Have you ever wondered how your email results compare to those in your industry? Or perhaps, what kind of open rates should you expect? Is your click rate above or below the industry average?
Email deliverability is hard and there isn't always a good way to know how you are doing or how to improve. This benchmark data is really valuable because it gives you a reference for how well you're doing — and some indication of how to improve.
Email Marketing Benchmarks
Email marketing benchmarks provide you with useful information about the health of your email sends. Benchmarks allow you to see how your specific campaigns compare to the standards of your individual industry (Surprise! Each industry has different benchmarks). In turn, you can discover opportunities to improve your email strategy and work on achieving even better results.
Below, we’ll look at email benchmarks for various industries and provide resources for how you can improve each rate. We analyzed the email metrics of 19,033 customers to calculate the open, click-through, hard bounce, and unsubscribe rates of each industry from November 2018 - November 2019.
This data was pulled from individual accounts, and only those sending batch emails campaign. This data only includes campaigns with over 1000 sends. Lastly, the data was collected on a month-to-month basis, and then averaged on a per account basis. The industry and company size were self-reported during signup.
*Other: A catch-all used during sign-up if the customer didn’t fit into one of the listed categories.
What Is a Good Open Rate for Email?
A good email open rate meets the average, which is 20.94%. The results for your organization, however, will be dependent on the health of your list, the quality of your subject line, and the average benchmark for your industry. For example, the Education industry's average is 25% while the Electronics industry is only 19%.
Average Email Open Rates by Industry
What Open Rate Is: The percentage of email recipients who open a given email.
|Computer & Electronics||19%|
|Software and Internet||20%|
|Media and Entertainment||21%|
|Health, Pharmaceuticals, and Biotech||21%|
|Real Estate and Construction||26%|
We found that the average open rate across all industries is 20.94%. You can get value out of open rate as a metric if you use it as a comparative metric. For instance, if you compare the open rates of this week's email send to last week's email send (both to the same lists) it might give you some insight since the variables are somewhat controlled.
We found that the Real Estate industry and Education industry have the highest open rates. Interestingly enough, the computer/electronics industry has the lowest open rate.
The best way to improve your open rate is by following subject line best practices.
What is the average email open rate for electronics companies?
From our sample, the average open rate for the computers and electronics category is 19%. This category may include companies in any of the following: computer games, computer hardware, consumer electronics, electrical or electronic manufacturing, nanotechnology, semiconductors, or technology.
What is the average email open rate in the business industry?
The average open rate for the business category is 20%. This may include business services such as marketing, writing and editing, consulting, and more.
What is the average email open rate for computer software companies?
From the sample, the average open rate for the computer software category is 20%.
What is the average email open rate for media companies?
The average open rate for the media category is 21%. This category includes businesses involving music, online media, or publishing.
What is the average email open rate for internet and telecom companies?
The average open rate for the internet and telecom category is 21%. This category includes broadcast media, internet, telecommunications, and wireless.
What is the average email open rate for healthcare companies?
The average open rate for the healthcare category is 21%. Companies in this category include alternative medicine, hospital and health care, individual and family services, medical devices, medical practice, mental health care, or veterinary.
What is the average email open rate for retail and shopping companies?
The average open rate for the retail category is 23%. Apparel and fashion, arts and crafts, consumer goods, consumer services, food and beverages, luxury goods and jewelry, retail, sporting goods, supermarkets, and wine and spirits are all examples of businesses that make up this category.
What is the average email open rate for finance companies companies?
The average open rate for the finance category is 23%. It includes accounting, banking, capital markets, financial services, investment banking, investment management, venture capital, and private equity.
What is the average email open rate for manufacturing companies?
The average open rate for the manufacturing category is 23%. This category refers to companies in goods production.
What is the average email open rate for education companies?
The average open rate for the education category is 25%. This category includes businesses in the following areas: civic and social organization, e-learning, education management, higher education, libraries, primary or secondary education, or program development.
What is the average email open rate for real estate companies?
The average open rate for the real estate category is 26%.
Average Email Click-Through Rates by Industry
What Click-Through Rate Is: The percentage of people who clicked a link in your email out of the people who opened your email.
|Real Estate and Construction||7.17%|
|Software and Internet||7.18%|
|Computer & Electronics||7.22%|
|Media and Entertainment||7.71%|
|Health, Pharmaceuticals, and Biotech||8.94%|
Click-through rate (CTR) is likely the first answer you'll get when you ask an email marketer what metrics they track. It's what I like to call the "day-to-day" email marketing metric because it lets you easily calculate performance for every individual email you send. It’s also a smart metric to optimize for. From there, you can track how your CTR changes over time. The average CTR across industries is 7.8%.
The manufacturing and health industries led the pack for the highest CTR. The financial industry came in last with the lowest CTR at 6.82%.
Email reputation is built based on maintaining a high level of positive engagement while reducing negative engagements. To improve your email CTR, read our section on CTR best practices.
