Pandemic Email Flurry: Send And Open Rates Rose in April

Maybe it’s because they have nothing to do when sheltering in place, but people are opening the marketing emails they get. 

There was a four-point increase in opens in March and April compared with the same period in 2019, Campaign Monitor reports in Email Marketing Benchmarks COVID-19 Edition.

In April, the highest open rate was achieved by the Government Industry category: 39.5%, a 7.8% increase YoY. Education was next, with 32.5%, a 9.6% improvement over the same period in 2019.

Automotive and Aerospace pulled only a relatively poor 13.4% rate, a 1.22% decline from last year.

Overall, the average email benchmarks in April totaled:

  • Open: 21.2% 
  • Click-through: 3.10% 
  • Click-to-open:14.6%
  • Unsubscribe: 0.14% 
  • Bounce:0.86%.

In March, send volumes rose only 0.06% year-over-year. And the volume was 3.75 below that of the month between November 20 and December 20,2019.



However, March send volumes were up 19% over those o February. But there was a nearly 16% increase in opens from February to March. And that increased by 4% going into April. 

As in April, vital industries such as healthcare, finance and nonprofits sent more in March, and they saw  increased open rates and a 38% drop in unsubscribes YoY. 

Government also pulled the highest open rate — 41.5% — despite sending 25% more emails than it did in March 2019. And the unsubscribe rate dropped. 

The study notes that subscribers to government senders “are eager to see the latest news, even when there isn’t necessarily something for them to click or act on.” 

Next in opens in March was Education, with 36%. Financial services generated a 26.9% rate, healthcare 25.6% and Logistics and Consumer Packaged Goods 16%. 

However, the highest click-to-open rates was seen in the Media, Entertaining and Publishing field: 16.6%. Retail saw a 13.3% rate and Healthcare 13.1%. 

Why is Media and Publishing drawing that kind of engagement?

“Media audiences are engaged and eager to consume news, entertainment, and media,” the study notes. “If brands in this sector can lean on revenue streams outside of advertising, they certainly have an audience to help them stay afloat.”

Overall, the average email benchmarks for March were:

  • Open rate — 21.7%
  • Click-through rate — 2.78%
  • Click-to-open — 12.8%
  • Unsubscribe — 0.13%
  • Bounce rate — 0.71%.

Need some pointers on when to mail? Here are the metrics for the best days: 

  • Highest opens —Friday (22.2%) and Mondays (22%)
  • Highest click-through rates — Wednesday (1.01%, Monday (93%) and Friday 2.97%) 
  • Highest Click-to-open rates — Sunday (14.7%, Saturday (14.1%) and Wednesday (13.8%) 
  • Lowest unsubscribe rates — Sunday (0.1%), Saturday (0.11%) and Monday 0.13% 


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