Email Marketing Metrics Benchmarks 2016

One of the most frequent questions I hear from email marketers is “What’s a good open rate?”

First, it’s important that you create your own benchmarks so you can tell how your emails are doing in comparison to other emails for your product, in your industry, and/or to your audience. For example, if the finance industry typically has a 23% open rate and your January email garners a 25% open rate, you might think you’re doing pretty well! Except if your own average is usually around 28%. Find your own averages and strongest campaigns using the reports in your email platform. (emfluence clients: Here’s how you’d find your averages and best performers in the emfluence Marketing Platform.)

Alongside your own metrics, benchmarks on industry average metrics can help email marketers understand how they rank against others in their industry. So, every 6 months, we dig into our own data and figure out what the averages are by industry, by business type (B2B vs. B2C) and broken down by automated (triggered) vs. scheduled (batched) sends.

Average Email Marketing Metrics by Industry:

2015 Email Benchmarks by Industry

The green highlights the hottest industries (best performers), the blue are the “cool” end of the spectrum. Comparing this to our mid-2015 metrics report, Banking remained at the top, Advertising/Marketing/Agencies and Government industries also trended well, with open rates 27% higher than the overall average open rate of 22.17%. Media/Publishers — who typically sent daily or weekly updates — saw the lowest average open rate with just 14.81%, but had a strong 15.41% click-to-open ratio.

Advertising/Marketing had the best click through rates again and Food & Beverage held onto the title for best click-to-open ratios, more than double the overall averages for both. Hospitality, largely restaurants show the lowest average click-through rate, possibly because their product is offline. Their call to action isn’t to click, but to come in and dine! Insurance also had lower average click-through rates, possibly due to a much longer buying cycle and therefore a lower frequency of clicks.

The Finance & Utilities sectors still had higher than average bounce rates, but both saw an improvement from 5% in July 2015 to just over 3% through December 2015.

Utilities & Healthcare had the highest unsubscribe rates, for the second term running. Healthcare and Apparel average the highest complaint rate of any industry, staying consistent with the July 2015 report.

Average Email Marketing Metrics: B2B vs. B2C

Continuing the trend from the July 2015 benchmarks report, Business-to-Business (b2b) marketing email averaged over a 47% higher click-through rate than Business-to-Consumer (b2c) email and boasted a 23% higher click-to-open ratio. They also have a higher bounce rate, though, and just slightly higher complaint rates:
2015 Email Benchmarks by B2BB2C

Average Email Marketing Metrics: Batch-and-Send vs. Automated Emails

Unsurprisingly, automated or triggered emails still far outperformed batched or scheduled emails nearly 2-to-1 in open rate and 3-to-1 in click-through rate. Unfortunately, they also tend to have higher bounce, unsubscribe and complaint rates, as they’re likely the first touch point for a subscriber or buyer (compared to the repeat touches sent on a marketer’s schedule).
2015 Email Benchmarks Trigger v Standard

 

Metrics definitions for these benchmarks:

Open Rate – Unique openers divided by total number of emails sent.
Click-through Rate – Total number of clicks divided by total number of emails sent.
Click-to-Open Ratio – Of those who opened the email, what percent clicked.
Bounce Rate – Total number of hard or soft bounces divided by the total number of emails sent.
Unsubscribe Rate – Total number of people who unsubscribed divided by the total number of emails sent.
Complaint Rate – Total number of spam complaints divided by the total number of emails sent.

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