Average Open Rate

A reliable email marketing strategy depends on reliable metrics. One of the most popular metrics to use is the open rate, which allows email marketers to understand and better predict how many people will open their email.

What is the average open rate for email marketing?

The average email open rate shows how much of your mail is opened. Depending on your business sector, benchmarks range from 17% to 37%, based on larger email list sizes. For example, the average marketing email open rate (B2B services, finance, software) is 20% to 25% on average. When tracking smaller email lists, however, it can be as broad as 15% to more than 50%. These email lists are usually highly targeted with more personalized, relevant messages.

So, according to common email marketing benchmarks, you should try to get 170 to 370 opens for every 1000 emails sent. 

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Before trying to improve your email open rates, make sure your data is accurate and consistent:

  • How many subscribers are on your email list?
  • Are you getting similar open rates when A/B testing?
  • How long have you run the email marketing campaign?

It’s recommended to start with 1,000-2,000 subscribers, 4-10 emails per sequence, and 2-10 weeks of A/B testing. Once you have consistent rates, the following improvements will be more effective.

What’s a good open rate?

Open rates can vary based on the kind of email being sent. Average open rates can range between 80% to 85% for transactional emails, while marketing emails have a 20% to 25% average open rate.

Transactional emails

They’re informational and expected, leading to a much higher open rate than other types of email. Transactional emails can include receipts, password resets, and shipping notifications.

Promotional emails

This type of email can be a more fickle medium due to the sheer amount of marketing emails people receive. There is a real risk of email fatigue, thanks to multiple messages from multiple brands at all hours of the day. This can lead to simple ignores to total unsubscribes. Because of this, it’s best to keep transactional and marketing emails separate so you don’t harm your deliverability by mixing more reliable performance with more fickle performance.

How to increase your email open rate

There are countless ways to increase the average email open rate:

  • Make your subject line relevant and specific to the recipients
  • Find the most effective campaign timing (e.g., 3 PM Tuesday, or other times based on your metrics)
  • Improve email personalization (name, time, location) and action-triggered emails
  • Add more qualified leads to your email list
  • Increase your email deliverability and avoid spam filters
  • Remove inactive subscribers and bounced addresses
  • Use double opt-in

Some of these can instantly improve your email marketing campaigns. But what if you want the best email open rates possible?

  • A/B test: Try different list segments, subject lines, and message templates. Even the most unexpected combinations can outperform your current marketing campaign.
  • Add value: To maintain high open rates, subscribers need to receive great value and expect more from future emails. Always be consistent in the value you provide via email. If there’s nothing to gain from your email, your recipients are more likely to unsubscribe.

Plus, with better open rates comes better click-through rates (CTR), because you can’t click through without opening first!

What’s the difference between click rate and open rate?

A little more on that: Your email open rate shows how many clicks open an email, while the click-through rate shows how many clicks internal links receive.

Typically, use less than three links to avoid confusion. Ideally, just use one: your call to action (CTA).

Once you optimize your open rate, you can get more unique clicks by improving metric dependencies. High email deliverability and low bounce rates lead to more emails opened, affecting your overall click-through rate.