Boost Your Engagement With Email Marketing Benchmarks

July 30, 2019 Ash Salleh

When it comes to boosting email engagement, the majority of B2B marketers will likely analyze their email metrics to see where they can improve.

Analytics is a cornerstone of B2B email marketing and a factor that cannot be replaced or ignored. However, did you know that you can leverage a different type of data in your efforts to improve your email engagement?

Enter email marketing benchmarks.

2019 Email Marketing Benchmarks by Campaign Monitor

Tech company and email service provider (ESP) Campaign Monitor recently published an email marketing benchmarks report based on actual campaign data.

Note: The data is the result of a comprehensive analysis of more than 30 billion emails sent in 2018 through Campaign Monitor’s ESP by companies across over 20 industries.

Now, I know you’re interested to see the data so we’ll get right into the goods:

Averages across all industries

  • Email open rate - 17.92%
  • Email click-through rate (CTR) - 2.69%
  • Email click-to-open rate - 14.10%
  • Email  unsubscribe rate - 0.17%
  • Email bounce rate - 1.06%

Industries with the highest open rates

  • Nonprofit - 20.39%
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting - 20.13%
  • Government - 19.79%
  • Healthcare Services - 19.12%
  • Other - 18.94%

Industries with the highest click-through rates

  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting - 3.66%
  • Real estate, design, and construction activities - 3.06%
  • Government - 3.04%
  • Media, entertainment, and publishing - 3.02%
  • Education - 2.82%

Industries with the highest click-to-open rates

  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting - 18.03%
  • Media, entertainment, and publishing - 17.15%
  • Real estate, design, and construction activities - 16.47%
  • Unknown - 15.52%
  • Government - 15.11%

Industries with the lowest unsubscribe rates

  • Media, entertainment, and publishing - 0.10%
  • Consumer packaged goods - 0.12%
  • Retail - 0.12%
  • Travel, hospitality, and leisure - 0.16%
  • Food and beverage - 0.16%
  • Financial Services - 0.16%

Industries with the lowest bounce rates

  • Food and beverage - 0.64%
  • Consumer packaged goods - 0.67%
  • Retail - 0.069%
  • Media, entertainment, and publishing - 0.86%
  • Travel, hospitality, and leisure - 0.93%

Ideal days to send emails

  • Day with the highest open rates - Thursday
  • Day with the highest click-through rates - Tuesday 
  • Day with the highest click-to-open rates - Saturday
  • Day with the lowest unsubscribe rates - Sunday or Monday
  • Day with the lowest bounce rates - Monday

Non-ideal days to send emails

  • Day with the lowest open rates - Sunday
  • Day with the lowest click-through rates - Sunday
  • Day with the lowest click-to-open rates - Monday
  • Day with the highest unsubscribe rates - Wednesday
  • Day with the highest bounce rates - Friday

Why Look at Email Marketing Benchmarks

Monitoring your own data is essential to email marketing, but it isn’t holistic. In B2B, long-term results are more important than short-term ones, so thinking about the “bigger picture” is a must.

But, to get a glimpse of the bigger email marketing picture, you need to:

  • look at your own email data
  • compare your data with current email marketing benchmarks

This is the best way to understand how your email marketing is performing in comparison to industry standards.

For instance, imagine you’re an email marketer for a B2B software as a service (SaaS) company and your current open rate sits at 10%. According to Campaign Monitor’s benchmarks report, the average open rate for software services sits at 17.96%.

Your open rate of 10% is far lower than the industry average, which means that you’ll need to work on your open rates if you want to be on par with standard.

Boost Engagement with Email Marketing Benchmarks

Here is some simple, easy-to-follow advice on how you can use benchmarks to boost your B2B email engagement—one metric after another.

Open rate

This is the percentage of subscribers who opened an email campaign out of your total number of subscribers. 

The average email open rate among industries is 17.92%.

Here are the things you need to do to improve your open rates:

  • Personalize your subject line by making it a point to include the subscriber’s first name.
  • Use strong action words and incentivizing language (ex. last chance, exclusive offer, etc.)
  • Optimize your preheader text so that it provides the reader with an accurate description of your email’s overall message

​Click-through rate (CTR)

This is the percentage of subscribers who click on a link within your email out of the total number of emails you sent. 

The average CTR rate among industries is 2.69%

To improve your CTR:

  • Use subscriber information for segmentation (e.g. subscriber pain points, their position within their company, the industry their company belongs to, etc.).
  • Design better CTAs by using buttons instead of plain links and use benefit-focused CTA copy (e.g. Get this informative guide today instead of just download here)
  • A/B test your CTAs

Click-to-open rate

This is the percentage of subscribers who opened your email and then subsequently clicked on a link within that email. It’s a strong indicator of the effectiveness of your email offer. 

The average click-to-open rate among industries is 14.10%

Here are a few ways to improve your click-to-open rates:

  • Ensure that your emails render perfectly across all devices. You can easily achieve this by using responsive email templates that are mobile-optimized right off the bat without the need for additional coding.
  • Make your CTA large enough and with colors that contrast with the rest of the email elements. This way, the CTA button stands out.
  • Send targeted offers instead of a single offer for all your subscribers.

Unsubscribe rate

This is the percentage of subscribers who click on the unsubscribe button and choose to opt-out of receiving any more emails from you. It indicates subscriber disinterest.

The average unsubscribe rate among industries is 0.17%

To avoid high unsubscribe rates, you should:

  • Maintain list health at the outset. Never send to lists you purchased from unscrupulous third parties.
  • Remove disengaged subscribers from your list after failing to re-engage them using a re-engagement email.
  • Prioritize engagement with existing subscribers.
  • Send personalized content to each of your segments instead of sending a single generic newsletter to everyone on your list.

Wrap Up

The data from your own email marketing analytics plays a pivotal role in leveling up your email marketing game, but it doesn’t provide you with the entire picture. That’s where email marketing benchmarks come in. 

However, this isn’t to say that one of them is better than the other. The key is to use them in conjunction with one another in order to make the best possible judgment regarding which specific areas of email marketing you need to work on.

Get the full report here.

And if you love using data to boost engagement, why not A/B test? Check out Three A/B Tests the Uberflip Marketing Team Ran and the Surprising Results.

About the Author

Ash Salleh

Ash Salleh is the Director of SEO at Campaign Monitor where he works closely with content, copy, and analytics teams to improve site-wide optimization. Prior to his time at Campaign Monitor, he also provided SEO and digital marketing expertise at Zappos and Axiata Digital. You can find him on Gravatar.

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