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Introduction

We analyzed billions of emails sent in the United States between January and December 2019. These campaigns were sent to subscribers around the world from United States businesses and nonprofits using Campaign Monitor.

We’ve compiled all that data into a single, comprehensive resource, so anyone doing email marketing in or for America can study industry averages and measure how their email marketing strategy compares.

We’ve broken down these averages by industry as well as by day, so you can get into the nitty-gritty of the metrics.

Campaign Monitor published global benchmark findings for 2019 and used the US-specific data from the global report to provide year-over-year comparisons.

This is the first year that Campaign Monitor is publishing a standalone report for the US market.

Key takeaways

Marketers in the United States have a number of channels they’re working with on a daily basis. But email marketing continues to be a major part of how these professionals communicate and connect with their customers and prospects.

Our benchmarks suggest that, while we’ve seen some changes occur in relation to individual industries, we’ve seen steady averages with minimal decreases for specific metrics.

01 | 2020 Open rates and unsubscribe rates remain steady.

While benchmarks vary from industry to industry, we’ve seen a steady rate among US email open rates and unsubscribes. We can infer that subscribers continue only to open emails and subscribe to lists that are relevant to them, promoted by robust preference centers and re-engagement campaigns.

02 | Construction, Contracting, and Manufacturing saw a huge spike in click-through rates this year.

Last year, Construction, Contracting, and Manufacturing was an industry that didn’t even make it to top three for best click-through rates. This year, it holds the top place. Make sure to scan the charts below to see how your industry has changed.

03 | Major changes have happened for the best and worst days for email: Tuesdays and Thursdays sweep for best opens and clicks.

In our 2019 data, we saw Sunday was the best day for clicks. This year, it’s become an unpopular day for email. Reasons behind the change are unclear, but our data explores more new trends by showing which days promise high opens and clicks, as well as low bounces and unsubscribes.

04 | Click rates are seeing decreases, but so are bounce rates.

We’ve seen decreases in multiple metrics, including click-through rates, click-to-open rates, and bounce rates. Click-to-open rates have experienced the biggest drop. While lower bounce rates are positive, decreased clicks could be problematic. However, as email use grows globally, this trend could continue.

05 | We saw dramatic open rate decreases in Real Estate and Government, but their other metrics have improved.

We saw some dramatic open rate decreases in some industries, like Real Estate and Government, but their other metrics have improved. A decrease in open rates doesn’t necessarily mean a decrease in other metrics: In fact, this may suggest higher engagement for those who are opening.

06 | Government, Media, Entertainment and Publishing remain at the top for best-performing industries.

The Government industry and the Media, Entertainment, and Publishing industry continue to be among the highest performers across the board. This suggests a high level of engagement from their subscribers.

07 | US vs Global: Government emails garner engagement, in the US and globally; meanwhile, Media, Entertainment and Publishing performs better in US for clicks.

In comparing US 2020 benchmark results to our 2020 global results, we see that Government emails continue to attract engagement, such as opens and click-throughs, meaning these messages hold weight on a worldwide scale. Alternatively, it appears other industries, such as Media, Entertainment and Publishing, are more popular for specific audiences: in this case, the US audience.

Chapter 1

US email benchmarks by industry

Average email benchmarks for all industries in the US

Here are the average benchmarks for US senders at a high level.

  • Average open rate: 17%
  • Average click-through rate: 2.5%
  • Average click-to-open rate: 14.8%
  • Average unsubscribe rate: 0.1%
  • Average bounce rate: 0.6%

Email benchmarks for all industries in the US

Check out the data below to discover how your key metrics perform relative to other US companies in your industry.

chart showing average metrics by industries in the US for open, click-through, click-to-open, unsubscribe, and open rates

Open rates for all industries by day in the US

This chart examines open rates specifically, showing rates by day of the week and US industries.

chart showing open rate averages by industries in the US by day of the week

Click-through rates for all industries by day in the US

This chart examines click-through rates specifically, showing rates by day of the week and US industries.

chart showing click-through rate averages by industries in the US by day of the week

Click-to-open rates for all industries by day in the US

This chart examines click-to-open rates specifically, showing rates by day of the week and US industries.

chart showing click-to-open rate averages by industries in the US by day of the week

Unsubscribe rates for all industries by day in the US

This chart examines unsubscribe rates specifically, showing rates by day of the week and US industries.

chart showing unsubscribe rate averages by industries in the US by day of the week

Bounce rates for all industries by day in the US

This chart examines bounce rates specifically, showing rates by day of the week and US industries.

chart showing bounce rate averages by industries in the US by day of the week

 

Chapter 2

US benchmarks by day

So, how does all that data break down? Here are the top takeaways for email marketers.

