The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing Benchmarks

The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing Benchmarks

Are you a marketer for an advertising, marketing, design, or creative agency?

If so, email marketing is probably your go-to digital channel when it comes to effectively engaging with your target audience.

Email is, after all, one of the most effective marketing tools available for brands, for a variety of reasons:

  1. Email is affordable yet offers significant returns.
  2. It has nearly 5 billion users (as of 2020).
  3. A majority of users prefer to use email when communicating with businesses.

You likely measure the effectiveness of your email outreach by monitoring crucial data using your email platform’s analytics dashboard.

You take a look at metrics like open rate, click-through rate, bounce rate, etc.

Analytics is integral to any email marketing strategy, that’s for sure.

Without it, there would be no way for you to accurately measure email engagement, conversion, and ROI.

The great thing is that you can make your email marketing analytics even better.

This is where email marketing benchmarks come in.

By incorporating data from email marketing benchmarks into your analytics, you get a much more holistic view of your email performance and how it compares to the entire landscape of email marketing.

Throughout this post, we’ll cover where you can access email marketing benchmarks and how to use them to your advantage.

Email Marketing Benchmarks by Campaign Monitor

Email Marketing Results

Campaign Monitor is a global tech company and an email marketing service provider.

Brands that use the company’s email marketing software come from a wide range of industries such as technology, media, retail, and even nonprofit.

Campaign Monitor recently released its very own email marketing benchmarks report.

To get actual data, Campaign Monitor analyzed more than 30 billion emails that were sent using their software in 2018.

The result is a comprehensive report that is useful to email marketers of all industries, from agriculture to travel and hospitality.

Here are some of the most important tidbits of information from the report.

  • Top 10 industries based on open rate
    • Nonprofit – 20.39%
    • Agriculture/Forestry/Fishing/Hunting – 20.13%
    • Government – 19.79%
    • Healthcare Services – 19.12%
    • Other – 18.94%
    • Education – 18.90%
    • Real Estate/Design and Construction Activities – 18.88%
    • Construction/Contracting/Manufacturing – 18.74%
    • Advertising and Marketing Agencies – 18.65%
    • Logistics and Wholesale – 18.50%
  • Top 10 industries based on click-to-open rate
    • Agriculture/Forestry/Fishing/Hunting – 18.03%
    • Media/Entertainment/Publishing – 17.15%
    • Real Estate/Design and Construction Activities – 16.47%
    • Unknown – 15.52%
    • Government – 15.11%
    • IT/Tech/Software Services – 15.02%
    • Education – 14.94%
    • Logistics and Wholesale – 14.84%
    • Retail – 14.82%
    • Financial Services – 14.79%
  • Top 10 industries based on click-through rate
    • Agriculture/Forestry/Fishing/Hunting – 3.66%
    • Real Estate/Design and Construction Activities – 3.06%
    • Government – 3.04%
    • Media/Entertainment/Publishing – 3.02%
    • Education – 2.82%
    • Unknown – 2.81%
    • Construction/Contracting/Manufacturing – 2.80%
    • Engineering/Architecture and Design – 2.79%
    • Logistics and Wholesale – 2.78%
    • Financial Services, Healthcare Services – 2.72%
  • Top 10 industries with lowest bounce rates
    • Food and Beverage – 0.64%
    • Consumer Packaged Goods – 0.67%
    • Retail – 0.69%
    • Media/Entertainment/Publishing – 0.86%
    • Travel/Hospitality/Leisure – 0.93%
    • Government – 1.08%
    • Real Estate/Design and Construction Activities – 1.08%
    • Nonprofit – 1.09%
    • Professional Services – 1.10%
    • IT/Tech/Software Services – 1.17%
  • Averages across all industries
    • Average open rate – 17.92%
    • Average click-to-open rate – 14.10%
    • Average click-through rate – 2.69
    • Average unsubscribe rate – 0.17%
    • Average bounce rate – 1.06%
  • Best days for sending emails
    • Highest open rate – Thursday
    • Highest click-to-open rate – Saturday
    • Highest click-through rate – Tuesday
    • Lowest bounce rate – Monday
    • Lowest unsubscribe rate – Sunday or Monday
  • Worst days for sending emails
    • Lowest open rate – Sunday
    • Lowest click-to-open rate – Monday
    • Lowest click-through rate – Sunday
    • Highest bounce rate – Friday
    • Highest unsubscribe rate – Wednesday

How to use these email marketing benchmarks to your advantage

Email Marketing Strategies

With these various data points, you can determine the level of success that your email marketing strategies are yielding.

