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Email is an essential component of marketing and communications for publishers and media brands. Not only is it hugely effective for promoting content; email has also evolved to be a media channel in its own right; a platform for sharing news, entertainment, art, and commentary directly to subscribers.

As such, it’s hugely important for these brands to closely monitor their own email performance and trends across the industry to make sure they’re staying on top of what content consumers want. By comparing your own email key performance indicators against other media and publishers, you can make sure you’re not falling behind in the never-ending war for attention and eyeballs.

Find out where you rank. Click here to get your email marketing score.

We analyzed billions of emails sent by CM Group customers around the globe in 2020 to equip you with the publisher and media email marketing statistics you need to evaluate your own email marketing results.

This year was defined by rapid change and unexpected developments. Media, publishers, and consumers alike dramatically changed the way they used email compared to previous years. These adaptations are fascinating, and the data reflects how brands and users are adapting to new circumstances and relying more than ever on reliable, familiar technology like email in a time of uncertainty.

Join us as we talk with Kabir Seth from the Wall Street Journal about how they use automation to create personalized messages for a global audience.

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Automating Engagement: How the Wall Street Journal Makes Content Connections Personal


Chapter 1

Comparing email benchmarks across industries


Average email benchmarks for publishers and media companies

Publisher and media email marketing statistics at a glance

  • Average open rate: 21.30%
  • Average click-through rate: 3.70%
  • Average click-to-open rate: 17.50%
  • Average unsubscribe rate: 0.00%

media and publisher KPI summary

Here’s how these important publisher and media email KPIs compare to the average for these email marketing statistics globally. When you look at your own email marketing reports, how well do your metrics compare?

media email marketing comparison

Across all core email KPIs, the Media and Publishing industries perform significantly better than the aggregate average of all emails sent last year. View the complete 2021 Global Email Marketing Benchmarks report for a more comprehensive analysis of overall email marketing statistics last year.

Get your score

How do your email campaigns really stack up against the competition? Complete the form and we’ll provide you with an in-depth analysis of your program and where it stands.

Chapter 2

Email benchmarks by day

Average publisher and media email benchmarks by day

Here’s how emails sent by brands in these industries performed, on average, by day of the week.

publisher email statistics by day

The best days for publisher and media email marketing

A closer look at 2020 email marketing statistics for publishers by day shows a new trend emerging. For the first time, Friday is now delivering the best overall performance for emails sent by media and publishers around the world.

  • Best day with highest email open rates: Friday (22.10%)
  • Best day with highest click-through rates: Friday (4.30%)
  • Best days with highest click-to-open rates: Friday (19.20%)

Friday is the best day for email marketing

But that doesn’t mean you should reschedule all your campaigns for Friday. Every brand, and every audience, behaves a little differently—and there are other days of the week that aren’t far behind in performance. Get a further analysis of what’s driving this trend, and how you should react, in the complete 2021 Publisher and Media Benchmarks Analysis.

Download the guide

2021 Email Benchmarks: Media and Publishers

Worst days for media and publisher email marketing

Based on the global averages by day shown above, these are the worst-performing days to deploy your campaigns. 

Another word of caution: while this data is academically interesting, you should carefully consider your own audience and run email tests before blocking entire days off your campaign calendar.

  • Worst day with lowest email open rates: Saturday (20.40%)
  • Worst days with lowest click-through rates: Thursday (3.20%)
  • Worst day with lowest click-to-open rates: Thursday (15.30%)
Chapter 3

Compare benchmarks by month

Seasonality can also have a significant impact on email marketing statistics for publishers and media brands. How do these trends compare to your annual report?

email marketing trends by month for publishers and media

We’ll be taking deeper dives into regional email marketing results statistics throughout the year – stay tuned!

Chapter 4

Improving your email marketing metrics

Whether you’re ahead of the back or a little bit below benchmark, there’s always room to improve. Review the Ultimate Email Marketing Benchmarks for 2021: By Industry and Day for a breakdown of each metric and how to improve it.

Email growth and improvement for publishers and media

Whether you need to grow your list size, get more eyes on your emails, or drive more traffic to your content portals, we’ve got you covered. Find the actionable advice from experts, data-backed insights, and handy resources you need to grow your media empire in our Digital Media and Publishing Collection.

Browse the Collection

Real media and publisher email success stories

Learn how spunky startups and established moguls are using email to drive revenue, solve business problems, and engage with subscribers one on one. Get inspired by high-achieving brands like Girlboss, The Gist, and 1440 Media.

Explore Media and Publisher Case Studies

Chapter 5

Next steps to improve your email marketing

Wrap up

In a time of change and unexpected challenges, subscribers have turned to the inbox for information and entertainment. Publishers and media brands across the board have stepped up, earning some of their best metrics in years and outstripping many other industries. 

Email marketing continues to perform well, bringing in major ROI for brands. Owning your data and connecting with customers where they already are—in their inboxes—can be huge factors when it comes time to measure the success of your marketing methods.

Learn how Campaign Monitor is perfectly suited to help your publication or media company quickly and easily engage your audience

Methodology and notes about terminology

Note that the Media and Publisher industry we study here is not the same as the Media, Entertainment, and Publisher industry from the 2021 Global Email Benchmarks Report. The analysis on this page excludes emails sent by the entertainment industry for a more refined and focused exploration of the data.

Whenever you see us discussing “Averages,” we find these averages using all campaigns. Some industries send more emails than others, so we calculate averages by all campaigns sent, regardless of industry.

To read up on what each metric means and how it’s calculated, visit this post.

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