Average email benchmarks by day in the US

Taking averages across all campaigns sent from US accounts—regardless of industry—you can see how these campaigns perform by day of the week.

2020 US email benchmarks chart showing averages by day

Best days for email marketing in the US

Based on the US campaign averages by day (shown above), these are the best days for sending, broken down by specific metrics.

  • Best day with highest email open rates: Tuesday (17.6%)
  • Best days with highest click-through rates: Tuesday and Thursday (2.6%)
  • Best days with highest click-to-open rates: Thursday (15.2%)
  • Best day with lowest unsubscribe rates: all days were (0.1%)
  • Best day with lowest bounce rates: Wednesday (0.5%)

Worst days for email marketing in the US

Based on the US campaign averages by day (shown above), these are the worst days for sending, broken down by specific metrics.

  • Worst day with lowest email open rates: Saturday (16.2%)
  • Worst days with lowest click-through rates: Wednesday and Saturday (2.4%)
  • Worst days with lowest click-to-open rates: Sunday and Tuesday (14.6%)
  • Worst day with highest unsubscribe rates: all days were (0.1%)
  • Worst days with highest bounce rates: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday (0.6%)

chart showing the worst days for sending in the US

 

Chapter 3

Top industries by specific metrics in the US

Top industries by open rate in the US

  1. Nonprofit (25.2%)
  2. Education (25%)
  3. Government (22.6%)

Explore more resources on open rates.

 

Top industries by click-through rate in the US

  1. Construction, Contracting, and Manufacturing (3.4%)
  2. Government (3.2%)
  3. Media, Entertainment, and Publishing (3%)

Explore more resources on click-through rates.

 

Top industries by click-to-open rate in the US

  1. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting (18.2%)
  2. Construction, Contracting, and Manufacturing (17.6%)
  3. Media, Entertainment, and Publishing (16.4%)

Explore more resources on click-to-open rates.

 

Chapter 4

How the US stacks up against the world

These are the average benchmarks broken down by metric so you can see how the US compares to other regions.

chart comparing open rates, click rates, click to open rates, bounce rates, and unsubscribe rates between global results, united kingdom, australia, and united states

The US sees the lowest open rates out of every region; however, the click-to-open rate is one of the highest. That means that the people who do open emails are more likely to click-through and visit that brand’s site.

The US performs well when compared to global averages and barely falls behind Australia’s benchmarks, the region with the best metrics across the board.

We expect to see next year’s numbers continue an upward trajectory, as email marketing is well-poised to meet consumer’s needs among increasing privacy concerns and the desire for more personalized experiences.

Chapter 5

Understanding email marketing metrics and how to improve yours

Check out some of our resources to improve your metrics:

Chapter 6

Takeaways to improve your email metrics

While these benchmarks can show you where and how your email marketing can be improved, you can also learn a lot by comparing your email marketing metrics over time.

Are your open rates staying consistent and even improving while you grow your list? Or is an old and stagnant list resulting in low open rates? It’s also important to keep your eye on open rates, spam rates, and your deliverability to ensure you grow your list wisely, rather than just quickly.

These benchmarks can show you the overall health of your email marketing strategy by letting you compare your metrics to your competitors. But you also need to compare your metrics today to your metrics over time to see the overall trends in your program.

Only you know your audience. If you compare your results to these benchmarks, remember that your industry and specific niche means you have a unique audience. Testing your content, offers, and strategy will refine your emails so that every send gets you one step closer to your best results possible.

Test out our email builder to see how billions of emails were sent quickly and easily with Campaign Monitor.

Notes about terminology

You’ll notice we discuss ”averages.” These averages are created using all campaigns. Some industries send more emails than others, so we calculate averages by all campaigns sent, regardless of industry.

You’ll also see an “Unknown” category in our list of industries. These are Campaign Monitor accounts that don’t fit into a particular industry, or the industry for these accounts isn’t listed.

We also discuss email metrics at length in this guide. To read up on what each metric means and how it’s calculated, visit this post.

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