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Introduction

We analysed billions of emails sent throughout the UK to discover exactly how email marketing performs for each industry in the region.

Email marketing is one of the most powerful channels available to businesses today. In fact, it’s one of the few equalizers in marketing: Regardless of how big your business or your budget, everyone can create an email marketing program that delivers a stellar experience and value right to their subscribers’ inboxes. But how do you know if your email marketing stacks up against the competition?

These average benchmarks—culled from real campaign data from millions of campaigns sent with Campaign Monitor—will tell you how email marketing within your specific industry should perform and show you where you can improve, where you’re excelling, and where your specific audience differs from the crowd.

Chapter 1

Email benchmarks by day and industry

We analysed billions of emails sent through millions of campaigns from organisations in the UK to find the average metrics specific to each industry, as well as specific to each day of the week. This means you can find averages relevant to you and your niche instead of looking at generic averages that might not be beneficial to you or your program.

Remember each audience is specific; so while your audience might not respond the same way to every email as these averages will have you expect, these benchmarks allow you to see where you should set your goals and where your metrics are way off the mark.

Read on to discover how email marketing performed throughout the UK in 2018.

Average email benchmarks for all UK industries

  • Average open rate: 18.0%
  • Average click-through rate: 0.9%
  • Average click-to-open rate: 13.2%
  • Average unsubscribe rate: 2.4%
  • Average bounce rate: 0.2%

UK industry averages for open, click-through, click-to-open, unsubscribe, and bounce rates

UK email open rates by industry and by day of the week

UK email click-through rates by industry and by day of the week

UK email click-to-open rates by industry and by day of the week

UK email unsubscribe rates by industry and by day of the week

UK email bounce rates by industry and by day of the week

So what does this mean for you? These are the key takeaways that should inform your email marketing program as you design your next send as a UK organisation.

Chapter 2

Best days for email marketing

  • Best day for highest email open rates: Monday
  • Best days for highest click-through rates: Tuesday
  • Best days for highest click-to-open rates: Wednesday
  • Best day for lowest unsubscribe rates: Thursday

for the UK, average best days for opens is Monday, best for clicks is Tuesday, best for click to opens is wednesday, and best for unsubscribes is thursday. bounces are equal on all days.

Chapter 3

Worst days for email marketing

  • Worst day for lowest email open rates: Saturday
  • Worst day for lowest click-through rates: Wednesday
  • Worst day for lowest click-to-open rates: Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday
  • Worst day for highest unsubscribe rates: Wednesday
  • Worst day for highest bounce rates: Tuesday

in the UK, average worst days to send for opens is Saturday, for clicks is Wednesday, for click to opens is tied between Sunday, Saturday, and Thursday, for bounces is Tuesday, and for unsubscribes is Wednesday

Chapter 4

Top industries by open rates

  1. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting (33.6%)
  2. Government (26.5%)
  3. Nonprofit (25.6%)
  4. Engineering, Architecture, and Design (22.2%)
  5. A tie between Logistics and Wholesale & Real Estate, Design, and Construction Activities (21.3%)

top 3 industries ranked in terms of average open rates in UK

Chapter 5

Top industries by click-through rates

  1. Logistics and Wholesale (3.5%)
  2. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting (2.2%)
  3. Construction, Contracting, and Manufacturing (2.1%)
  4. Other (1.7%)
  5. Engineering, Architecture, and Design (1.6%)

top 3 industries in the UK ranked in terms of best click-through rates

Chapter 6

Top industries by click-to-open rates

  1. Real Estate, Design, and Construction Activities (19.3%)
  2. Media, Entertainment, and Publishing (16.9%)
  3. Government (16.7%)
  4. Retail (16.6%)
  5. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting (14.4%)

top 3 industries in the UK ranked in terms of best click-to-open rates

Chapter 7

Understanding email marketing metrics and how to improve yours

Email open rate

The number of email opens divided by the total emails that reached an inbox will give you your open rate.

While open rates vary from email to email, you can see an improvement in your open rates by varying the content included in the email and the subject line (and don’t forget the preheader text) you used. We found an average open rate of 18% in the UK.

Open rates way below average? Here’s how to improve your metrics:

  • Use your subject lines and preheader text together to craft tempting and enticing previews of your emails.
  • Test, test, test to find the tone of subject lines, content, etc. that inspires your audience to open your emails.
  • Find the best day and time to send email campaigns to your specific audience.
  • Segment your list so you only send the most relevant content to each of your subscribers.

Explore more resources on open rates >>

Email click-through rate

The number of subscribers who click on a link, button, or image in your email divided by the total number of emails that have been delivered will give you the click-through rate.

