“How do my campaigns compare to my competition?” As a marketer, this thought may cross your mind from time to time, and it’s a natural question to ask.
The answer—at least, part of the answer—is knowing industry standards. Benchmarks give companies an important barometer to see how your emails are performing, as well as some indication of how you can improve your numbers.
But not all benchmarks are the same.
B2C emails are different than B2B emails, which are different than university emails, which are unlike a number of other industries.
It’s only fair that businesses see an apples-to-apples comparison within their sector to truly determine where their email campaigns stand.
And that’s exactly what we’ve done.
What you’ll find below is the benchmark data we’ve collected from our own database.
It’s important to note: Our customers range from Fortune 500 companies to startups, and our entire spectrum is represented in the data we present.
Ready to see how you and your campaigns stack up?
Here’s what we learned.
Overall average open, click, and unsubscribe rates
To start off, let’s take a look at a compilation of overall email marketing benchmarks across all sectors:
- The average open rate for email campaigns is 17.92%.
- The average click rate across all sectors came in at 2.69%.
- The unsubscribe rate for all sectors averaged in at 0.17%.
But you have to remember that these are the averages of all sectors, so let’s break down each of these a little more.
This will help you see how your rates compare to those in your industry.
What’s the average industry open rate for an email campaign?
As marketers, we want to know the results for our specific industry. It’s one of the most important pieces of data email marketers can analyze.
First, let’s see what devices emails are being opened on most often:
Source: Smart Insights
And just so we’re clear, here’s how we define what an “open” is for desktop, mobile, and web:
Desktop: Any open from a desktop or laptop using an email client like Outlook or Thunderbird.
Mobile: Any open from a smartphone or tablet device.
Web: Any open from browser-based clients like Gmail or Yahoo (from a desktop or laptop device).
It’s no surprise that more emails are opened on mobile devices—about 10% more, and this graph clearly shows the need to optimize with a heavy emphasis on mobile design.
Optimizing for mobile is one of the best ways to improve your open and click rates since nearly half of all people open their emails on a mobile device.
Now, back to the stats:
We gathered all of our customer data and broke it down by industry. Here are the industry email marketing benchmarks for open rates:
Source: Campaign Monitor
A few things to note from the graph above:
- Nonprofits led in open rates by industry with a 20.39% open rate.
- B2C industries, like consumer packaged goods and retail, tend to have lower open rates.
- Nonprofits and educational institutions or colleges tend to have higher open rates.
These are important metrics to know for your industry—are you exceeding those metrics or falling short?
One thing is certain: There is a moderate range of open rates across all sectors.
How can I improve my open rates?
Here are some tips on improving your open rates:
- Personalization is a great tool to use for both subject lines and body copy.
- Segment your lists for varying demographics.
- A/B test your subject lines to learn which one works best for your audience.
- Consider adding a video to your emails and call it out in the subject line. (Videos improve open and click rates.)
- Start implementing emojis in your subject lines.
What’s the average industry click rate for an email campaign?
Half the battle is getting subscribers to open your emails, the other half is—well, everything else. And that includes click-to-open rate.
Similar to the open rate graph above, here’s a graph breaking down industry email marketing benchmarks for average click-to-open rates:
Source: Smart Insights
Here we find Consumer Products is an industry that leads in click-to-open rates (CTOR).
This time we see some wider variances in the industries, and we also see more of a balance between B2B and B2C companies.
Referring back to our industry averages chart, you’ll notice that for click-through rates, the highest engagement was in Agriculture, Forest, Fishing, and Hunting at 3.66%, where the lowest rates were for Food and Beverage at 1.69%.
If you’re in the Food and Beverage industry, you’ll really want to step up your email campaigns to account for the lower click-through rates.
A lot of contributing factors will play into a click rate: things like, relevancy, holidays, seasonal trends, and more. Everything should be taken into account when gauging these results.
How can I improve my click rates?
Here are some tips on improving your click rates:
- Create compelling copy, both in your email and for your CTA.
- Use email design best practices to create an email that naturally makes subscribers want to click.
- Test different call-to-action buttons. You might play around with the size, shape, or color and see what works best.
What’s the average industry unsubscribe rate?
Unsubscribe rates aren’t the flashiest of benchmarks when it comes to email marketing, but they’re definitely important metrics you should be watching.
Let’s take a look at industry email marketing benchmarks for unsubscribe rates:
- Automotive and Aerospace and Real Estate Agents/Brokers saw the highest unsubscribe rates at 0.22%.
- Retail/B2C saw the second-lowest unsubscribe rate of all sectors at 0.12%.
- The lowest unsubscribe rate is attributed to Media, Entertainment, & Publishing at just 0.10%.
This means that, even though these industries may not have the highest click-through rates, they don’t routinely see people fall off their list when working with an ESP.
Similar to click rates, we see a healthy mix of B2B and B2C spread across from top to bottom. That means there’s email marketing hope for each industry.
How can I improve my unsubscribe rates?
Here are some tips on lowering your unsubscribe rates:
- Make sure the emails you’re sending are relevant to your subscribers.
- If a subscriber sees an unfamiliar email or sender, they’re likely to trash the email or unsubscribe from the list.
- Make sure you’re sending at a regular cadence with consistent content.
Blasting the same generic email to all contacts isn’t the best course of action.
It can be tempting to send emails every day, but there may be a better strategy. Use A/B testing to see how many emails per week generates the most revenue.
The email campaign strategy you have might not be the best for your target audience, so take a look at your metrics, compare them to industry standards, and test your way to success.
We hope these industry email marketing benchmarks provide your company with some context for your email campaigns and overall performance metrics.
If you feel like your email campaigns are underperforming, or are not getting the support you need, it may be time to switch to a new email service provider.