Email Open Rate: Statistics & 17 Best Practices (2024 Guide)

Ammar Mazhar
Ammar Mazhar

Last updated on

May 28, 2024

The first metric that determines the success of an email campaign is the open rate. A good open rate is between 17-28%. But that is not all. Many factors affect open rates that marketers have to consider before starting their email campaigns. As the competition for reaching the inboxes of 4.25 billion email users (in 2022) is increasing by the day, email marketers are also looking to find new ways to make their email campaigns successful. 

This blog highlights all the statistics about open rates and best practices that have proven successful in increasing open rates for those struggling with low open rates.


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What is email open rate?

The email open rate is the percentage of recipients who opened the email. A higher open rate means that more people are interested in the content like offers or updates.

Let's assume that a person has 1,000 subscribers on the email list. If 500 of them open the emails, open rate will be 50%. 

Therefore, the email open rate is just the number of open emails divided by the number of subscribers.

Moreover, the open rate is only calculated based on unique opens. If someone opens an email more than once, then it is not registered as a unique click. Bounced emails are not counted in the calculation. Let’s illustrate this with an example. 

An apparel store sends emails to 2,000 subscribers. Out of these 2,000 emails, 200 emails bounce. Now the total number of delivered emails is 1800, and out of these emails, only 1,500 are opened. Therefore, the open rate is calculated to be 83%. 

Therefore, the open rate formula is:

Infographic: Email Open Rate Formula

Why open rate is an important metric in email marketing campaigns?

Open rates are important because they give an indication of how successful an email marketing campaign is. If a campaign has a high open rate, people are interested in the content like the subject line, offers, and giveaways. If a campaign has a low open rate, people are not interested in the content and may unsubscribe from the email list.

The measure of open rate gives a holistic view of how an email marketing campaign performs and whether or not it needs tweaking. A low email open rate can signify that prospects aren't reaching the end of the sales funnel, thus, lowering conversions.

What is the average email open rate?

There is no standard answer to this question. The average email open rate varies depending on the industry and the target audience. For example, the average open rate across industries is 21.33%.

A good email open rate should be between 17-28%. When open rates are in this range, the marketing campaign is considered a success. Therefore, when improving open rates, try to at least target this range.

Infographic: Average Open Rate

Average email open rates by industry

Studies have shown that government emails have the highest open rate at 28.77%. Next comes hobbies-related industries like photography, writing, and sketching, having a 27.74% open rate. Also, religious emails have an open rate of 27.62%. In comparison, marketing and advertisement emails enjoy an open rate of 17.38%

Although some industries have lower open rates, most of the industries have open rates that are in the range of the average open rate of 17-28%. 

But these statistics vary across devices, and they are affected by several factors as well. Therefore, it is prudent to know about these factors and how they affect the open rate.

Infographic: Average Email Open Rates By Industry

What is the open rate across devices?

According to a study, 85% of online users use mobile devices to access their emails. In the USA, the number is much higher at 90%. All of these users are young, and found to be between the ages of 25-34

Moreover, over $1 billion dollars in revenue was generated from emails on mobile devices. The conversion rate also increased to 4.29%. The open rate is thus 41.9%. Therefore, young email users prefer to check emails on their mobile phones. 

When it comes to desktops the number slightly decreases. 68% of employees prefer to check their emails on laptops or desktop computers. Therefore, the email open rate for desktops is just 16.2%.

Infographic: What is the open rate across devices

What is click-to-open rate (CTOR)?

A less familiar marketing metric, click-to-open rate (CTOR) is a percentage of subscribers who clicked something in your email, i.e. a CTA or a link, as related to the total number of subscribers who opened it.

Infographic: Click-to-open rate formula

CTOR largely depends on the quality and effectiveness of your email content. Hence, to have good CTOR, you need to focus more on the content you use in your emails.

How do you calculate the click-to-open rate?

CTOR is calculated by dividing the number of unique clicks by the number of unique opens. For example, if your email has 150 clicks and has been opened 200 times, then divide 150 by 200 and multiply it by 100 for a percentage. The resultant figure of 75% will be the click-to-open rate for that particular email.

