot has changed.
Some industries have felt the lockdown and travel ban more than others. Despite that, some of them managed to continue to drive strong results and engage their audience effectively.
Among the top three performing industries were Nonprofits, Restaurants & Food, and Real Estate. All of them had a challenging time, but the latter two probably more so.
At the same time, Internet Marketing, which already placed at the bottom, has seen a larger drop in average email open rates and click-throughs observed.
Overall, marketers should be cautious about comparing their results outside of their industry.
While low average engagement rates may appear to be the result of the types of campaigns marketers in these industries run, it may as well be the case that these topics are far more competitive – and customers are far more skeptical than anywhere else.
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||3.05%|
|Health & Beauty||3.09%|
|Restaurants & Food||2.48%|
|Sports & Activities||6.67%|
|Technology & High Tech||1.29%|
Landing page conversions have dipped
We’re seeing a rather significant drop in the average landing page conversion rates – from 5.86% to 3.62%.
While the main reason for this may be that the sample size we analyzed was bigger, it’s important to keep in mind all the factors that could also affect conversions.
- How valuable your offer is
- How well you’re communicating this value with visuals and copy
- Your landing page design and UX
- The speed with which your landing page loads
- The type of audience you’re driving to the landing page
- What tactics you’re using to drive traffic to the landing page
The same landing page could be seeing a 2% conversion rate when used with a completely new and cold audience and a 25% CR when promoted to your existing audience.
Keep this in mind when analyzing your campaigns, so that you’re always comparing apples to apples.
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||10.84%||89.16%|
|Health & Beauty||8.61%||91.39%|
|Restaurants & Food||6.06%||93.94%|
|Sports & Activities||9.97%||90.03%|
|Technology & High Tech||5.69%||94.31%|
Double opt-in: great practice, but costly too.
It’s great to see that some industries, like Agencies and Financial Services, have started using double opt-in more often. It’s a great practice that ensures your list is top-quality & shows your subscribers that you care about their consent.
Having said this, it’s a bit disappointing to see that Nonprofits and Publishing, which have always been at the top in our reports, have started using single opt-in more.
In general, we can see that marketers are still hesitating and not confirming their subscriptions using this mechanism, but there may be many reasons behind this.
The main one, in my opinion, is that as marketers we’re mostly focused on attracting the largest possible audience at the lowest possible cost. When reporting to our managers, we want to show a low Cost Per Lead (CPL) & losing 20% or however many of your potential subscribers won’t click the confirmation button is often too much.
And it’s a shame, really. Because that “20%” cost could easily be outweighed by an increase in deliverability, higher-quality customer data, and a more engaged audience. So think twice before you choose to only pay attention to low CPL.
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.
What’s the best time to send emails?
This is a question we hear quite often, but unfortunately the answer’s not all that simple.
On top of extracting the above data, we also recently ran a big study that shed more light on the best time and day to send emails. What made it special is that it compared the global results with those observed for key regions like US & Canada, LATAM, DACH, CEE, and Asia-Pacific.
And what did we see in these two studies?
First of all, the best-performing hours are usually somewhere in the early morning. The global results show that this can be as early as 3-4 am.
Secondly, the email engagement is usually quite stable throughout the day and goes in-line with the typical business hours.
Keep in mind, however, that the sample size for the early hours was relatively small, which could have affected the data accuracy.
That said, the best way to go about this is to use email send-time optimization algorithms like GetResponse Perfect Timing or Time-Travel to send your messages at the right time. And if that’s not possible, test what works best for your audience and stick to it!
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?
This is another common question we hear quite often. And again, one we analyzed in our best time & day to send emails report.
So what did we see? Once again, there’s little difference in terms of engagement between individual weekdays. While the average open and click-through rates are the highest on Friday, they aren’t that far different from what we saw on other days. As per usual, the average metrics drop on weekends, but that’s something we’ve all become used to already.
What does this mean? My opinion is that since there’s little difference between individual week days, stick to the one that works best for your business and your audience.
While weekends typically see lower results, it also means that the competition is lower on these days. While I’m not recommending that you should send your email campaigns on Sunday, it may be an opportunity worth exploring.
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 email drip campaigns 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 98.39% open rate and a 37.26% 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 %|
Sending time-sensitive offers? Pay attention.
