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Average Open Rate

An average open rate is a measure of how many email recipients open an email as compared to the total number of emails delivered within a campaign. You can typically access this metric through reporting features with your email service provider.

Otherwise, to determine an email open rate, first, subtract the total bounced emails from the total emails delivered. Then divide that number by the total emails opened. An average email open rate can vary based on the targeted audience’s industry; however, a generally accepted percentage for an email campaign success open rate is 15%-25%.

While there is no shortage of benchmarks numbers, there are certainly some broad trends in open rates.

  • As list size goes up, the open rate tends to fall.
  • Companies and organizations that focus on enthusiasts and supporters, like churches, sports teams, and non profits see higher open rates.
  • Typically, more specific niche topics—like some manufacturing—also have higher open rates than emails on broader topics.

And although each industry does report different open rates that determine success, there are some tried and true best practices you can follow to increase your open rates.

  1. Improve your subject lines: The number one way to improve your open rates is to enhance your subject line. This—along with your preheader text and sender name—is the first thing your recipient will see before deciding to open your email.
  2. Test, test, test: It’s so easy to test elements of your email. Utilize your email service provider’s A/B testing features to try out different approaches. Or try out an idea with one campaign, then send a similar type of email with a changed variable after a few days or weeks and measure the difference in engagement.
  3. Optimize for previews: There are two big factors here. First, most inboxes show preheader text next to or below the subject line. This was originally implemented to let you see what the first line of the email is, helping you decide whether you should open it or not. With many email service providers, you can change the preheader text to influence what the reader sees about your content before they open.

Deliver relevant content: Still looking to improve your open rate? After you’ve optimized all the face-value elements of your campaigns, the remaining contributor to low open rates is relevancy. Pure and simple, your audience wants to see things they’re interested in. Opening even just a few irrelevant or trivial emails from a company can make a recipient lose interest. And it’s exponentially harder to inspire an email open from someone disinterested in your content.

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