But here a question arises: how can you effectively benchmark CTOR to get an accurate picture of how your emails are performing? Well, the answer is: create your own benchmark!

CTOR depends on factors such as industry and list size, among others. So, when measuring the interest of your subscribers in your content, it doesn’t fair well that you compare it with the overall industry average. Instead, compare your results with your own internal metrics and analyze what your subscribers are finding interesting.

What is the average click-to-open rate for email marketing & newsletter?

According to Campaign Monitor, the average click-to-open rate was 10.5%, in 2021. However, this number is down 3% from 2020. Real Estate, Education, and Government & Politics were the industries with the highest CTORs - between 14-17% percent.

Infographic: Average click-to-open rate

6 Factors Affecting open rate

Marketers understand the importance of open rate for their email campaigns. Before starting any email campaign keep the following factors in mind that will affect the overall performance. 

Infographic 6 Factors affecting email open rates

1. Content relevancy

Relevancy of the content to the target audience is key in increasing the open rate. With relevant content, you can entice your target audience into opening the emails. 

Try different subject lines to test what works best. Also, changing the style of writing the email copy can help. Ensure that the image's color palette matches the email copy (don’t make it hard for your audience to read the email).

2. Send time

The time of day the email is sent can also affect how many people see and open it. If you send the email during business hours, chances are better that people will see and open the email.

2.1) How does timing affect open rates?

According to a study at Mailmunch, the best time to send an email is Monday. The worst time to send an email is on the weekends when people are less likely to be checking their work email.

The study found that the average open rate for emails sent on Monday was 22.0%, while the open rate for emails sent on Sunday is 20.3%.  Additionally, the study found that the average click-through rate for emails sent on Tuesday was 2.4%, while the click-through rate for emails sent on weekends was 2.1%.

3. Frequency

Email frequency is an important consideration for any business owner who wants to stay in touch with their customers. If you send too many emails, people will get tired of them and start to ignore them.

However, if email frequency is consistently low, you can lose the opportunities to interact with the prospect, thus, reducing engagement rate and conversions. The best way to strike the right balance is to look at the email open rates.

For example, if the open rates are consistently low, it may be time to cut back on the number of emails that are sent out. It is good practice to send emails once or twice a month. After making a good impression on the prospects with the content, increase the frequency of your emails by sending emails once a week or twice a week. 

4. Email list quality

High-quality email lists tend to have higher open rates. Make more people interested in the emails then build a strong one. Start by focusing on building trust with the prospects, it’s better they know what's coming out of it and how relevant their messages will be each time around. 

Make sure that you grow your email list organically by providing opt-in forms, content upgrades, and using social media.

5. Email copy content

Email marketing is a great way to reach potential customers, but only if the email copywriting and content are compelling enough for recipients. Make the email copy easy and simple to read. Don’t use too many images that can make the email copy look cluttered. 

Make sure that the email copy doesn’t have email tracking links. These links are blacklisted by  Email service providers (ESPs). Therefore, they can affect email deliverability, and consequently, the open rate as well.

6. Subject lines

It's no secret that the subject line of an email is one of the most important factors in determining whether or not someone will open it. Studies have shown that the average length of a subject line should be between 9 and 60 characters long.

However, the subject line is just one part of the equation when it comes to email marketing. The overall open rate for emails varies widely, depending on the industry and the sender, but it typically falls between 17-28%. So, while a catchy subject line can help increase your open rate, it's not the only factor that matters. 

5 Amazing subject lines for increasing the open rate

Infographic: 5 Amazing subject lines for increasing email open rates

1. Ones that make recipient curious

Try to make your subject line curiosity-inducing. This means avoiding generic terms like "newsletter" or "update" and instead focusing on something specific and interesting that will make recipients want to learn more. 

For example, use subject lines like “Get to the finish line” or “3 ways your donation can save lives.” 

2. Personalized subject lines

Personalized subject lines are a great way to make the emails feel more personal. They can increase open rates by 26% and reduce the number of bounces you get in mail delivery!

For example, include the recipient's name in the subject line like “Adam, where have you been? We miss you!” 

