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[NEW STUDY] Email Marketing Benchmarks

Government Dominating Email Open Rates Globally

Despite the meteoric rise of social media over the past decade, email remains a key tool for most communicators.

However, much like social media, email performance is highly nuanced.

To help get a better understanding of these variations, Campaign Monitor analysed 30 billion emails sent globally between January and December 2019, across 171 countries by its users.

Broken out by industry, Campaign Monitor’s data establishes useful benchmarks across email performance indicators.

From the global data, and all industries, the study observes the following benchmarks:

  • Average open rate: 17.8%
  • Average click-through rate: 2.6%
  • Average click-to-open rate: 14.3%
  • Average unsubscribe rate: 0.1%
  • Average bounce rate: 0.7%

Being an Aussie firm, Campaign Monitor obviously couldn’t break out the data for UK and US markets and not throw some love locally.

Although, bad form on not breaking out the Kiwi data. It’s like the map thing all over again.

For the Australian market, the data breaks out as:

  • Average open rate: 18.7%
  • Average click-through rate: 2.8%
  • Average click-to-open rate: 14.9%
  • Average unsubscribe rate: 0.2%
  • Average bounce rate: 1%

For SMK’s Kiwi readers, one can only assume that given how much better NZ is than AU at rugby and cricket, that the Kiwi stats would be higher…

Cue more hate mail than usual.

While global and national averages are handy, performance metrics vary broadly by industry.

Email Performance Variations Between Industries

According to the study, Government unseated Non-profits as the top industry for the highest open rates.

To be fair, this is hardly surprising. Government, Nonprofit, and Education respectively, were also top performers in 2019’s report, although both improved last year.

Government open rates improved by a whopping 10.71% (from 19.79% last year to 30.5% this year). Non-profit open rates improved by 4.81% (from 20.39% last year to 25.2% this year). And Education open rates improved by 4.5% (from 18.9% last year to 23.4% this year).

Generally, the more relevant or essential the communication, the more likely someone is to open it. Hence, when I get an email from the Australian Tax Office (ATO), I always open it, whereas Colgate, not so much.

Speaking of Colgate, consumer brands were the runt of the litter in the 2019 report. However, this year, despite a small drop in performance, it managed to creep out of the bottom three, due to an email bottoming out by other verticals.

Consumer Packaged Goods only saw 14.53% open rates last year and remained consistent this year at 14.5% open rates. However, this year, that percentage was high enough to make it out of the bottom three.

Australian top industries by open rate:

  1. Automotive and Aerospace: 37.4%
  2. Government: 30.8%
  3. Education: 30.5%
  4. Construction, Contracting, & Manufacturing: 28.1%

Improving Email Engagement Rates

The top three industries by click-through rate remained the same as in 2019, though the ranking differed.

Government jumped two places to become the top industry for click-through rate, while Real Estate, Design and Construction Activities, and Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting also remained within the top three.

Government click-through rates improved by 1.06% (from 3.04% last year to 4.1% this year).

Real Estate, Design and Construction Activities click-through rates improved by 1.02% (from 18.88% last year to 19.9% this year). And Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting click-through rates remained relatively consistent, decreasing by 0.16% (from 3.66% last year to 3.5% this year).

Retail emails experienced lower open rates than the previous year (13.9% this year, down from 14.98% last year), but the click-to-open rate of 15.2% remained higher than the 14.3% average. Meaning the people who open Retail emails are likely to visit their site.

Improving Open Rates & Engagement Rates

To what extent the variances between daily email performance are significant is questionable; however, this hasn’t stopped Campaign Monitor claiming the following:

  • Best day with highest email open rates: Tuesday (18.3%)
  • Best days with highest click-through rates: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (2.6%)
  • Best days with highest click-to-open rates: Thursday and Friday (14.4%)
  • Best days with lowest unsubscribe rates: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (0.1%)
  • Best day with lowest bounce rates: Wednesday (0.6%)

Likewise, when it comes to the duds, it reports as follows:

  • Worst day with lowest email open rates: Saturday (17.5%)
  • Worst days with lowest click-through rates: Wednesday and Saturday (2.5%)
  • Worst day with lowest click-to-open rates: Sunday (14.2%)
  • Worst day with highest unsubscribe rates: Tuesday (0.2%)
  • Worst days with highest bounce rates: Friday, Saturday (0.8%)

Campaign Monitor’s data offers a handy glimpse into useful email KPIs. However, since the data is focusing on very topline averages, it’s wisest to view the stats as indicative, not gospel.

After all, email send size, send volume and a host of other factors can have a significant impact, even in traditionally high performing verticals like government.

As always, when it comes to benchmarking, it is still best to focus on bettering your own historical performance than stressing too much about anyone else.

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