Key Insights from the New Email Marketing Benchmarks Report Q1-Q2 2019
Email marketing strategies and their effectiveness change every year.
To know what does and doesn’t work, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the trends and average performance results achieved by companies in your industry
To make that easier, we’ve once again updated our Email Marketing Benchmarks report to bring you the latest email marketing statistics.
With these, you’ll be able to check and see how you compare in terms of email open rates, click-through rates, click-to-open rates, and other fundamental email marketing metrics with those scored by other email marketers.
This time, we analyzed over four billion emails sent by GetResponse customers between January and June 2019.
Below, you’ll see a snapshot of the key findings.
Prefer to dive into the data right away? free to explore the Email Marketing Benchmarks report for the latest email marketing statistics.
Now let’s take a look at seven key email marketing insights – and what they mean for your business
1. Embrace automated emails
Still think email marketing is simply sending email blasts? Think again!
Once again, we found automated emails outperform manual ones.
On average, automated emails (what we call triggered emails) generated a 44.05% email open rate and a 10.39% click-through rate (CTR).
Although these results are slightly lower than the Q3-Q4 2018 period data we’ve previously reported on, the numbers still show that automating your email campaigns should be your top priority in the upcoming future.
Autoresponders (also known as drip emails or follow up emails) were just as impressive – with an average 29.77% open rate, and 5.92% CTR.
Similarly, we saw a small dip in the level of impact these types of email generate, but nonetheless, they’re great for lead nurturing campaigns and driving long-term customer engagement.
Welcome emails also saw impressive engagement rates – with an average of 82.21% open rate, 26.76% CTR, and 32.55% click-to-open rate.
This shouldn’t be of surprise to anyone, anymore. Welcome emails can help you build strong relationships with your customers, drive conversions, and improve your email deliverability.
Imagine how high your CTR could go if your welcome email had a strong incentive (like a discount code) to click through to your website?
What this means:
On average, recipients will open more than four out of ten automated emails, and click through to one in 10.
And engagement rates are even higher when you send specific campaigns like welcome emails.
Now compare these results to your other marketing channels.
Notice the difference?
That’s why across all online marketing channels, email marketing drives the highest email marketing ROI.
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2. Don’t fear the new regulations
Email legislation changes are enough to make even the savviest marketers tremble.
Last year, it was GDPR that shook the email marketing industry. This year will probably be no different, as the new CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) comes into force.
But now that the dust has settled, how did GDPR affect industry results?
It turns out, after the initial chaos and flood of GDPR-related emails, the results haven’t changed all that much.
For European customers, who have been most affected, metrics look as follows:
Average email open rate: 26.77% (Q2 2018), 26.91% (Q3-Q4 2018), 26.84 (Q1-Q2 2019)
Average click-through rate: 4.58% (Q2 2018), 4.61% (Q3-Q4 2018), 4.35% (Q1-Q2 2019)
At the same time, we’re seeing that the the average global email statistics have slightly dipped – around 1 percentage point – when compared YOY.
What this means:
There’s no need to worry about the new regulations impacting your campaign performance.
If you stick to email marketing best practices, you’ll do well.
Want to get ready for the CCPA? Check out our article below, plus our copywriting hints based on GDPR emails.
GDPR emails: 6 lessons from a copywriter’s inbox
How to get ready for the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
3. Create compelling campaigns
It’s an obvious – and maybe even boring – insight, but now we have the data to back it up.
Take a look at the average open and click-through rates by industry report.
What do you see?
The industries with the highest average results are also the ones we tend to care the most about – or are most likely to respond to.
The restaurants and food, non-profit, and publishing industries scored an average open rate above 33%, and between a 3.46% and 6.46% CTR.
Why would industries like travel or real estate score lower?
Chances are, it’s because we only tend to go on vacation once or twice a year (52.5% of SMB marketers took their last vacation over a year ago). And we rent or buy property even less often.
How can you beat the industry benchmarks? Focus on creating engaging content, and pinpoint the best way to deliver your emails.
We’ve already looked at how marketing automation can boost your engagement rates, so now let’s turn to videos and images.
Our data shows emails with video content beat the industry averages for opens and clicks.
Campaigns linking to YouTube (the most popular video hosting platform) observe a 28.62% average email open rate and a 4.92% click through rate.
Also, campaigns with images outperformed text-only emails with an email open rate of 24.64% compared to 16.28%, and a click-through rate of 3.74% compared to 2.74%.
