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Email Marketing Engagement Statistics 2018 – And the top questions for SMBs in 2019

Email marketers often ask "how do our campaigns compare"? They're looking for email statistics to compare subscriber engagement for open, clickthrough and delivery rates, ideally within their sector.

Fortunately, there are a number of good options to benchmark email response across different sectors. The best stats sources are compilations by email marketing service providers who produce statistics across their clients' campaigns. Smart Insights have ordered them into the 4 top questions asked and we will be discussing the impact for small business owners in the BBR Network. Here they are:

  1. What are the email engagement rates for small to medium businesses?
  2. What are the Email engagement rates for larger businesses?
  3. What is the breakdown of market share for email clients on mobile and desktop?
  4. What is a good open and clickthrough rate? How do they differ by type of email?

See you in the action-field. 
Raksha Sukhia
SMB Growth Expert, Founder BBR Network.

The best email statistics sources to benchmark open and clickthrough rates for your email campaigns in your industry sector

As we'll see, for the most meaningful comparisons we need to go beyond industry averages and drill down to the comparison of email types since transactional emails such as a welcome sequence tend to have much higher interaction and click-through rates than a regular newsletter.

Email Statistics - 2018 update

Q1. What are the email engagement rates for small to medium businesses?

We will continue to update these stats through 2018 as new reports are produced by the main email platforms.

The most recent (published April 2018) is the Get Response Email marketing benchmarks giving a worldwide average of open and click through rates by country and by sector. Here is the sector summary which also includes unsubscribe and spam rates in the full report.

Also recent compilation is the 28th Dec 2017 is the Constant Contact Average Email open and click through rates by industry - click to expand.

Mailchimp has monthly updates of their Email benchmark stats which give a great source of comparing email response by industry. This Email response data was last updated on 1st February 2017 (no updates in 2018 when  last checked).

Open

Open rate (%)

Clickthrough rate (%)