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 22% of all email campaigns are opened in the very first hour after sending. With each hour, your chances of getting more opens decreases.
After six 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 home run 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.
Make your emails more engaging with video content
As per usual, video proves to be an engaging content format worth including in your emails.
Just by featuring it in your communication, you’re off to a good start and can count on much higher click-through rates & deliverability rate.
The thing is that sending video in emails can still be problematic. It’s not fully supported by all email mailbox providers, but there are workarounds on how you can do it effectively.
To learn more about this, check out our guide on how to send a video through email.
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.
How long should your subject lines be?
Once again we can see that answering this question is not easy.
Most email marketers would say that keeping your subject lines short is the best approach. Which is why it makes sense that more than 50% of email subject lines we analyzed contained fewer than 50 characters.
But did these subject lines outperform those that had more characters? Quite the opposite!
We can see that both the open rates & click-through rates increase as the number of characters goes up. And the best performing subject lines are the ones that have between 241 and 250 characters.
The problem is with the sample size. Less than 10% of email subject lines have more than 100 characters, which has an impact on how accurate this data is.
Having said this, I wouldn’t be too preoccupied with the number of characters you use in your subject lines.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to giving your subscriber an idea of what’s inside of your email. 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.
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.
And if your gut feeling isn’t strong, be sure to A/B test your subject lines and automatically pick the best performing ones.
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||Open rate||Click-through rate||Click-to-open rate||% of messages|
Emoji in email subject lines – still not very popular
We’re seeing that emojis still are not too popular among email marketers.
Only 3.42% of all emails sent by our customers contained emojis in email subject lines. Their average open rate was 20.37% and click-through rate reached 2.35%.
That’s slightly more than what we’re seeing for emails that didn’t contain emojis, but not high enough to recommend it as a must-have sort of tactic.
That said, if it suits your target audience then by all means test whether adding them could help you improve your email open rates. After all, the more eyes that will see your emails, the better.
Here we’ve tried to answer the question whether you should use personalization in the email subject lines.
|Personalized?||Open rate||Click-through rate||Click-to-open rate||% of messages|
Go beyond personalizing your subject lines
We can see the same trend we observed in our last report.
Personalization is as popular as ever – but the difference between personalized and non-personalized subject lines is only about 1 percentage point.
This still means that by personalizing your subject lines you’ve got a good chance of increasing your opens by 5% (from 19.57% to 20.66%), but it’s not enough to say “Hey, Bob” to win your subscribers’ hearts. Your message must also be interesting and relevant.
For that, you need to take a long-term view & use multiple tactics. Automation, personalization, segmentation, engaging content formats – these are just some ideas worth including in your email marketing strategy.
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||Open rate||Click-through rate||Click-to-open rate||Unsubscribe rate||Spam rate|
No dirty tricks allowed
Email marketing is a long-term play. And a rather intimate one, too.
If you want to generate high ROI, you need to build strong relationships with your audience. That means you need to deliver them value and keep your promises.
Marketers often talk about how using a specific word in your subject lines can dramatically increase your open rates. Our data doesn’t confirm this.
Sure, there may be words that work great and will boost your results, but it’s not that simple. You can’t just throw in words like “sale” or “free” and expect people to run toward your offer.
Pay attention to the language your audience uses. Come up with a few alternative versions and A/B test them. And don’t count on cheap tricks.
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?||Open rate||Click-through rate||Click-to-open rate||% of messages|
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 14% do (3 percentage points more than last time we analyzed this). And that’s a shame, given emails with a preheader get much higher average open rates – 22.28% vs. 19.33%. They also have a far greater impact than personalized subject lines.
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?||Open rate||Click-through rate||Click-to-open rate||% of messages|
Personalize your emails, just don’t stop there
Once again we can see that personalized emails outperform the generic ones. However, as we expanded our research, we can see that the difference isn’t as big anymore.
In terms of click-through rates, the difference is only 0.15 percentage points or 6% (between 2.48% and 2.33%). It’s noticeable, but not groundbreaking.
The reason for this may be that personalizing emails takes time and it’s often difficult to do at a large scale. Plus marketers don’t always have enough data to make a relevant use of personalization that goes beyond a simple salutation (for example, “Hey, Bob!”).
