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Marketing Email Year-Over-Year Benchmarks and Trends

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The number of emails arriving in subscribers' inboxes increased by 9% between 2Q13 and 2Q14, according to a recent report from Yesmail.

The overall email open rate declined 3% during the same period, most likely because of the added volume of messages. Yet the number of opens for each active subscriber actually increased 6% year-over-year (YOY).

Put another way: Consumers are now getting more marketing emails than a year ago, and a higher percentage of those emails remain unopened; however, the subscribers who are engaged are opening more emails than ever.

Nevertheless, open rates only tell part of the story, Yesmail found. Unique clicks decreased 14% over in the same period, indicating that although active subscribers may still be consistently opening, they are clicking through less frequently.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on email data collected by Yesmail between 2Q13 and 2Q14.


  • Email opens on mobile devices accounted for 64.5% of opens in 2Q14, compared with just 35.5% on desktops.
  • However, mobile devices accounted for just 35% of all email clicks—a 9% increase YOY but still much less than the overall share of opens.
  • Similarly, though the average mobile click-to-open rate increased YOY, reaching 9.3% in 2Q14, it still significantly lags the desktop average click-to-open rate of 22.6%.

Conversion and Order Value

  • Mobile transactions accounted for 22% of all purchases driven by email in 2Q14, a 40% YOY increase.
  • However, though the the number of mobile orders jumped year-over-year, the revenue associated with these purchases only increased by 10%.
  • One explanation for this discrepancy could be the decline of average order value (AOV) on mobile. In 3Q13, the mobile AOV was only $9 lower than desktop—$79 vs. $88. In 2Q14, the AOV for mobile was $28 lower than that of desktop, $55 vs. $83.

Triggered Messages

  • Triggered messages—such as abandoned shopping cart and welcome emails—had a 2.5x higher average open rate in 2Q14 compared with general campaigns (38.9% vs. 15.1%).
  • Triggered messages also had a 2x higher average unique click rate compared with general campaigns (3.4% vs. 1.7%).

About the research: The report was based on email data collected by Yesmail between 2Q13 and 2Q14.

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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 Didi Tue Aug 26, 2014 via web

    Email is the way forward and email marketing is only getting stronger. It is one of the most powerful tools in a marketerís arsenal and if used correctly it can more than pay for itself (as the article shows). Here at InTouch we put a great emphasis on email marketing and all the how, when, what etc. Great post!

  • by Nik Mon Sep 8, 2014 via web

    Good research, thank you! When all is said and done, if you are a good sender, you get very good results. And, I saw the best increase in my opens and click-throughs when I started using professionals (e-blasting) to create my emails with me and for me. They are dynamic, easy to read...

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