This metric can illuminate what type of content, images, and CTAs most resonate with your subscribers. When you know what content receives the greatest engagement, you can tailor your next email to deliver more of the content your audience prefers.

We found a click-through rate of 0.9%.

How to improve your email click-through rate:

  • Study what links and images receive the most clicks to discover the content your audience is most interested in.
  • Segment your list into separate groups based on the type of content that leads to the greatest engagement so you can create more specific emails.
  • Ensure your CTAs contain clear, direct copy, then improve the design.
  • Optimise your CTAs by including the right amount of links—not too many and not too few.

Explore more resources on click-through rates >>

Email click-to-open rate

While the click-to-open rate is similar to the click-through rate, they aren’t the same. The click-to-open rate finds the percentage of people who click through an email out of the number of opens, instead of the total number of emails delivered.

Click-to-open rates measure how effective the content of your email actually is, since this is the percent of people who click through after viewing your email.

We found an average email click-to-open rate of 13.2%.

How to improve your email click-to-open rate:

  • Automate your emails to send exactly what your subscribers want at the precise moment they want or need the email.
  • Personalise your content through better segmentation.
  • Optimise your emails for conversions on mobile devices as well as desktops.
  • Test your CTAs to discover what design, copy, and offers receive the most engagement from your subscribers.

Explore more resources on click-to-open rates >>

Unsubscribe rate

While it’s important to remember that some list churn is normal, healthy, and inevitable, keep striving for the smallest unsubscribe rate possible. An unsubscribe happens when someone who has been receiving your emails decides to opt out, asking to be removed from your email marketing list.

A higher-than-average unsubscribe rate can reveal that your audience no longer finds your content valuable enough to allow you into their inboxes and tell you it’s time to overhaul your email marketing strategy.

We found an average unsubscribe rate of 2.4%.

If you need to overhaul your strategy, here’s how you can improve your email unsubscribe rate:

  • Build your list with quality subscribers.
  • Design a welcome series that will acclimate subscribers to your email program, explaining exactly what they can expect to receive and how often.
  • Maintain a consistent send cadence so your subscribers don’t forget subscribing to your email list.
  • Maintain the quality of your email list by sending re-engagement campaigns and providing an in-depth preference center.

Explore more resources on unsubscribe rates >>

Email bounce rate

The term “bounce” refers to an email that could not be delivered, whether because of temporary delivery issues or permanent problems with the contact.

Whether the email experienced a hard or soft bounce, your bounce rate is the percentage of subscribers who did not receive your message in their inbox.

We found an average bounce rate of 0.2%.

If your bounce rate is above the average bounce rate, here’s what you can do to improve:

  • Clean your list by running a re-engagement campaign.
  • Remove permanently bounced email addresses from your list.
  • Suppress previous bounces.
  • Use a double opt-in to avoid spam signups.
  • Never use purchased lists.

Explore more resources on bounce rates >>

Email deliverability

Poor email deliverability can have disastrous results for your email marketing program. If your deliverability gets bad enough, you can even wind up on blacklists and not able to send email at all. Even if your deliverability issues aren’t that extreme, poor deliverability can still reduce your open rates and ultimately your conversions because your emails won’t land in your subscribers’ inboxes.

Poor engagement, being marked as spam, and bounces will all bring down your deliverability.

If you see poor engagement, here’s how to improve your email deliverability:

  • Make sure your ESP has proven deliverability and familiarise yourself with your ESP’s rules and regulations.
  • Improve your engagement in order to prove to email clients that your emails are valuable to recipients.
  • Always use double opt-in to ensure only real email addresses remain on your list.
  • Choose an email cadence based on your open rates and stick to it.
  • Make your unsubscribe process easy so subscribers aren’t tempted to mark your emails as spam.

Explore more resources on deliverability >>

Wrap up

Takeaways to improve your email marketing metrics

Your email metrics might not be exactly where these benchmarks are—and that’s okay! Every audience is different. The best way to understand whether you should be aiming for these benchmarks—or higher—is to measure how your metrics shift over time.

Even if your email marketing metrics are already hitting these benchmarks, you can still use these tactics to improve your metrics in the future. For instance, when you test your subject lines, you should still see a higher open rate as you refine the tone and type of subject lines that resonate most with your audience.

These benchmarks are meant to reveal the overall health of your email marketing by showing you where your program stands when compared with your industry averages. However, studying how your metrics have changed since implementing more email marketing best practices will show you how to refine your strategy for greater and greater success.

Your audience is specific to your niche, your industry, and your branding. By testing your content, offers, design, and strategy, you’ll be able to see what results in the greatest results for your company.

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