Bad-News Benchmarks: Email Engagement Rates Have Fallen Worldwide

Emails with personalized subject lines now get lower open rates than emails without them. 

Specifically, personalized messages pull 18.79%, versus 22.14% for the emails that lack personalization, according to the 2022 Email Marketing Benchmark by GetResponse. Reports from prior years show the opposite trend. 

That’s one piece of news in the study, which reports declining engagement overall. 

Globally, the average open rate decreased from 22.15% to 22.02%, but the drop in click-through rates fell more — from 3.43% to 2.13%.

The reason for these drops? It could be the tone of the communications. But conversion rates were not as bad as they were in the previous report.

Last time, GetResponse saw a dip in conversion across all industries and an overall average of 2.96%. The firm suspected this was off, so it reevaluated its sample selection-page criteria, looking only at landing pages that were reported in 2021, not just active ones. This time, the average landing page conversion rate was 17.15%. 



We have two caveats about these findings. First, they cover the year 2021, but not 2022. And they cover only activity of GetResponse clients. 

The company analyzed almost 7 billion messages out of over 35 billion emails its customers sent throughout 2021, looking only at active senders with at least 1,000 contacts. 

“This year's report proved that automated emails achieve much better results,” says Aleksandra Korczynska, CMO at GetResponse. 

“I like to think that it's actually about value,” Korczynska says. “I believe that customers who use automation tend to segment their contact lists and know the needs and preferences of their audience. As a result, they send relevant communication that translates into a higher engagement.” 

But what about Apple’s Mail Privacy Policy? 

“Between September and November 2021, changes in the Apple privacy policy started rolling out,” Korczynska notes. “In 2022 Google adopted new privacy changes for Android. While we'll need to wait for the next report update to see the long-term consequences, we can expect a higher open rate that's not followed by an increase in click-through rate.”

While they did decrease, average engagement metrics were stable between January and August.

In September, the firm started to see an increase in email opens — about 1 to 2 percentage points that could have been explained by Back to School, Halloween or Black Friday. It was not followed by an increase in the click-through rates.

Korczynska recommends updating your email marketing strategy.” Make sure that the click-through rate is driving your email KPIs. In the long run, this change will have a positive effect as you'll focus on a metric that has a much more significant impact on conversion.” 

Contrary to what many believe, government regulation doesn’t necessarily hurt. 

Four of the five top-performing countries — France, Netherlands, Belgium and Germany — are regulated by the GDPR. And Canada and the U.S., which have the highest click-through rates, are governed by such laws as CCPA and CASL.

Marketers should ask themselves how their rates are holding up.

North America pulls the following average metrics:

  • Open rate — 23.53%
  • Click-through — 3.86
  • Click-to-open rate — 16.40%
  • Unsubscribe — 0.10%
  • Spam rate — 0.01%
  • Bounce rate — 3.42%

Globally, the averages are: 

  • Open rate — 19.66%
  • Click-through rate — 2.02%
  • Click-to-open rate — 9.94%
  • Unsubscribe rate — 0.11%
  • Spam rate — 0.01%
  • Bounce rate — 2.76%

By industry, the top five-performing sectors included Nonprofits, Restaurants & Food, Automotive, Real Estate, and Arts & Entertainment — largely a repeat of prior years. 

And, as in the past, Internet Marketing places last in the rankings.


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