How Important is Email Open Rate?

Sep 13, 2022

If you are sending marketing emails, are you tracking the open rates for your campaigns? If not, should you be doing that?

In order to optimise your emails and campaigns for the best performance, there are lots of metrics worth understanding and tracking, including open rates. An open rate refers to the number of people who have opened or viewed an email in any campaign. A graphic or tracking pixel will usually be included to check if an email has been opened. Once the graphic has been registered as downloaded, this is a good indication that the email has been read. Some email marketing platforms can also check the open rate along with other details, such as which device the email has been opened on.

What Is the Industry Average Email Open Rate?

When it comes to open rates, the accepted metric for email marketing is generally somewhere between eleven and thirty-five percent. Even though email open rates aren’t a one hundred percent accurate measure, as sometimes emails may be registered as either opened or not opened when the opposite is true, it is essential for email marketers to understand how valuable this metric is. Pay attention to trends regarding your open rates and determine if they are moving up or down. Tracking your open rates can tell you a lot, including if certain segmented customer lists are performing better than others over time.

Which Factors Impact the Industry Average Open Rate?

When tracking your email open rate, it’s a good idea to be aware of the different factors that can impact this figure. Several other elements can drive your open rates either up or down. These include:

Email Frequency

Consider how often you communicate with your subscribers. If you send many emails quite frequently, this could hurt open rates, as subscribers might get so many emails from you that they do not see the point or the value in opening all of them, even if you’re offering good content and valuable offers. On the other hand, if you don’t send emails often enough, this can also harm the open rate, as subscribers might have waited so long to hear from you again that they’ve forgotten what your emails are about and aren’t interested in them enough to open them.

Subject Line Content

It’s important to remember that the subject line of your email is the first thing that your recipients will see when the message lands in their inboxes, so this should never be an afterthought. Putting much effort into writing compelling, engaging subject lines is one of the best things you can do to improve the open rate and encourage more subscribers to click on the message and find out more about what’s inside. However, it’s also essential to be careful when you are writing subject lines, as misleading subject lines could be caught by the spam filter, meaning that your subscribers are never going even to receive the message to open in the first place.

Targeting and Segmentation

Another factor to consider when it comes to improving your email open rate is how you segment lists and target different groups of customers. Suppose subscribers are receiving emails that are instantly recognisable as not being very relevant to them. In that case, they are less likely to feel compelled to open the message and find out more. Good list segmentation and understanding your audience will help you improve your open rate by only sending out marketing emails relevant to the person receiving them.

Did Apple Security Impact the Industry Average Open Rate for Email Marketing?

In Apple iOS 15, Apple announced more privacy-focused updates, including two that impacted email marketing. Understanding these updates and how they affect metrics like the open rate is essential, as many subscribers today are opening their emails using smartphones such as the iPhone. Apple is prioritising user privacy right now, ensuring that its customers have the utmost confidence regarding how their data is used. However, these privacy features can have some consequences for businesses that use email marketing. Mail Privacy Protection and Hide My Email are two main features brought out by Apple, which may impact metrics such as email open rates. For example, users opt-in to use Mail Privacy Protection, Apple can block locations and IP addresses, preventing senders from knowing if an email has been opened. Understanding this and how it might skew your open rate data is essential for all email marketers today.

Industry Average Open Rate Emails: Why Tracking Open Rate is Important

The open rate of your email marketing campaign is a crucial metric to track, as it can help you learn a range of things about your audience and, ultimately, campaign performance. By following the open rate, you can figure out what changes you may need to make to your campaign to keep your subscribers interested in and engaged with the content that you are sending them. Some of the main things that you can learn from tracking your open rate include:

Who’s Active on Your List

Tracking your open rate can be an ideal tool for cleaning your email list, as it can help to give you a better idea of which subscribers are active on your list and which are not. Suppose a subscriber is opening your marketing emails. In that case, this is a good indication that they are engaging with the message and active, compared to subscribers that haven’t even opened an email for a long time and may be better off removed from your list due to inactivity. When tracking your open rate, you can gather helpful information regarding removing certain subscribers from your email list or determining which subscribers might be worth following up with.

Which Campaign Works Best

Simply put, tracking the email open rate can give you a better idea of which campaigns perform best. A high open rate will mean that your subject lines are doing their job, and subscribers know that the message will be relevant to them from the moment they see the email in their inbox. On the other hand, if you run a campaign with a low open rate, you can more easily figure out what might be best to avoid repeating it the next time to improve it.

Which Emails Your Subscribers Like

By tracking open rates, you can learn much more about your subscribers in terms of the kind of content that they like and find the most appealing. If you are sending different types of emails throughout your campaign, then being able to track which ones are being opened by the most people compared to those that are going unopened more often will help you figure out which kind of emails you need to be sending more of, and which should be dialled back.