3. Humorous subject lines

A well-written and cleverly humorous subject line can make your email stand out in a crowded inbox. Just be careful not to overdo it— too much humor can come across as unprofessional.

For example, “Ah! The chickens have finally come to roost!” Simple yet comical, humorous subject lines can be the attention grabbers you need to stand out. 

4. Announcement subject lines

If you've got big news to share, make sure your subject line reflects that. "Announcing our newest product!" or "We're hiring!" are both great examples of announcement subject lines that will grab attention.

5. Shocking subject lines

A shocking or unexpected subject line is a great way to get people to open your email. Just make sure that the content of the email lives up to the hype of the subject line!

For example, you can write the subject line like “Rachel, you won’t believe what just happened!” This can make interested recipients feel that there is something going on.

17 Best practices for increasing your open rate

1. Use first name in subject lines

When it comes to email marketing, there are a few key things to keep in mind in order to improve the open rate. One of those is to use the recipient's first name in the subject line. Most of the time, email marketers spend 80% of their time perfecting the email copy while they spend a short amount of time on their subject lines. 

However, it is the other way around. Don’t leave your subject lines as an afterthought. Spend most of your time perfecting the subject line.

Studies have shown that using the recipient's first name can increase the open rate by 13-28%.  For improving email marketing, make sure you personalize the subject lines. 

For example, personalize the subject line like “Jonathan, it’s been a while!”

2. Use emojis in subject lines

The use of emojis in email subject lines can be a great way to stand out from the crowd and increase the open rate. In fact, studies have shown that people who receive an emoji-rich email are 8% more likely to open it than those without any special formatting at all! 

Thus, consider adding some cute faces into otherwise traditional subjects but use only one emoji per subject line. Otherwise, it can be considered spam by the recipient.

3. Watch out for the spam filters

Before sending the emails, one of the things to watch out for is the spam filter. ESPs use spam filters in order to protect their users from unwanted emails. If the email looks like it might be spam, then it's likely that it will end up in the recipient's spam folder and never be seen. Moreover, if you continue sending spam emails, the recipient's ESP will blacklist your email ID.

4. Keep in mind your subscriber's interests

When creating your email marketing campaign, always keep in mind what the subscribers are interested in. This will help create more relevant and targeted content, which leads to higher open rates.

For example, for subscribers interested in fashion, send them emails with content related to fashion. 

Danner, a fashionable shoe brand, is showing its new lineup of shoes that it has made in collaboration with FP Movement. The text highlights the 90 years of craftsmanship that Danner is renowned for.

Keep in mind your subscriber's interests

On the other hand, for subscribers interested in gardening, send them emails with content related to gardening.

Instead is a gardening and lawn care brand that is celebrating its first birthday. They are offering 30% discounts on their products to the first 50 customers.

Keep your subscriber's interests: Instead

The more relevant your content is to the subscribers, the higher the open rates will be.

5. Get unsubscribers' feedback

If you're having trouble increasing your open rates, then one thing you can do is to get feedback from the unsubscribes.

There are several reasons why someone might unsubscribe from the email list, and by getting their feedback, you can learn what those reasons are. This will help you to make changes to your email marketing strategies.

Artifact Rising asks its unsubscribes the opportunity to provide their feedback. And, they are also offering a $10 voucher for taking the survey.

Get Unsubscribers' feedback: Artifact Rising example

6. A/B test everything

The best way to improve the email open rates is by A/B testing everything. This includes the subject line, sender name, and email content.

For example, you could even change when these emails are sent on a given day! By looking at different elements in this manner, it will be easier to see which ones work well and who's receiving them so that all future communications can have higher deliverability rates too.

7. Proofread the emails before sending

It's important to proofread the emails before sending them out. This includes checking for grammar and spelling mistakes and making sure that the email content is relevant to the recipients.

Proofreading emails can be really important if you want the best possible results. This will help ensure that all of those who receive the email understand what's being said to them, which means their attention won't wander off easily!

8. Resend unopened emails

If you have an email that was not opened the first time around, don't give up! Try again by resending the same email with a different subject line.

This is a great way to increase the open rate because it allows you to reach those who may have been busy the first time the email was sent.

