Average email open rates continued their downward path during 2011 and the first quarter of 2012, though click-through rates (CTRs) increased slightly during the same period, according to Silverpop's Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study.
Among some 20 industries studied, the computer software and media and publishing industries were standout performers during the five-quarter period—recording the highest email open rates and CTRs overall. They were followed by the financial services and consumer services industries.
Below, additional findings from the 2012 Silverpop Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study.
Some key US findings for the five quarters ended 1Q12:
- Open rates averaged 19.9%, down from a 2009 average of 21.3%.
- CTRs averaged 5.4%, up from a 2009 average of 4.5%.
- Unsubscribe rates (0.27%) were in line with previous studies overall, but varied dramatically by industry type.
For example, the travel and leisure emails were well above that mark, registering a 1.64% unsubscribe rate during the period, whereas nonprofits registered the lowest unsubscribe rate, at 0.10%.
For the study, open rates* are calculated as the number of measured opened messages divided by the number of delivered messages. The average open rate overall was 20.1%, with little variation between the US (19.9%), EMEA (20.9%), and Canada (20.7%).
The dip in open rates is most likely the result of various industry developments, such as email service technology that blocks HTML imagery and features such as Gmail's Priority Inbox (or similar third-party add-ons), according to the report.