Contact Behaviour

Finally, tracking your open rates can help you get to know your subscribers better by learning their behaviour and habits. For example, by checking open rates, you can find out more about things, such as which time of day or day of the week emails are more likely to be opened, allowing you to adjust your sending schedules to suit and improve the open rate overall.

Average Email Open Rate By Industry: Ways to Improve Yours

It’s a good idea to understand the optimum email open rate for your industry, as this can vary depending on the type of business you run, your audience, the kind of emails you send, and more. No matter your industry, there are a few things that you can do to improve your open rate. These include:

Double Opt-In

Subscribers who are sure they want to receive emails from you are usually more likely to open messages, so a double opt-in approach is a good idea. With this method, you send a confirmation email to subscribers after they sign up to ensure they actually want to hear from you. While it might mean you lose some subscribers, the subscribers you get will ultimately be better quality.

Great Subject Lines

Drawing the recipient in with a subject line that interests them to find out more is one of the best ways to improve your open rate. Inspire curiosity by not giving away too much information but just enough to make the reader want to click.

Optimum Frequency

Find out more about your subscribers, including when they are more likely to open emails and send emails at a frequency that’s not too often but not too infrequent to boost interest and open rates.

Knowing how often your emails are opened, when they are opened, and which emails are more likely to be opened than others can help you improve your email marketing campaign.

Mistakes That Cost You Lower Open Rate

Email marketing is a powerful tool for reaching your target audience, but it’s not without its pitfalls. One of the most critical metrics in email marketing campaigns is the open rate. A low open rate can put your email marketing efforts in serious jeopardy, affecting not just current but future communications as well. Below are some common mistakes that can cost you lower open rates and how to avoid them.

Ignoring the Importance of the Subject Line

The subject line is the first thing email recipients see, and it plays a significant role in whether they will open your email or not. Email marketers often underestimate the power of email subject lines, leading to lower open rates. Personalized subject lines can significantly improve your open rates and click through rates. A poorly crafted subject line can send your emails straight to the spam folder, making all your efforts futile.

Neglecting Mobile Devices

In today’s digital age, a large number of emails are opened on mobile devices. If your email campaigns are not optimized for mobile, you’re missing out on a significant portion of your target audience. This can severely impact your email open rates and click to open rate. Always ensure that your emails are mobile-friendly to maximize engagement.

Lack of Relevant Content

Your email recipients expect relevant content that adds value to their lives. Sending promotional emails that lack substance will lead to decreased email engagement and lower open rates. Always focus on delivering relevant content to maintain a good email open rate and keep your potential customers interested.

Poorly Timed Emails

The timing of your email campaigns can also affect your open rates. Sending a high number of emails at the wrong time can overwhelm your subscriber list, leading to lower open rates and higher unsubscribe rates. Use Google Analytics with its embedded analytics capabilities to gain insight into the best times to send your emails.

Failing to Monitor Email Metrics

Ignoring email metrics like delivery rates, click through rate, and conversion rate can put your email marketing campaigns in jeopardy. Tools like Campaign Monitor can help you keep track of these important factors. Always set your own benchmark and compare it against the industry average to measure your email performance.

Inadequate Personalization

Personalization goes beyond just using the recipient’s name in the email subject line. Tailoring the content to the needs and interests of your email recipients can significantly improve your open rates and email engagement. Lack of personalization can result in your emails being marked as spam, affecting your future communications.

Ineffective Landing Pages

Once your email is opened, the landing page it directs to plays a crucial role in conversion rate. A poorly designed landing page can lead to lower click through rates and conversions, undermining your email marketing efforts.

Not Tracking Open Rates

Open rate tracking is essential for understanding the effectiveness of your particular email campaigns. Failing to track open rates can result in missed opportunities to optimize your campaigns for better performance.

Using a Generic Sender Name

The sender name is one of the first things your email recipients see. Using a generic or unfamiliar sender name can lead to lower open rates. Always use a recognizable sender name to improve the chances of your emails being opened.

Ignoring Delivered Emails

Just because your emails are delivered doesn’t mean they are effective. Always keep an eye on the ratio of emails delivered to emails opened. This will help you understand how well your email campaigns are performing and where you need to make adjustments.


Avoiding these common mistakes can significantly improve your email open rates and overall email marketing campaigns. Always remember to focus on your target audience, optimize for mobile devices, and monitor your email metrics to gain insight into your campaign’s performance. By paying attention to these important factors, you can ensure that your email marketing efforts yield the desired results.

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