So once again, make sure that you tailor your content and make your messages as relevant to your audience as possible. And if you want to step up your email campaigns, automate more and more of your email communication.
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||Click-to-open rate||Unsubscribe rate||Spam rate|
Welcome emails: your secret conversion weapon
If you only send one thing, make it a welcome email.
Why? Because our latest data shows the average open rate is over 86%! And the average click-through rate is around 25%. That means more than eight out of 10 people will open your welcome email. And one in four will click through to your site. That’s four times as many opens and 10 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?||Open rate||Click-through rate||Click-to-open 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 – 2.68% vs. 1.56% in the case of CTR and 21.44% vs. 15.02% 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’ve looked at the engagement metrics generated by automated emails sent when promoting a webinar.
|Type of communication||Open rate||Click-through rate||Click-to-open rate|
|Webinar reminder - sent at start time||108.01%||39.26%||36.35%|
|Webinar reminder - sent 5 minutes before the webinar||104.91%||41.10%||39.18%|
|Webinar reminder - sent 30 minutes before the webinar||115.46%||52.86%||45.79%|
|Webinar reminder - sent 1 hour before the webinar||138.41%||64.41%||46.54%|
|Webinar reminder - sent 1 day before the webinar||133.00%||29.89%||22.47%|
Webinar reminders: Not just an idea, a must-have!
If you’re building your business using webinars, then you can’t ignore the power of simple email reminders.
While you may feel reluctant to send them – after all nobody wants to flood their subscribers’ inbox – the engagement rates they generate make a convincing case to do so.
Based on the open and click-through rates alone, you can tell that they’re helpful and your audience wants to receive them. Add to it a calendar invite and your attendance rate will grow.
As for timing your reminders, it seems that sending them one hour before the webinar starts will get you the best results.
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||32.11%||4.23%||13.16%||0.20%||0.01%|
|2,500 - 4,999||26.00%||3.39%||13.03%||0.16%||0.01%|
|5,000 - 9,999||22.31%||2.80%||12.57%||0.14%||0.01%|
|10,000 - 24,999||20.34%||2.48%||12.17%||0.12%||0.01%|
|25,000 - 49,999||17.63%||2.17%||12.29%||0.10%||0.01%|
|50,000 - 99,999||16.33%||1.91%||11.70%||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 clearly find, 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 email list, 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 all message opens||% of all message clicks|
|Desktop and webmail||75.55%||54.90%|
Make your emails mobile-friendly
The data clearly shows people use email on all devices, with a strong trend toward mobile in terms of clicks.
That’s great news for email marketers: your customers interact with your emails whenever and wherever they feel like.
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.
Time to adjust your email signup forms
Ever since we started running this report, we haven’t seen any major changes in this particular chart. After all, the average length of an email address isn’t something that changes so dynamically, right?
This may be true, but this time we’re seeing at least a partial shift. Almost half (47.35%) of the email addresses we analyzed had 20-24 characters. And in the past, this was true only for 20.07%.
Overall the change isn’t spectacular, because the bulk of email addresses still stays within the 15-to-29 character length (93.76%). And in our previous report, this was also true for 93.73% of email addresses.
That said, be sure to check whether your email signup forms look and work well with such long email addresses. Not being able to see your address fully when you’re filling out a form can have a negative effect on the conversion rates. Not to mention the fact that the experience can lead to typos and frustration – especially when filling out the forms on mobile devices.
In this section, we’re looking at the average landing page conversion rates generated by pages that contain particular elements or features.
|Promotes a webinar||8.71%|
|Includes a video||1.72%|
|Includes a link to social media||1.27%|
|Form has two fields||3.07%|
|Form has three fields||1.22%|
|Form has 4+ fields||1.16%|
Focus on value and simplicity
Lead generation through landing pages is about exchanging value.
Your audience gives you their contact details with the hope that whatever you’re offering is going to be worth their time and effort.
If you’re clearly offering them something of value (like a webinar), they’ll happily give you their email address. But if you’re asking for too much (which could be the case if you have three or more than four fields in your forms), they’ll think twice whether it’s a fair exchange.
That said, pay attention to what information is critical to you and what is just nice-to-have. Perhaps you can collect some of the information at a later moment through progressive profiling? And if you absolutely need to have that information right away, think about whether your offer is good enough to trade the email address for.