Open Rates Rated -- How Do You Compare?

How do I break it to you? Perhaps with the old adage that as builders always joke, plumbers' kitchens always have the worst pipes? No -- that probably doesn't help, so let's just come out with it. When it comes to having its sales emails opened, the advertising and marketing industry is far and away the worst among more than twenty surveyed by Hubspot. Just one in four messages sent out by this industry are usually opened, compared to nearly half (47%) of those dished out by the arts and entertainment industry, which proudly occupies the top spot.

Asking why this might be the case exposes all of us in this game to an uncomfortable truth, but let's not let an inconvenient fact get in the way. There's no real reason given with the figures, but there's a pretty obvious answer, isn't there? People want to open sales offers from the arts and entertainment industry because they're interested in them. They are usually themed around what we can do in our hard-earned leisure time, whether it's the latest show to come to the West End or the latest Star Wars movie hitting the local Odeon. 

Contrast that with an executive within advertising or marketing touting around for business and it's not too hard to see why interest in Lady Gaga releasing tour dates might just be twice as appealing to the recipient.

I have to say the overall figure of 37% of sales emails across all industries being opened seemed pretty high to me. Once that is noted, however, it's time to see which industries are getting it right and which are getting it wrong. To be honest, the league table for open rates pretty much reads as you would expect it to. The industries at the top are those that we are usually interested in and have a need to interact with. That's why we have construction, HR, real estate, shopping, beauty, and fitness and hospitality all making up the top ten. These are industries that people have a genuine interest in, which isn't limited to a particular time in the life, or a particular season. These are year-long interests.

Interestingly, then, although a lot of people are car-mad, car emails are two-thirds of the way down the list. A good reason for this might be that we all love cars, but we're only in-market and looking for info on a new model every couple or three years. We can go to a gig every month and keep a weekly eye on local house prices, but cars are not a common purchase -- and to underscore the point, computers are around the same position in the table as the auto industry. Sure, we're all interested in them -- it's just that we're not too bothered until we need to make a purchase every second or third year or so.

This could explain why travel is in penultimate position on the league table, only marginally beating our very own marketing and advertising industry. Now, I've never met a single soul who doesn't like traveling and taking holidays, but again, once you're booked up, you've really got no need to wade through the endless offers to book getaways you can't afford and don't have time for.

So I think email marketers are off the hook on this one. There's no need to put on a hair shirt if your industry is low down in the open rate league table because you could almost pick the top ten yourself by simply asking which areas are consumers already most interested in and which have scope for repeat research and purchases. In other words, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy that entertainment would lead the pack when so many people want to be entertained so frequently. The fact that travel is so popular but so far down the open rate league shows that a low frequency of purchases means the sector could never hope to do much better. 

As for marketing and advertising propping up every other industry, right down there at the bottom -- well, shall we just say it's a bit like travel. A popular industry, but one where decisions are made and long-term strategies set, meaning not every latest offer and automation tool launch will excite? Yes, let's leave it at that.

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