Moreover, it also allows the sender to test out different subject lines to see which one works best. Don’t resend the exact same email too many times, as this can come across as spammy.

9. Don't spam the subscribers

It can be tempting to send as many emails as possible, but this will only harm the email list. Subscribers might unsubscribe from the list if they feel overwhelmed with too much spammy content or irrelevant messages that don't pertain to them personally, which would decrease open rates even more.

10. Create anticipation

One way to increase the open rates is to create anticipation. This can be done by sending out a series of emails that build up to a big announcement.

For example, if a new product is to be launched, send out emails that tease the product and build up excitement.

This is a great way to increase the open rates because it gets subscribers excited about the emails they're receiving, and it also makes them more likely to open future emails from you.

11. Build the email list organically

If you want to have high open rates, you need to make sure that you're building your email list organically.

This means adding people to the list who are interested in receiving emails. The best way to do this is to have a sign-up form on your website or blog where people can opt-in to receive your emails.

Add a link to your sign-up form in the email signature. Use social media to promote your campaign. Moreover, you can offer content upgrades and exclusive offers to entice prospects into signing up.

12. Only use optimized images

Make sure that all of the images that are used in the email are optimized. This means that they should be the correct size and format, and they should also be compressed so that they don't take up too much space.

Optimized images will load faster, which is essential because people will likely delete an email if it takes too long to load. Moreover, optimizing images will also help in avoiding any potential issues with spam filters.

13. Improve email engagement

Increasing engagement is the first step toward increasing the open rate. Email engagement refers to how often people interact with emails. The more engaged the subscribers are, the more likely they will open future emails.

There are a few ways to improve email engagement, such as by personalizing your emails, using engaging subject lines, and leveraging interactive flipbook animations to deliver captivating material including relevant content..

14. Segment the email list

Segmenting your email list means dividing it into smaller groups based on certain criteria.

This is important because it allows you to send more targeted and relevant emails to each group, making them more likely to be opened.

It's also important to segment the email list because it allows you to track each group's engagement rates and open rates.

This way, you can see which segments are performing well and which ones need improvement.

15. Keep the emails short and to the point

No one wants to read a long email, so it's essential to keep the email short and to the point. The best way to do this is to get straight to the point in the subject line and include the most important information in the first few sentences.

Use bullet points or numbered lists to make your email easier to read. 

Look at New York Times email for discounted subscriptions. It is minimalistic not only design-wise, but the email content is straightforward and to the point.

Keep the emails short and to the point: New York Times example

16. Use statistics and figures

The usage of statistics and figures can expedite open rate increase. This is because people are more likely to open an email if it contains information that they're interested in.

For example, if an email about the average open rates for different industries is to be sent, include a statistic or figure in the subject line.

Use statistics and figures to improve the email’s content. Use them to support your arguments or back up your claims. 

Just like Lending Tree, an online lending marketplace uses statistics to highlight how women have increased their finances during the pandemic.

Use statistics and figures: Lendingtree

17. Be unforgettable

It's important to stand out in a sea of emails. To do this, you need to be unforgettable. This can be done by being creative with the content and using eye-catching visuals.

Avoid being too sales-y or promotional in the emails. Instead, focus on providing value and being helpful.

Improve your email open rates with Mailmunch

Email open rates are important because they're a good indicator of engagement. The average email open rate across all industries is 21.33% but varies depending on the industry.

Several factors affect open rates, such as the subject line, the sender, and the content. But adhering to industry best practices as described in this article can help email marketers increase open rates in no time.

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Mailmunch offers powerful marketing analytics for you to analyze your email marketing campaigns and increase your open rates by up to 8x times.
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Is a 10% email open rate good?

The average open rate across all industries is 21.33%, so a 10% open rate would be below average.

Is the 50% email open rate good?

Yes. A 50% email open rate is far above the industry average.

Author Bio

Ammar Mazhar

A voracious reader and a music lover, Ammar has been writing engaging and informative content for over 3 years for B2B and B2C markets. With a knack for writing SEO-optimized content, Ammar ensures the results speak for themselves.


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