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Email Metrics: Open and Click Rates Decline

July 19, 2010

Email open and click-through rates declined sharply in 2009, especially in the latter half of the year, with performance levels varying dramatically by industry and email list size, according to a study by MailerMailer, which also found that open and click rates tended to be highest on Sundays.

The average overall unique open rate*at the end of 2009 was 11.2%, down 10% from a year earlier.

Image blocking, the increased use of email handheld devices, and list fatigue were among the key reasons cited for declining open rates.

Some key findings:

  • Subject Lines: Email messages with subject lines of 35 characters or less outperformed emails with longer subject lines, generating open rates 52% higher and click rates 69% higher, on average.
  • Bounces increased by 8% over the previous year, but still account for just 1.4% of all email messages sent.
  • Bounces by mailing frequency: Marketers sending email less than once a month garnered bounce rates more than 200 times that of those sending monthly.
  • Personalization used in messages, but not necessarily in subject lines, continued to perform well, generating open rates 7% higher and click rates 80% higher, on average, than email messages without personalization.

Below, additional findings from the July 2010 edition of the Email Marketing Metrics Report, including the best day to send email and open and click rates by industry and list size.

Best Day to Send Email: Sunday

Emails sent on Sundays during the first half and second half of 2009 registered the highest average open rates, 14.1% and 12.2%, respectively.

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