Is Q3 Where You Want To Be? Email Metrics Went Up -- But So Did Unsubscribes

Unique email open rates rose by 4.4% to 21.7% in the third quarter and unique click rates by 2.4%, compared to Q3 of 2019, according to the Email & Mobile Benchmark Report, a study by Cheetah Digital.

But your brand may not be getting those results, depending on your vertical. 

Perhaps reflecting a 9.9% increase in volume, the overall unsubscribe rate rose to 0.12%, a 32.5% hike over 2019.

Transaction rates decreased from 0.04% to 0.03% YoY, but revenue per email remained steady at 0.05%. The average order value leaped from $165 to $229. 

And while the unique opens and clicks rose, the click-to-open rate fell by 4.4% to 10.7%. 

These results reflect the key performance indicators seen by Cheetah Digital clients. 

How does your brand compare?

Here are the results for the individual verticals:  


Unique open rates rose by 10.8%, with 88% of brands showing a statistically significant increase. And unique click rates had a modes 0.3% increase, with 59% of brands showing a large jump. The unsubscribe rate was 0.12%, reflecting a 19.6% hike, while volume fell by 13%.




The media industry showed a 74% increase in volume. Perhaps predictable, the unsubscribe rate went up by 156.2% to 0.12%. Unique opens rose by 3% to 21.3%, but only 47% of brands had statistically major increases. Unique clicks totaled 3.0%, versus 3.1% last year. 


Retail showed a 2.8% decrease in volume, and an unsubscribe rate off 0.10%, essentially flat with last year. The unique open rate rose by 0.06%, to 16.2%, but only 41% of brands achieved a statistically significant hike. The unique click rate totaled 1.8%, almost identical with that of 2019, but only 45% brands saw a big leap. The transaction rate decreased by 24% to 0.03%, but 46% of retail brands enjoyed significant increases. 


The service field, including internet, home security and virtual event services, generated an 11% decrease in volume. But it still pulled a 31.4% jump in unsubscribe rate to 0.17%. Still, service firms pulled a 29% jump in unique opens—to 35%--and 69% saw a significant increase, with rate change mailings pulling the highest open rates. Unique clicks fell from 2.1% to 19%, and only 46% had a big increase. 


Hit hard by the pandemic, this field had a 20% volume decrease, although volume for July and September was within 10% of the 2019 totals. Travel suffered a 6.3% in unique opens to 22.7%. And unique clicks dropped by 28% to 1.6%. The unsubscribe rate rose by a whopping 90.7% to 0.13%.

Meanwhile, 42.1% of all opens occurred on mobile devices, with retail leading the way:

  • Finance—39.1% 
  • Media—35.1% 
  • Retail—47.3%
  • Service—42.5%
  • Travel—41.8%

Similarly, 54% of clicks were done on mobile devices. 



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