email marketing benchmarks

Guest post: email marketing benchmarks

Email Marketing Benchmarks Across Different Industries

Campaign Monitor, an email marketing service provider, recently analyzed over 30 billion emails from 4.2 million campaigns sent through their platform in 2018. They then organized the data into a single resource.

The result is a highly detailed and comprehensive email marketing benchmarks report. It provides marketers with valuable insight into email marketing standards across more than 20 industries.

Here are a few data points from the report.

Email marketing benchmarks for all industries


  • Average open rate – 17.92%
  • Average unsubscribe rate – 0.17%
  • Click-to-open rate – 14.10%
  • Bounce rate – 1.06%


Top industries by average open rate


  • Nonprofit – 20.39%
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting – 20.13%
  • Government – 19.79%
  • Healthcare Services – 19.12%
  • Other – 18.94%

Industry averages


Top industries by average click-to-open rate


  • 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 average bounce rates


  • Food and Beverage – 0.64%
  • Consumer Packaged Goods – 0.67%
  • Retail  – 0.69%
  • Media, Entertainment, and Publishing – 0.86%
  • Travel, Hospitality, and Leisure – 0.93%


Best days for email marketing


  • Highest average email open rate – Thursday
  • Lowest average unsubscribe rate – Sunday or Monday
  • Highest average click-to-open rate – Saturday
  • Lowest average bounce rate – Monday


Worst days for email marketing


  • Lowest average email open rate  – Sunday
  • Highest average unsubscribe rate – Wednesday
  • Lowest average click-to-open rate – Monday
  • Highest average bounce rate – Friday


How benchmarks can enhance your email performance

By familiarizing yourself with email marketing benchmarks, you can improve your email marketing metrics and therefore enhance the performance of your own emails. Here are some tips.


  • Open rate


This metric is the percentage of recipients who opened a specific email campaign. As previously mentioned, the average open rate for all industries is 17.92%. If yours is similar, then that means your campaigns have a healthy open rate.

You can improve your open rates by:

    • Optimizing your subject lines for opens
    • Testing your subject lines for length, tone, and content.
    • Optimizing for email previews with preheader text
    • Segmenting your subscribers in order to send relevant content
    • Personalizing your emails


  • Click-to-open rate


This metric is the percentage of email viewers (subscribers who open your email)  who click on a link or linked image within your email. It is often used to determine engagement with your email in terms of immediate response rate.

Generally speaking, a high click-to-open rate equates to a successful campaign and a low click-to-open rate denotes an unsuccessful email campaign.

You can improve your click-to-open rates by:

    • Designing emails that render perfectly on all devices
    • Capturing the right information that aids your segmentation and personalization efforts
    • Optimizing your email design and copy for maximum readability
    • Including prominent, easy-to-click calls to action (CTAs)
    • A/B testing each email element individually


  • Unsubscribe rate


This metric is the percentage of recipients who unsubscribe (opt out) from your email campaigns. When subscribers opt out of your emails, it usually means they have lost interest in your emails.

You can keep your subscribers interested (and improve your unsubscribe rates in the process) by:

    • Building a healthy list at the outset
    • Leveraging email automation for long-term brand engagement
    • Segmenting your subscribers in order to send relevant content
    • Re-engaging people who unsubscribe to maintain list hygiene


  • Spam rate


This is the percentage of recipients who mark your emails as spam. Although the average spam rate for all industries is only 0.002%, it still pays to know how to avoid getting a high spam rate.

You can improve your spam rates by:

    • Using the same “from name” for all your emails in order to make your messages easily recognizable
    • Avoiding sending emails from addresses such as
    • Only sending emails from people who have opted in to receive your emails
    • Sending your emails from a business-configured domain
    • Keeping your email designs spam free


  • Bounce rate


bounce rate

This is the percentage of emails sent that couldn’t be delivered. There are two types of bounces:

  1. soft bounces
  2. hard bounces

Soft bounces are considered temporary bounces because they are due to issues like an error with the recipient’s email server or the recipient’s inbox being full at the time of sending.

Hard bounces, on the other hand, are considered permanent bounces and occur when you send emails to invalid email addresses.

You can improve your bounce rates by:

    • Not sending to state lists
    • Not purchasing email lists from third parties
    • Removing invalid email addresses from your list immediately
    • Using the double opt-in (also called confirmed opt-in) method
    • Not using a free webmail address

Wrap up

Email marketing benchmarks are useful because they enable you to see how your campaigns are performing compared to the standards of various industries. Want more information? Feel free to check out Campaign Monitor’s Email Marketing Benchmarks report.


Author Bio:

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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