Benchmark Beaters: Email Open And Click-through Rates Jump Worldwide

Email metrics took a big leap in 2018 and seem to be on track for similar growth this year. But transactional emails declined slightly, according to the 2019 Marketing Benchmark Report, a study by Acoustic, a cloud provider that separated from IBM in July.  

Acoustic analyzed metrics from brands in more than 40 countries.

It found that overall open rates averaged 24% in 2018, compared with 21% in 2014. Click-throughs hit 3.8%, up from 3.2% four years earlier.

Acoustic attributes these improvements to better list hygiene and more relevant messaging, perhaps driven by GDPR and other regulations.

“Marketers were initially skeptical of privacy and data regulations like GDPR in the UK and CASL in Canada, since they restrict how brands may gain access to and use customer data,” states Loren McDonald, program director of market research, Acoustic.

However, “our data shows that these regulations are actually improving results by driving change within marketing organizations, many of which are becoming more focused on consumer trust and the customer experience,” McDonald adds.



The report also shows a slight decline in transactional email metrics. But the top quartile rate still tops 75% and the mean rate is 44% — 20% higher than the rate for non-transactional emails.

Meanwhile, fewer people are opening emails on their mobile devices. Overall, the usage rate for this category dropped from 49.3% in 2017 to 44.3%. The rate for those opening on webmail declined from 40%.

For marketing emails, Canada achieved the highest mean open rate of 37.2%, compared to 24.7% in the U.S. and 24.4% in the UK and Ireland.

The U.S. also lagged in click-throughs, achieving a mean rate of 3.6%, versus 5.0% for Canada. But the U.S. saw the strongest growth year-over-year, at 20%.

The automotive sector drew the highest mean click-through rate — 10%, followed by computer hardware & telecommunications (7.3%), energy & environmental (6.5%) and consumer products & services (5.6%).

Ecommerce was near the bottom with a 3.0% rate, followed by nonprofits with 2.8%.

The insurance industry pulled the highest opens per opens rate — that is, the number of times the recipient opens the email: 4.2%.

In contrast, corporate service and industrial manufacturing & services each generated a 3.4% rate. Next were media & publishing (2.0%), retail & ecommerce (1.9%) and leisure, sports & recreation (1.9%).

The media & publishing category enjoyed the lowest hard bounce rate: 0.16%, versus 1.07% or consumer products & services. This may due to the fact that brands in the field send emails around five times per week — higher frequency results in lower hard bounce rates, Acoustic says.

Not all recipients were happy with the emails they were sent last year. The marketing & advertising industry had the highest mean abuse complaint rate (0.026%) followed by automotive (0.025%), real estate, construction & building products (0.0021)%.

The overall mean unsubscribe rate is 0.11%. But the Middle East & Africa hits 0.22%. In general, the real estate industry pulls the highest rate (0.20%), compared with a low of 0.05% for the energy & environmental field.


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