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Email Marketing: The First 48 Hours Are Critical

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The next time you broadcast a permission-based email to your customers, members or newsletter subscribers, monitor your response for the next 48 hours.

That's when the vast majority—80%—of those who would open your message will actually open it, according to the results of our recent study. What's more, 95% of people who read your message do so within six days of your mailing.

The "Email Marketing Use and Trends Report: H1 2004" shows performance by industry for the first half of 2004, based on over 70 million opt-in email messages sent by MailerMailer customers. It includes delivery/bounce rates, unique open rates, click-through rates by industry; open and click rates by day of the week; and the effect of personalized subject lines and messages on open and click rates.

Delivery/Bounce Rates

An email message may bounce if a subscriber changes his or her email address without notifying you, if it is inadvertently flagged as spam or if the receiving server is down. For all industries, the average bounce rate for customers' first five mailings was 6.60%. For subsequent mailings, after bad addresses were removed, it went down to 3.59%.

These industries had the lowest bounce rate (and therefore highest delivery rates) for their first five mailings: government (2.41%), wholesale (3.80%), and real estate (4.19%).

These industries had the lowest bounce rates for subsequent emails: religious (1.73%), marketing (1.94%), and manufacturing (1.97%).

Unique Open Rates

As previously noted, the report shows that over 80% of emails that were opened were opened within 48 hours after delivery. By the sixth day, 95% of all emails that would be opened were opened. The average unique open rate for all industries was 26.65%.

The industries with the greatest open rates were government (53.74%), telecommunications (47.86%) and banking (44.78%). Emails sent on Mondays had the highest open rates, followed closely by emails sent on Tuesdays.


Click-Through Rates

The average click-through rate—or percentage of emails containing links that were clicked on—for all industries, was 4.27%. Industries that received the highest click rates in H1 2004 were government (10.38%), manufacturing (8.90%), and retail (8.68%).


Although fewer emails were sent on the weekends, those that were sent on Sundays and Saturdays received slightly more clicks than average (5.54% on Sundays, 5.11% on Saturdays). Emails with personalized subject lines were opened more often (32.49%, compared with 26.65%) than emails with personalized messages only or no personalization, and they also received higher click rates (8.45%, compared with 4.27%).

Note: To receive a full copy of "Email Marketing Use and Trends Report: H1 2004," visit (

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Raj Khera is a partner in MailerMailer (

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