For example, the benchmark data indicates that the average open rate for all industries is 17.92%.

Meanwhile, the average open rate for the advertising and marketing industries is slightly higher at 18.65%.

If your email open rates are higher than these benchmarks, then you already know that your performance, at least in terms of opens, is healthy.

On the other hand, open rates lower than your industry’s average means that there are aspects of your email marketing you need to improve on.

How to boost your email marketing performance

Email Marketing Guide

Once you identify the problem areas in your email marketing strategy, it will be easier for you to make the necessary changes.

Boost your email marketing performance, metric by metric, by taking note of these pointers.

Open rate

Open rate is the metric that measures the number of recipients (relative to the total) who opened your email message.

More often than not, a low open rate means that your subject lines aren’t enticing enough for your subscribers to open the email.

Here are a few ways to remedy that.

  • Personalise – Include the subscriber’s first name in your subject line. It’s a simple but proven personalisation tactic. In fact, a report suggests that it can help you generate six times higher transaction rates.
  • Content – Encourage subscribers to open your emails by hooking them with your subject line. Use incentivizing language like per cent off selected, exclusive offer, or last chance.
  • Test – Test two different offer variations. See whether your subscribers prefer discounts over complimentary items.


Click-through rate (CTR) is the metric that measures the number of subscribers who click on a link within your email.

It’s calculated using the total number of emails you sent. To increase your CTR, keep these tips in mind.

  • Segment – Be more specific with your segmentation by leveraging behaviour-based data such as what type of emails subscribers open or which calls-to-action (CTAs) they clicked.
  • CTAs – Write clear CTA copy so that subscribers know exactly what they’ll get when they click. You should also design your CTAs in such a way that they stand out from the rest of the elements in your email.
  • Incentivise – Your objective is to get your subscribers to click on whatever link is included in your email, so you need to convince them to do so using a strong incentive.
  • Test – Test different CTAs and use the one that gets more clicks from your subscribers.

Click-to-open rate

Click-to-open rate is the percentage of email openers who also clicked on the link in the email.

In contrast to CTR, the click-to-open rate is calculated using only the number of subscribers who opened a specific email campaign.

Here’s how you get higher click-to-open rates.

  • Mobile – Make sure your emails display on all devices, whether desktop or mobile. You can easily take care of this by using mobile-responsive email templates that are pre-designed to render on a wide range of devices.
  • Optimise – The design and copy of your email should be easy to read even on mobile devices. In this regard, a one-column email works best.
  • Automate – Automate your emails to ensure that all targeted emails are sent out at just the right time.
  • Data – Collect information from your subscribers that will help you in your segmentation and personalisation efforts. You try asking your subscribers to complete an email survey in order to get this type of information.

Bounce rate

Bounce rate determines the percentage of emails that were not delivered to their intended recipients.

There are two types of bounces: 1) soft bounces and 2) hard bounces.

A soft bounce is when you send an email to a subscriber and it doesn’t get delivered because their inbox just happens to be at maximum capacity.

Since it’s only temporary, it’s not a particularly serious issue.

A hard bounce, on the other hand, is when you send an email to a subscriber and it doesn’t get delivered because the email address was invalid.

In other words, your email will never be sent, which makes it a permanent bounce.

Out of the two bounces, you only need to concern yourself with hard bounces.

This is because they can severely impact your sender reputation.

In some cases, you might even get blocked by an ISP.

You can prevent hard bounces by:

  • Always using the double opt-in (confirmed opt-in) method of email confirmation
  • Immediately deleting invalid email addresses from your list
  • Never purchasing lists from third parties
  • Using free webmail addresses
  • Not sending content that looks like spam


Small Business Marketing Email

Email benchmark data, especially when it’s as comprehensive as the data provided by Campaign Monitor, will come in handy if you are looking to improve your agency’s email marketing strategy.

When you incorporate email benchmark data with your own email data, you’re able to see the bigger email marketing picture.

Thus, you get a clearer idea of what you need to do for your agency to perform better in terms of email marketing.

That being said, the information presented in this post is actually just the tip of the iceberg.

If you want to see more data and learn more tips on email marketing improvement, then go ahead and check out Campaign Monitor’s Ultimate Email Marketing Benchmarks for 2019.

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