Are your emails performing well relative to the competition? Which metrics should you focus on now that open rates aren’t as reliable after Mail Privacy Protection? And how can you work to improve those engagement-driven KPIs?
Marigold analyzed more than 100 billion emails sent through our platform in 2021. The findings are the most comprehensive email marketing benchmarks data ever published.
We’re constantly asked what a good open rate or click-through rate is for email. The short answer is, it depends. Key engagement metrics can vary widely based on your industry, and other factors — like industry, audience, etc.
While it may not seem like much on the surface, recent swings in average open rate across all industries (up 3.5% year-over-year), and click-to-open rate (down 3.6%) are pretty significant! And it turns out, there’s a reason for it.
Released in September 2021, Apple’s latest privacy feature effectively disables open rate tracking by pre-fetching (or downloading) an email and its images (including each email’s tracking pixels). By doing this, MPP is marking an email as opened, artificially inflating open rates for each user that has opted into the new feature.
When looking at the metrics year-over-year, it’s not hard to see how MPP is affecting open rates. But when you break it down on a month-by-month basis, it’s even easier to see.
Notice the small uptick in open rates once the developer beta of iOS 15 was released on June 7, 2021. Then again on June 30, 2021, when the public beta came out. Then, once iOS 15 was publicly released on September 20, 2021, we saw a huge uptick in open rates once again.
This is something we’ll likely see more of as Apple Mail users continue to activate the feature, so it’s definitely something to keep an eye on moving forward.
Every marketer swears that they know the best day to send emails, but do they have the proof to back it up? See if you’ve been sending on the right days this past year.
When looking at email statistics by day, there doesn’t seem to be too much variance in how emails perform on a given day. Overall, weekdays — as usual — tend to perform the best, with the lowest engagement numbers falling on the weekend.
So, how do you use this data to upgrade your email marketing benchmarks? Let’s explore six email metrics key to increasing customer engagement, customer loyalty, and sales.
Improve your open rate
While MPP now obscures the accuracy of open rate as a metric, that doesn’t mean marketers have stopped using it — or that anyone doing so should stop adhering to open rate best practices:
- Improve your subject lines by testing length, tone, and content
- Optimize for previews with preheader text
- Test sender name and email address (ex. company name vs. CEO’s name)
- Ensure relevant content through personalization and segmentation
Improve your click-through rate (CTR)
Your CTR offers insight into how many of your total subscribers are visiting your website and ultimately converting through email. To maximize this year’s results, try these best practices:
- Create stronger audience segments to ensure more relevant content
- Refresh your email templates, or start over by building new customized ones
- Maintain your brand voice throughout email messaging
- Improve your CTAs through clearer copy and design
- Strengthen your incentives to better capture subscribers’ attention
- Ensure you subject lines accurately reflect the content of your emails
- A/B test what works to continuously refine strategy
Improve your click-to-open rate (CTOR)
CTOR is a good indicator of how interesting your content is to email subscribers. If your links, layout, copy, and overall content are interesting, then a greater percentage of your audience will want to click through to learn more. Especially after you do these things:
- Ensure emails render well across all devices
- Collect the right data to segment and personalize your emails accurately
- Optimize your email design and copy
- Include irresistible, easy-to-click CTAs
- A/B test each email element individually
- Automate your emails to scale what works
Improve your unsubscribe rate
While it may be counterintuitive, it’s actually better for your email marketing if any unengaged contacts aren’t on your subscriber list. They’re probably dragging down your email performance because they aren’t opening or clicking on your messages.
However, that doesn’t mean you want a mass exodus of subscribers from your contact lists. The goal should be to build your sender reputation while maintaining engaged lists. Here’s how:
- Prioritize email list health in every campaign
- Ask unengaged subscribers why they stopped reading
- Use automation to build long-term brand engagement
- Segment your audience to send more relevant emails
- Re-engage your audience to maintain good list hygiene
Improve your bounce rate
Bounced email addresses can be one of the most frustrating aspects of email marketing. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help your emails make it to your readers’ inboxes.
- Don’t send to stale or purchased email lists
- Remove invalid email addresses regularly
- Use only confirmed opt-ins
- Never use free webmail addresses
- Avoid spammy content
- Suppress previous bounces
Improve your deliverability rate
Deliverability is the universal struggle among email marketing teams; you can get so many things right when developing high-quality content, but still struggle to get it in front of your audience.
Issues with ISPs, throttling, bounces, spam issues, and bulking hurt your deliverability and thus reduce the number of your emails that will land in your subscribers’ inboxes. Unless, of course, you’re following these best practices:
- Send using custom authentication
- Use double opt-in instead of single
- Make it easy to unsubscribe
- Avoid using URL shorteners
- Don’t send from a no-reply email address
- Don’t send emails with too many images
With these email marketing benchmarks and best practices, you can start building a better email marketing strategy. But if you really want to tap into this channel to maximize results, click here to see how Marigold Engage can be the perfect partner for your brand!