How To Leverage Email Marketing Benchmarks For Your Brand

Email marketing is without a doubt one of the most powerful digital marketing channels available to brands. With its 4,400% ROI, you can be sure that email marketing will do wonders for your brand’s revenue.

As of the year 2018, email marketing has more than 3.8 billion users worldwide. Furthermore, 73% of consumers prefer email when communicating with brands. This level of preference coupled with email’s high number of users makes email marketing an excellent driver of customer engagement.

But how can you tell if email marketing is effective for you. After all, even though email marketing is a proven digital marketing channel, its actual efficacy still varies from brand to brand.

One way to determine your email marketing is to do a comparison. Compare your email performance with that of competitors as well as brands outside your niche by using email marketing benchmarks as your guide.

Unsure on where to find email marketing benchmarks data? No worries. This article will help you get started and put your email marketing on a path toward improvement.

Email marketing benchmarks

Earlier this year, email service provider (ESP) Campaign Monitor published an email marketing benchmarks report.

The company collated and analyzed data from more than 30 billion emails across 4.2 million campaigns that were sent through their email platform in 2018. The result is an extensive report that can be helpful to any brand, regardless of their size, industry, or products offered.

Email marketing data for 2019

Interested to know how your emails are performing in contrast to your competitors? Here’s a glance at some of the data presented in Campaign Monitor’s report.

  • Industry averages

    1. Average open rate – 17.92%
    2. Average click-to-open rate – 14.10%
    3. Average click-through rate (CTR) – 2.69%
    4. Average unsubscribe rate – 0.17%
    5. Average bounce rate – 1.06%
  • Top industries based on open rate

    1. Nonprofit – 20.39%
    2. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting – 20.13%
    3. Government – 19.79%

  • Top industries based on click-to-open rate

    1. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting – 18.03%
    2. Media, Entertainment, and Publishing, 17.15%
    3. Real Estate, Design, and Construction – 16.47%

  • Industries with the highest unsubscribe rates

    1. Automotive and Aerospace – 0.22%
    2. Real Estate Agents, Brokers – 0.22%
    3. Logistics – 0.20%

  • Industries with the lowest unsubscribe rates

    1. Media, Entertainment, and Publishing – 0.10%
    2. Retail, Consumer Packed Goods – 0.12%
    3. Travel, Hospitality, and Leisure, Food and Beverage, and Financial Services – 0.16%

  • Best days to send your emails

    1. Highest open rate – Thursday
    2. Highest click-to-open rate – Saturday
    3. Highest click-through rate – Tuesday
    4. Lowest Unsubscribe rate – Sunday or Monday
    5. Lowest Bounce rate – Monday

  • Worst days to send your emails

    1. Lowest open rate – Sunday
    2. Lowest click-to-open rate – Monday
    3. Lowest click-through rate – Sunday 
    4. Highest unsubscribe – Wednesday
    5. Highest bounce rate- Friday

Taking advantage of benchmarks to improve your email performance

Using email marketing benchmarks from a wide range of industries, you can better evaluate your email performance relative to your competitors’ email performance. When you have concrete email data, it’s also much easier for you to determine which areas you need to improve on and how you’re going to implement those improvements.

Just like any aspect of your business, there is always room for improvement when it comes to your email marketing strategy. There’s always an opportunity to tweak certain elements in order to make things better for you and your subscribers.

Here are examples of basic, but highly beneficial, fixes you can apply to various areas of your email marketing.

  • Email open rate

Your email open rate refers to the percentage of recipients who opened your email.

According to the benchmarks, the average open rate for all industries is 17.92%. If your open rates are within this range, then you’re definitely doing something right.

The best way to increase your open rate is by enhancing your subject lines and preheader texts. They need to entice the subscriber to open your email.

Test your subject lines for length to see whether your subscribers respond to short subject lines or lengthy ones. You should also test for the content of your subject line by making two different offers (ex. Discount vs. Free Item). Use whichever offer gets more opens.

  • Email click-to-open rate

Your email click-to-open rate is the percentage of subscribers who opened your email and also clicked on a link or linked image within that email. It’s a metric that you can use to gauge the success of your campaign.

Benchmarks dictate that the average click-to-open rate for email is 14.10%. If you find your click-to-open rates slipping below this average, you can try and boost them with these tips.

  1. Use mobile-responsive email templates. This will ensure that your emails display properly on all types of devices. Using templates also makes it easier to craft different messages based on your specific requirements.
  2. Optimize your call-to-action (CTA). Use a button instead of a standard hypertext link and make it prominent and easy to click.
  3. Segment your list so that you can send more relevant emails to your subscribers.


  • Email unsubscribe rate

This metric represents the percentage of subscribers who opt out of receiving your emails.

Keeping an eye on your unsubscribe rate is important because it tells you how relevant your campaigns are to your subscribers. If you have a high number of unsubscribes, it usually means that your subscribers are losing interest in your campaigns.

You can avoid unsubscribes by maintaining a healthy list. Use the double opt-in method and confirm with your subscribers that they actually want to sign up to receive communications before adding them to your list. This eliminates any invalid emails from being added and enables you to grow an engaged list of subscribers.


Email benchmark data can definitely help you enhance your email marketing strategy. When you compare your own email data with the email benchmarks, you’ll know if your strategy needs some work.

Say your niche is nonprofit and your current open rate hovers around 12%, which is significantly below the industry benchmark of 20.39%. This immediately tells you that you need to make adjustments to your emails in order to increase open rates.

If you want to read the report in its entirety and get more tips on how you can maximize your email marketing, check out Campaign Monitor’s Email Marketing Benchmarks 2019 Guide.

Author Bio:

Ash Salleh is the Director of SEO at Campaign Monitor, where he works closely with content, copy, and analytics teams to improve site-wide optimization. Prior to his time at Campaign Monitor, he also provided SEO and digital marketing expertise at Zappos and Axiata Digital.

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