Average Email Bounce Rate by Industry
What Bounce Rate Is: The percentage of your total emails sent that could not be successfully delivered to the recipient's inbox. Click here to learn how to calculate your bounce rate.
Hard bounces are the result of an invalid, closed, or non-existent email address, and these emails will never be successfully delivered. Having too many hard bounces will make you look like you have really bad email collection practices and make you look like a bad marketer to email inbox providers. Once they don't trust you, they're going to put your email in the spam folder.
|Media and Entertainment||.3%|
|Health, Pharmaceuticals, and Biotech||.6%|
|Real Estate and Construction||.7%|
|Software and Internet||.8%|
|Computer & Electronics||.9%|
We found that the computer/electronic industry had the highest hard bounce rate, yet the media/entertainment industry had the lowest. The average hard bounce rate across each industry is .63%. To learn more about bounce rate and how monitoring bounce rates can help you keep your sender reputation and mailing list healthy, check out this article.
Average Unsubscribe Rate by Industry
What Unsubscribe Rate Is: The percentage of your subscribers who have chosen to no longer receive your messages.
|Media and Entertainment||.3%|
|Health, Pharmaceuticals, and Biotech||.4%|
|Computer & Electronics||.5%|
|Software and Internet||.5%|
|Real Estate and Construction||.6%|
As with open rate, the unsubscribe rate isn’t a reliable picture of the health of your email list. Many subscribers who are tired of receiving email messages from your brand won’t bother to go through the formal unsubscribe process. They’ll just stop opening, reading, and clicking on your email messages.
That's why it's much more effective to measure subscriber engagement by click-through rates and conversion rates. From there, you can keep an eye out on unengaged subscribers so you can consider removing them at some point, like we went over earlier. Check out this blog post to learn how to remove contacts. Checking your monthly unsubscribe rate is helpful for calculating your overall list growth rate, though, so do keep an eye on it every once in a while.
The average unsubscribe rate across all industries is .48%.
We found that the real estate industry has the highest average unsubscribe rate. What’s interesting is that real estate also has the highest open rate. This might be due to the nature of real estate – when the subscriber finds what they are looking for, such as a new home, their interests change to something else.
The media/entertainment industry comes in with the lowest unsubscribe rate, as well as the lowest hard bounce rate.
Is your unsubscribe rate alarming? Check out these 9 ways to dramatically decrease your unsubscribe rate.
Frequently Asked Questions About Email Subject Lines
If you find that you're falling below benchmarks or you simply want to reach that next level in your email marketing, the following questions and answers may help:
How do I improve my email open rates?
The lowest-hanging fruit is personalizing your subject line so it’s unique to the specific prospect. For instance, if your recipient’s LinkedIn profile says they love sailing, your subject line might read “Fellow sailing enthusiast // question about Company X” or “This is naut(ical) your typical sales email.” Corny? Yes. Effective? Also yes.
What are best practices for email subject lines?
- Keep it short and sweet: Fewer words makes it easier to understand.
- Tailor it to the specific person you're emailing: Research, research, research. Include a phrase or piece of information to show that your email is relevant.
- Tell them what to expect if they open your email: If they know what to expect — and it's what they want — they'll be more likely to open the email.
- Don't use all caps or overuse exclamation points: An outreach email is never life or death, so a subject line that says "IMPORTANT!!!" will only hurt your credibility and make you seem desperate.
For 23 simple tips on improving your open rate, read this blog post here.
What are examples of great email subject lines?
Not to beat a dead horse, but personalization is key — so rather than copying and pasting these examples, use them as inspiration.
- “Aja, thought you’d be interested in new data on Google rankings”
- “Cal Poly connection”
- “My favorite part of your recent article”
- “Identified some content opportunities for you”
How do I personalize subject lines?
Personalize your subject lines by using the recipient's name, mentioning their company, mentioning someone they know, or referring to a personal tidbit about them.
Email Click-Through Rate Statistics and Best Practices
It's all well and good to talk about improving email click-through rates — but how is it actually done? Here are some statistics and best practices to help you optimize your email click-through rate and communicate better with your prospects.
- 56% of brands using an emoji in their email subject line had a higher open rate than those that did not. (Forbes, 2017)
- Recipients are 75% more likely to click on emails from segmented campaigns than non-segmented campaigns. (MailChimp, 2017)
- Emails that display incorrectly on mobile may be deleted within three seconds. (Campaign Monitor, 2018)
- Almost every report on email open rates concludes that mobile is responsible for at least 50% of all opens. (Campaign Monitor, 2018)
- 35% of business professionals check email on a mobile device. (Convince & Convert, 2018)
There you have it: a frame of reference for how your emails should be performing based on your industry. The next thing on your to-do list? What you're going to do about it.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published before August 2019 and updated in May 2020 for comprehensiveness.
Originally published May 14, 2020 12:15:00 PM, updated June 10 2021