Soft Bounce

Hard Bounce

Abuse

Unsub

Agriculture and Food Services

24.71%

2.98%

0.58%

0.43%

0.02%

0.29%

Architecture and Construction

24.78%

2.90%

1.50%

1.08%

0.03%

0.36%

Arts and Artists

27.23%

2.85%

0.61%

0.44%

0.02%

0.29%

Beauty and Personal Care

18.48%

1.96%

0.38%

0.38%

0.03%

0.32%

Business and Finance

20.97%

2.73%

0.66%

0.55%

0.02%

0.23%

Computers and Electronics

20.87%

2.16%

1.02%

0.70%

0.02%

0.31%

Construction

22.10%

1.95%

1.56%

1.20%

0.04%

0.43%

Consulting

19.54%

2.26%

0.92%

0.71%

0.02%

0.29%

Creative Services/Agency

22.41%

2.61%

1.09%

0.89%

0.02%

0.38%

Daily Deals/E-Coupons

15.22%

2.39%

0.10%

0.07%

0.01%

0.10%

E-commerce

16.75%

2.32%

0.30%

0.24%

0.02%

0.23%

Education and Training

22.00%

2.63%

0.55%

0.46%

0.02%

0.20%

Entertainment and Events

21.21%

2.33%

0.49%

0.41%

0.02%

0.28%

Gambling

18.75%

3.35%

0.39%

0.46%

0.03%

0.17%

Games

20.82%

3.33%

0.44%

0.50%

0.02%

0.25%

Government

26.33%

3.62%

0.48%

0.39%

0.01%

0.13%

Health and Fitness

21.93%

2.57%

0.43%

0.44%

0.03%

0.39%

Hobbies

28.46%

5.13%

0.31%

0.24%

0.02%

0.23%

Home and Garden

23.82%

3.47%

0.57%

0.40%

0.03%

0.37%

Insurance

21.56%

2.11%

0.76%

0.82%

0.03%

0.26%

Legal

22.49%

2.99%

0.76%

0.67%

0.02%

0.23%

Manufacturing

21.74%

2.33%

1.41%

0.99%

0.03%

0.36%

Marketing and Advertising

17.81%

1.92%

0.77%

0.61%

0.02%

0.28%

Media and Publishing

22.14%

4.70%

0.28%

0.18%

0.01%

0.12%

Medical, Dental, and Healthcare

22.43%

2.42%

0.72%

0.72%

0.03%

0.30%

Mobile

19.43%

2.10%

0.57%

0.63%

0.02%

0.36%

Music and Musicians

22.86%

2.84%

0.56%

0.42%

0.02%

0.29%

Non-Profit

24.98%

2.76%

0.49%

0.40%

0.02%

0.19%

Other

23.06%

2.81%

0.78%

0.60%

0.02%

0.28%

Pharmaceuticals

20.02%

2.51%

0.79%

0.74%

0.02%

0.22%

Photo and Video

25.36%

3.49%

0.71%

0.61%

0.02%

0.40%

Politics

22.23%

2.17%

0.42%

0.38%

0.03%

0.21%

Professional Services

20.89%

2.47%

0.92%

0.72%

0.02%

0.31%

Public Relations

20.12%

1.64%

0.80%

0.60%

0.01%

0.21%

Real Estate

20.84%

1.91%

0.61%

0.51%

0.03%

0.31%

Recruitment and Staffing

20.73%

2.18%

0.53%

0.60%

0.02%

0.32%

Religion

26.46%

3.11%

0.19%

0.17%

0.01%

0.13%

Restaurant

21.17%

1.25%

0.24%

0.22%

0.02%

0.26%

Restaurant and Venue

21.71%

1.33%

0.53%

0.45%

0.02%

0.42%

Retail

20.96%

2.50%

0.35%

0.30%

0.02%

0.28%

Social Networks and Online Communities

21.71%

3.33%

0.37%

0.29%

0.02%

0.23%

Software and Web App

20.95%

2.29%

1.06%

0.85%

0.02%

0.39%

Sports

25.41%

3.19%

0.46%

0.41%

0.02%

0.29%

Telecommunications

21.57%

2.43%

1.13%

0.92%

0.02%

0.27%

Travel and Transportation

20.69%

2.17%

0.65%

0.48%

0.02%

0.24%

Vitamin Supplements

17.26%

1.80%

0.28%

0.22%

0.03%

0.25%

We do have other industry sector breakdowns of response later in this post, but since Constant Constant and Mailchimp send billions of emails a month for more than 10 million users this is probably the largest global sample of email response that has been created. They are skewed to smaller businesses using their free account options, though.

Q2. What are the Email engagement rates for larger businesses?

The results for Mailchimp are more typical of smaller and mid-size businesses, rather than large brands. This Email benchmark compilation from Silverpop who are now owned by IBM so clients tend to represent larger businesses - they are from 750 companies representing 3,000 brands in 40 countries. So breakdowns by EMEA, UK, US and APAC are available too. I've selected the breakdown by industry which is more useful to compare your performance with. There wasn't an update since the takeover, but we're hoping for an update in the stats this year.

But what is the average email open rate? Here are the open rates with the mean showing the variation from the poorest performing sectors like publishing and tech to consumer brands and non-profits.

Rather than click-through rates that are also available in the report, I have picked out Click-to-open which shows engagement with the copy and creative. As a rule of thumb you should look for 10 to 15% CTOR, so can compare emails against this benchmark.

Finally, from this benchmark, I thought it would be useful to share the data on list churn as indicated by hard bounce rates and spam complaint rates. You don't want to go too high on these since you could have a problem with inbox delivery and likely your ESP will get in touch.

Rather than click-through rates that are also available in the report, I have picked out Click-to-open which shows engagement with the copy and creative. As a rule of thumb you should look for 10 to 15% CTOR, so can compare emails against this benchmark.

Finally, from this benchmark, I thought it would be useful to share the data on list churn as indicated by hard bounce rates and spam complaint rates. You don't want to go too high on these since you could have a problem with inbox delivery and likely your ESP will get in touch.

Q3. What is the breakdown of market share for email clients on mobile and desktop?

Litmus, one of the best sources for stats on Email marketing regularly produce a summary of the email experience of different users - this is their start of 2018 round-up of the previous year

This chart summarising their research shows the rise of mobile email marketing to the point that nearly half of emails are opened on smartphones and tablets.

The latest Litmus compilation of email client market share shows why it's so important to consider how well your emails render on mobile. It's based on the percentage of opens on different platforms. The uptick in webmail opens is again largely due to Gmail defaulting to open images.

Q4. What is a good open and clickthrough rate? How do these differ for different industries?

Although we are presenting averages in this article, to answer this question it's important to go beyond averages in your analysis of your email marketing so you can compare 'apples with apples'. It's worth segmenting your email response in this way:

  1. By Email type (see below)
  2. By offer type
  3. By audience demographics

This will give you a better indication of performance as will analysis by revenue per 1000 emails sent. To show the difference of email type, the GetResponse Email marketing benchmarks include these averages by email opens:

It's no surprise that triggered and autoresponder (welcome) emails have higher open abd click rates since they are more relevant or immediate, more in the context of an action that a subscriber has taken. It shows the power of marketing automation.

Sales Cycle also has some good insight showing response rates for remarketing emails like basket abandons compared to other types of emails in their 2018 Remarketing report.

Across all industries, the average open and click through rate results according to the most recent Sign-up.To Email statistics for UK SME email marketing campaigns were:

Across all industries the average results for UK SME email marketing campaigns were:

  1. Open rate: 24.79% (2016: 24.88%)
  2. Click-through rate: 4.19% (3.42%)
  3. Unsubscription rate: 0.49% (0.52%)
  4. Click-to-open rate: 11.88% (10.88%)
  5. Unsubscribe-to-open rate: 2.59% (2.72%)

This data shows that open rate has had a slight decrease, click-through and click-to-open rates have slightly increased. While unsubscribe-to-open rates showed a slight decrease.

The 2017 report has a relatively small sample of 1.5 billion emails sent by SMBs during 2016.

But it's a useful report since it has the breakdown of opens, clicks and unsubscribes by industry for B2B and B2C markets. This shows the much lower response in some sectors such as Events, Education and Legal services.

There are also statistics on engagement measured as clicked to open - this info isn't always available in these types of benchmarks. It's useful to compare how effective your creative and offers is at to generating click throughs.

Finally, the full report also has a sector breakdown on unsubscribe rates. Again a large difference here by sector:

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#BBR Network, Build Business Results, Content Marketing, Email Engagement, Email Marketing, Get more customers online, Raksha Sukhia, Small Business Marketing, SMB Growth