Happy Friday: That Day Pulled Highest Email Open, Click Rates

Email volume jumped by 7% in 2020, but there were marked changes in engagement, according to "The Ultimate Email Benchmarks For 2021," a report by Campaign Monitor. 

For one, the percentage of emails opened on mobile devices dropped from 63% to 54% as people spent less time commuting and waiting on lines at Starbucks for coffee.   

For another, Friday saw the highest open and click-through rates: 18.90% and 2.70%. Conventional wisdom had been that Tuesday to Thursday were the top days. And now Friday was tied with Wednesday for the highest click-to-open.  

Why was Friday suddenly the leader? 

“While we can’t say exactly why this is, we can say that the way people have historically engaged with email has been significantly disrupted,” the study notes. 

Whatever the day, email metrics surged last year, with open rates rising by over 13%. The average benchmarks were: 

  • Open rate--18% 
  • Click-through rate—2.6%
  • Click-to-Open rate—14.1% 
  • Unsubscribe—0.1%



Note: The click-to-open rate fell slightly YoY. 

Among verticals, the Government and Politics sector enjoyed the highest average open rate: 26.70%, followed by nonprofits, with 25.50%.  

Government & Politics also drew the highest click-through rate, a 50% increase over the prior year, and best click-to-open rate 22.40%) -- all this despite seeing a decrease in open rates.  

Of course, 2020 was an election year. We will see if those metrics hold up in 2021. 

This report is based on an analysis of 100 billion emails sent globally by CM Group’s brands, including Campaign Monitor, Delivra, Emma, Liveclicker, Sailthru, Selligent, and Vuture.

The company tracked an extra 1 billion emails per month, and 1.5 billion from March to July. 

The overall growth in volume was in contrast with 2.5% from 2018 to 2019. 

In another positive indicator, unsubscribe rate rates were flat. In fact, the Retail and Media, Entertainment & Publishing sectors saw 0% rates. 

“While no list will truly experience a 0% unsubscribe rate, this average proves that Retail and Media, Entertainment, & Publishing are doing something right when it comes to keeping their audiences engaged,” the study notes. 

At the opposite end, the Wellness & Fitness area suffered a .40% unsubscribe rate, and the Healthcare Services and Logistics & Wholesale categories each saw .30%. 

The Real Estate, Design & Construction Activities sector achieve a 17.70% click-to-open ratio. The Media, Entertainment & Publishing area achieved a 17.50% rate; Education, 17.30% rate; and Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting 17%. 

The major takeaway from all this?

“Not only was email a trustworthy and reliable communication channel for businesses to connect with customers throughout the pandemic, but there was also increased importance for sales, engagement and content marketing,” concludes Lane Harbin, director of marketing at Campaign Monitor.

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