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Email Open Rates and Click Rates Fell in 2Q13

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Email open rates decreased 8.3% in 2Q13 from 1Q13 levels, but increased 11.5% over the equivalent period in 2012, resulting in an overall average open rate of 28.5%, according to Epsilon's quarterly email trends and benchmark report.

The average click rate in 2Q13 was 4.3%, down both quarter over quarter and year over year.

However, the average non-bounce rate (the percentage of emails that were not returned as undelivered) remained strong at 96.1%.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from Epsilon’s proprietary email platform.


Performance by Industry

  • In 2Q13, the highest open rates occurred in the retail (40%), financial services (39.6%), and travel (31.8%) categories.
  • The highest click-to-open rates occurred in the consumer products (40.5%), retail apparel (24.4%), and consumer publishing/media (20.7%) categories.

Email List Behavior

  • In 2Q13, 51% of subscribers to the average email list were active—up slightly quarter over quarter, with 50.1% active in 1Q13 and 49.9% active in 4Q12.
  • 36% of new subscribers were active after their initial opt-in to an email program (New Clickers and New Openers in the following chart). That is an increase over 2Q12, when 34% of new subscribers were active.
  • The remaining 64% of new subscribers were unengaged with marketers' email programs.

About the research: The report was based on data from from 6.1 billion emails sent by Epsilon in April, May, and June 2013 across multiple industries on behalf of approximately 150 participating clients.


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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and the co-founder of Inbound ContentWorks, a marketing agency that specializes in content creation for businesses and brands. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. His past experience includes working for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Catherine Marsden Mon Oct 14, 2013 via web

    Could one reason for the lower email open rate be that more emails are being sent than in 2012?

  • by Ayaz Nanji Mon Oct 14, 2013 via web

    Hi Catherine -- The report doesn't cover the quantity of emails sent (as far as I remember) but you bring up a good point. I think that might explain the dip in open rates in 2Q13 compared with 1Q13. The 2Q13 numbers are pretty similar to 4Q12 (the holiday season, when a lot of emails are sent).

  • by Rudy Tue Oct 22, 2013 via web

    Hi, is that possible that higher open rate email also depend on the industry you are doing right now?

  • by Michelle Tue Oct 29, 2013 via web

    Is the open rate referring to the overall open rate or unique open rate? Two very distinct and different numbers. Appreciate the clarification.

  • by Dan Wed Oct 30, 2013 via web

    When will you have this information for 3Q2013? We just started email marketing in June and while our results are pretty strong, there's been a slight downward trend in open and click over the last 8 emails sent. I'm hoping to be able to explain this to my boss through a trend as our emails have only been getting better and we've been getting smarter.

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