The Ultimate Email Marketing Benchmarks for 2020: By Industry and Day

Metrics such as open, clickthrough and bounce rates are monumentally important parts of any email marketing program. That’s why our friends at Campaign Monitor compiled The Ultimate Email Marketing Benchmarks for 2020: By Industry & Day. Read on to see their findings in full:

Email marketing benchmarks provide you with valuable information about the health of your email sends. They allow you to see how your campaigns compare to industry standards and find opportunities to improve your strategy and, ultimately, get better results. 

The team at Campaign Monitor analyzed more than 30 billion customer emails sent across 171 countries throughout 2019. Check out the email marketing benchmarks and explore the data below to discover how your emails perform compared to others in your industry based on key metrics like open rate, click-to-open rate, unsubscribes and more.

Email Marketing Benchmarks By Industry and Data, Based on Real Campaign Data

Average Email Benchmarks for All Industries

  • Average open rate: 17.8%
  • Average clickthrough rate: 2.6%
  • Average click-to-open rate: 14.3%
  • Average unsubscribe rate: 0.1%
  • Average bounce rate: 0.7%

Best Days for Email Marketing

  • Highest email open rates: Tuesday (18.3%)
  • Lowest unsubscribe rates: All but Tuesday (0.1%)
  • Highest clickthrough rates: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (2.6%)
  • Highest click-to-open rates: Thursday and Friday (14.4%)
  • Lowest bounce rates: Wednesday (0.6%)

Worst Days for Email Marketing

  • Lowest email open rates: Saturday (17.5%)
  • Highest unsubscribe rates: Tuesday (0.2%)
  • Lowest clickthrough rates: Wednesday and Saturday (2.5%) 
  • Lowest click-to-open rates: Sunday (14.2%)
  • Highest bounce rates: Friday and Saturday (0.8%)

Top Industries by Open Rate

  • Government (30.5%)
  • Nonprofit (25.2%)
  • Education: 23.4%

Top Industries by Clickthrough Rate

  • Government (4.1%)
  • Real Estate, Design and Construction Activities (3.6%)
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting (3.5%)

Industries by Click-to-Open Rate

  • Real Estate, Design and Construction Activities (17.7%)
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting (17.1%)
  • Media, Entertainment, & Publishing (16.9%)

Understanding Email Marketing Metrics and How to Improve Them

Email Open Rate

Email open rate is the percentage of the total number of subscribers who opened an email campaign. These rates can vary depending on the subject line and the relevancy of the subject matter for subscribers, but compiling these email marketing benchmarks, the Campaign Monitor team found the average to be 17.80%.

How to improve your email open rate:

Email Clickthrough Rate

The email clickthrough rate is the number of subscribers who click on a link or image in your email out of all the total emails you’ve sent, regardless of whether or not the subscriber opened the campaign. Your clickthrough rate will be smaller than your click-to-open rate since it’s calculated using the larger number of total emails (versus just those who have opened).

Your clickthrough rate offers insight into how many of your total subscribers are visiting your website and ultimately converting from email. Comparing your open rates, click-to-open rates, and your clickthrough rates can reveal where your email marketing campaign is weakest. Compiling these email marketing benchmarks, the Campaign Monitor team found the average to be 2.6%.

How to improve your clickthrough rate:

  • Create strong segments so you always send the most relevant content
  • Maintain your brand voice throughout your messaging
  • Improve your calls-to-action through clear copy and better design
  • Offer strong incentives to capture subscribers’ attention
  • Ensure your subject line accurately reflects the content of your emails
  • A/B test what works

Email Click-to-Open Rate

The email click-to-open rate is the percentage of email viewers (those that open an email) who click on a link or image within an email. The email click-to-open rate may be considered a measure of the immediate response rate of an email.

It’s often a key metric used to measure the success—or lack of success—of a specific email campaign. Compiling these email marketing benchmarks, the Campaign Monitor team found the average to be 14.30%.

