The Ultimate Email Marketing Benchmarks Guide

Email marketing is an integral advertising strategy, no matter how well-established your brand is. It’s one of the primary channels through which existing and new clients are called to action. Ensuring that your email campaigns perform at their peak is essential; to do this, you must have a good handle on email benchmarks.

Investing time and money into email campaigns that generate little to no business will do you more harm than good, especially in the long run.

If you’re new to email marketing, you need to understand email marketing benchmarks and how they can provide invaluable insight into the success of your campaigns. These statistics paint an important picture that lets you know where you might need to make changes.


The Ultimate Email Marketing Benchmarks Guide


How do they do this?

Giving you access to data demonstrates the industry standard for certain criteria, such as your delivery rate, open rate, CTOR, click-through rate, conversion rate, and unsubscribe rate. If these terms don’t mean much to you yet, don’t worry. This article takes a more in-depth look at email marketing benchmarks and how to use them.


Delivery and Deliverability Rate

Your email delivery rate is the rate at which email providers like Gmail or Yahoo allow mail onto their servers and don’t bounce them. However, even if your email reaches the provider’s servers, it doesn’t mean it’s reaching the recipient’s inbox. Your emails may end up in the spam or junk folders and remain ignored.

This is where the deliverability rate comes in. Deliverability measures how many emails actually end up in recipients inboxes.

A good deliverability rate is considered around 95%. To attain a high rate, your campaign should follow these best practice principles:

  • Keep your mailing list up to date: Around 30% of people change their email addresses every year. Keep your email lists current. Remove the address from your database if there’s been no interaction in 6-12 months.
  • Focus on customer segmentation: Subscriber segmentation determines who you send your emails. Target customers interested in a particular area – and tailor emails to this segment.
  • Avoid spammy subjects and keywords: By steering clear of spammy subject lines and keywords, you’ll decrease the chances of your email getting flagged as spam.


Email Open Rate

Your email open rate represents how many recipients opened your marketing email. If your open rate seems low, remember that the average open rate across the board is around 18%.

While email marketing is essential for business growth, it’s like casting a wide net. Most of the fish you want to snag won’t get reeled in. But the ones you do reel in make up for it.

So, how do you know what your open rate is?

We’ve created a simple, user-friendly tool to help you figure it out. Our open rate calculator will give you a figure you can work with to ascertain the efficacy of your campaigns.


Open Rate EquationClick to enlarge

Open Rate = (Opened x 100) ÷ Delivered


If your open rate beats the average of 18%, congratulations!

Keep doing what you’re doing. Although, it may be worthwhile to compare your open rate to others in the same industry. Depending on what field you’re in, open rates can differ by 10-15%.

If your open rate is significantly lower than the industry average, you might need to take some steps to address the falling interest.

  • Subject lines: The subject line is the first thing your subscribers see when they look at your email in their inboxes. You want this to be something attention-grabbing but not overly cliché. Remember, you’re trying to stoke your subscriber’s curiosity. Play on their fear of missing out, their humour, and their vanity, making them feel like deleting this email would be a mistake.
  • Preheader text: Your preheader text is the next thing subscribers look at to determine whether they want to read your email. So, make sure that it contains something relevant and convincing. The preheader text follows the subject line and serves as a preview of the email’s content. You want to briefly outline your email’s major selling points.
  • Segmentation and personalization: Dividing your subscribers into target demographics is an important practice. An email targeted at 18–24-year-old women will likely not perform well across the board. Segmenting your audience allows for greater personalization and translates into higher levels of engagement.


Email Click-Through Rate

They’ve opened your email.

What now?

The goal is to get subscribers to engage with your email’s content by clicking on links or images included in the email’s body.

This group of subscribers will be much smaller than those who only opened the email. Your email click-through rate is a good indicator of how engaging and convincing the content of your email is. The overall average sits between 2-3%. This may not sound like much. But this is a significant chunk of potential business in an email campaign that spans hundreds of thousands of people.

  • Strong segments: Always strive to keep your email content as personalized as possible. Develop robust segmentation practices to ensure that your subscribers are receiving information that is relevant and interesting to them. Content that is too broad or misses the mark will likely earn you an unsubscribe.
  • Strong branding: Your brand voice should be conveyed consistently in your emails. This includes the tone and content of your text. It is important to figure out what attitude to approach subscribers and then stick to it. This may involve humour, sympathy, excitement, or whatever personality fits with your brand.
  • Incentives: Subscribers need good reasons to stop what they are doing to navigate to your website. A simple statement of information is not going to cut it. Discounts, special offers, rewards for recommendations, limited edition products—these kinds of incentives will make a person check out what you have to offer. They are likely receiving at least ten other similar emails per day, so strive to stand out.


The difference between CTR and CTOR



Click to Open rates (CTOR) are often confused with open and click-through rates. CTOR is essentially the metric that measures engagement. It measures the performance of the content in the email and compares the number of people that opened the mail with those that took the next step and clicked the CTA or link that brought them to the next stage of the customer journey.

To measure your campaigns CTOR you can use the following equation:


CTOR Formula or Click-To-Open Rate EquationClick to enlarge

CTOR = (Users Who Clicked x 100) ÷ email Opens.


Conversion Rate

The conversion rate measures the aim of your entire campaign. It tells you how many customers took the desired action. The action they take depends on your conversion goal, which is decided upfront.

Conversion goals may be purchase-related and measure how many customers followed the sales funnel and completed a purchase. Or it may be lead-related and result in a potential customer becoming a hot lead.

To calculate an email campaign’s conversion rate you:


Conversion Rate EquationClick to enlarge

Conversion Rate = (Conversions ÷ Clicks) × 100


Unsubscribe Rate and Bounce Rate

Your unsubscribe rate reflects the portion of recipients who opted out of receiving further emails from you. This statistic demonstrates the type of impact your campaign is having.

A high unsubscribe rate (roughly 0.2% or higher) indicates a problematic level of disinterest. Users that unsubscribe do so for various reasons—irrelevant content, too many emails, spammy buzzwords, and more.

  • Don’t overdo it: If subscribers receive multiple emails per day from your organization, they will rapidly become fed up with you clogging up their inboxes. Keep your marketing emails down to a maximum of once weekly, and try to get them out between Tuesdays and Thursdays. Studies indicate that people are less likely to open marketing emails from Friday through Monday.
  • Automate: Using automated email marketing services is a great way to build relationships with your subscribers in the long term. They will come to recognize and trust your marketing.
  • Watch your bounce rate: Your bounce rate indicates how many emails failed to deliver to their intended email addresses. Out-of-date lists will include no longer active emails, and it is important to weed these out regularly to avoid wasting resources.


The Takeaway

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective, easy ways of reaching your target audience. But for emails to be effective direct marketing tools, you must know how they perform.

By benchmarking specifics like the open, click-through, and unsubscribe rates, you can gain a greater insight into what marketing is working and what isn’t.

Data plays a major role in the success of any email marketing campaign. Having specific benchmarks in place makes creating campaigns with a high return on investment (ROI) easier. This high ROI is what every marketing campaign aims to achieve, and it’s within reach if you adjust your campaigns according to the expected benchmarks.


About Kristie Wright

Kristie Wright is a content marketer who covers topics on marketing, finance, and management, mostly catering to small businesses and sole proprietors. When she’s not typing away at her keyboard, Kristie enjoys roasting her own coffee and is an avid tabletop gamer.