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Marketing Email Benchmarks: Open Rates, CTRs, Device Trends

by Ayaz Nanji  |  
June 3, 2014

Marketing email volume fell more than 20% in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the mailing-heavy fourth quarter of 2013, but both average open and unique click rates increased during the same period, according to a recent report from Yesmail.

Perhaps due to the lower volume and frequency of marketing emails in 1Q14, overall open rates increased 6% and overall unique click rates grew 8%.

Financial service companies had the highest average open rate (28%), and messages sent by insurance companies had the highest unique open rate (7.6%), according to the analysis of more than 5 billion emails deployed by enterprises in the first quarter of 2014.

Below, additional key findings from the report.


  • Hybrid viewership—recipients viewing the same email on desktop and mobile—dropped 12% quarter over quarter, with only 7.5% of all consumers in 1Q14 opening marketing emails on both mobile and desktop devices.
  • Tablet events grew 4.5% quarter over quarter, accounting for 26.6% of all mobile email events in 1Q14.
  • Emails using mobile-friendly responsive design had a 21% higher click-to-open rate (CTO) in 1Q14 compared with non-responsive ones (11.9% and 9.8%, respectively).
  • 75% of all marketers did not send responsive emails most of the time in 1Q14, despite their effectiveness.

Purchase Behavior

  • The number of purchases made via tablets as a proportion of all mobile orders grew 7% quarter over quarter (from 64% in 4Q13 to 69% in 1Q14).
  • The number of smartphone orders decreased 13% in the quarter.
  • Mobile orders overall fell 4% in 1Q14 compared with 4Q13.

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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Amber Jones Tue Jun 3, 2014 via web

    You always write about the most interesting research, Ayaz. I find it shocking that only 1% of the marketers surveyed exclusively send responsive emails! I never would have guessed that it would be that low. I think marketers, especially digital marketers, have an obligation to make their content as user-friendly as possible, and responsive design is a key part of that in email marketing.

    I guess we have a ways to go before everyone is on the same page.

  • by Ayaz Nanji Tue Jun 3, 2014 via web

    Thanks so much Amber for the kind comment (and for reading the articles!), though @Yesmail should get quite a bit of the credit for the research underlying this particular piece.

    I was surprised as well by the number being so low. Very curious to see what the % of responsive emails sent is in a year.

  • by Globalemaillists Wed Jun 4, 2014 via web

    Excellent post,
    Email Marketing the cheapest and very effective way of marketing this review is really a positive sign that email marketing is still in top the list of marketing types, thanks for sharing this really a good article.

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