How to improve your email click-to-open rate:

  • Make sure your email renders well across devices
  • Collect the right data to segment and personalize
  • Optimize your email design and copy
  • Include an irresistible, easy-to-click call to action
  • A/B test each email element individually
  • Automate your emails to scale what works

Unsubscribe Rate

Unsubscribe is the action a user takes to opt out of getting any more emails. The percentage of people who unsubscribe is often displayed as a reporting number on each email campaign you send.

This is an important number to study on every campaign to see if certain topics, subject lines, or templates drive up your unsubscribe number, as this is an indicator of an unhappy or disinterested audience. Compiling these email marketing benchmarks, the Campaign Monitor team found the average to be 0.1%.

How to improve your unsubscribe rate:

  • Grow a healthy list from the start
  • Use automation to build long-term brand engagement
  • Segment your audience to send more relevant emails
  • Re-engage your audience to maintain list hygiene
  • Remember that some list churn is normal and healthy

Email Bounce Rate

A bounced email is an email that couldn’t be delivered. Specifically, it’s an explanation of delivery failure related to server or spam issues, whether these issues are permanent or temporary.

Typically, bounce rate is a metric expressed as a percentage of subscribers who didn’t receive your message. There are two types of bounces: hard and soft. Compiling these email marketing benchmarks, the Campaign Monitor team found the average to be 0.7%.

How to improve your email bounce rate:

  • Don’t send to stale lists
  • Never use purchased lists
  • Remove invalid email addresses
  • Use confirmed opt-in
  • Never use free webmail addresses
  • Avoid spammy content
  • Suppress previous bounces

Email Bounce Rate

A bounced email is an email that couldn’t be delivered. Specifically, it’s an explanation of delivery failure related to server or spam issues, whether these issues are permanent or temporary.

Typically, bounce rate is a metric expressed as a percentage of subscribers who didn’t receive your message. There are two types of bounces: hard and soft. Compiling these email marketing benchmarks, the Campaign Monitor team found the average to be 0.7%.

How to improve your email bounce rate:

  • Don’t send to stale lists
  • Never use purchased lists
  • Remove invalid email addresses
  • Use confirmed opt-in
  • Never use free webmail addresses
  • Avoid spammy content
  • Suppress previous bounces

Email Deliverability

Email deliverability is the ability to deliver emails to subscribers’ inboxes. It’s what some marketers use to gauge the likelihood of their email campaigns reaching their subscribers’ inboxes related to actual delivery.

Issues with ISPs, throttling, bounces, spam issues, and bulking hurt your deliverability and thus reduce the number of your emails that will land in your subscribers’ inboxes.

That’s why your deliverability will impact everything from open rate to clicks to spam reports, so prioritizing this will have a huge impact on your email marketing success.

How to improve your email deliverability:

  • Send using custom authentication
  • Using double rather than single opt-in
  • Make it really easy to unsubscribe
  • Avoid using URL shorteners
  • Don’t send from a free domain email address
  • Don’t send emails with too many images

How to Use Benchmarks to Improve Your Email Marketing

Benchmarks are useful to see how your own email program compares to industry standards. They can help establish a baseline for figuring out how and where you can improve. But we also recommend using your own past results as the benchmark. It’s one of the easiest ways to determine what success looks like for your brand.

Take a look at your average open rates over time. Are they improving even as your list continues to grow, or are they declining as your list becomes fatigued?

How much revenue or site traffic do you typically drive with each email? Those trends often signal exactly what you need to know to optimize your strategy.

You’ll also want to account for all the variables involved. For instance, a broadcast send to your entire audience probably won’t do as well as one to a small segment of engaged subscribers.

Finally, your best bet for optimizing each area of your email strategy is testing, so test, test, and test again! It’s the very best way to get to know your audience and get your best results yet.

This data originally appeared on the Campaign Monitor blog.

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