What this means:
Keep your email program versatile.
Use marketing automation to send your emails at the best time and make them relevant.
Try more engaging content formats like videos, graphics (e.g. GIFs or interactive content), user-generated content, and personalization.
Use these email tactics to enhance your current email marketing program, but remember newsletters or broadcasts also deliver a lot of value – and probably generate a significant portion of your sales revenue, too.
Are interactive emails the next big thing?
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4. Trim your list and use double opt-in
What’s the email marketer’s biggest fear (other than legislative changes, of course)?
We’ve always said email list quality beats the quantity.
But it’s tricky convincing marketers to trim their lists.
That’s probably why in Q2 2018 we saw marketers importing single opt-in lists, and unanimously dropping the double opt-in.
They seemed afraid to lose some of their lists, if they didn’t reach out to them before GDPR kicked in.
Thankfully, the use of double opt-in has picked up again both in Q3-Q4 2018 and Q1-Q2 2019.
And as you can see in the report, most of the industries using confirmed opt-in tend to have the highest average open and click through rates, too.
Now let’s look at a slightly different set of data: the average email marketing results by list size.
From the following table, you can clearly see marketers with smaller lists tend to drive higher engagement (in terms of average email open rates and click through rates), than those with larger databases.
Why? It could be because those marketers know their subscribers better, and so can engage them more effectively.
But here’s a counterargument:
Shouldn’t marketers will larger lists have more insight into the email tactics that get the best results?
There’s no simple answer.
My experience running email campaigns suggests it’s easier to handle smaller email lists.
When you know your contacts and their preferences, it’s easy to generate high click-through rates.
But the challenge isn’t necessarily about knowing their needs and wants.
It could be that running large-scale personalized email campaigns (often a hard and time-consuming task), stops you from achieving better results.
Whatever the case, try personalizing email marketing campaigns whenever relevant – and focus on list quality, not size.
What this means:
Don’t be afraid to remove your inactive subscribers.
Recipients who don’t open your emails and click the links are a deadweight that will affect your email deliverability.
Try retargeting or reactivating them first, but don’t worry if you have to unsubscribe some of them.
Marketers with smaller lists tend to beat the industry averages, and so can you.
Start by segmenting out the inactives for your next email campaign.
You’ll then see you can generate more conversions with fewer email addresses.
Emails going to spam? 12 reasons why that happens and what you can do about it.
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5. Pick your best send day – and stick to it
Marketers always want to know the best day and time to send their campaigns.
But as with any other marketing channel, it depends.
As you can see in the below chart, there are big differences in the send time. But the day doesn’t matter as much – except for weekends!
There’s only around a 0.4 percentage point difference between the best five days.
So if you don’t send emails on the weekend – when both competition and average results are lower – then any other day should work.
But there’s another way to look at it.
If weekends aren’t as busy, it could be an opportunity to stand out in the inbox.
While that won’t work for most, some marketers and niches could get great results.
Our data suggests that this may be a strategy worth looking at especially if you are in a busy niche or your competitors have stronger brands.
While email campaigns sent during weekends didn’t get nearly as high open and click-through rates, they scored best with regard to click-to-open rates (CTOR).
What this means:
Picking the best send time and day may seem tricky – if you do it manually.
But with tools like Perfect Timing – which can automatically adjust the timing of your sends – it’s simple.
Prefer to do it yourself? Experiment until you find the best time – and then stick to it.
If your content is engaging, recipients will routinely check their email inbox for a new message – especially if you let them know on your website and other communications when they can expect them.
What is the right newsletter frequency?
Email marketing best practices for 2019
6. Give yourself enough time to collect data
How long should you wait before checking out your email analytics reports? And how long do your have to wait to follow up and retarget your email recipients?
It depends how time-sensitive your campaign is.
Let’s take a look at the data:
On average, 50.39% of your email messages will be opened within the first six hours of the send.
And you’ll see 52.52% of all clicks within the first four hours.
That means the people who are most likely to engage with your content will be the first to do it.
Also, four to six hours is generally enough for you to forecast the general outcome of your email campaign (at least in terms of opens and clicks).
In the first 24 hours after your send, you should see 73.5% of all message opens and 80.74% of all click throughs.
What this means:
It’s useful to know how long it should take for you to get a general sense of your email campaigns success rate.
After four to six hours, you should be able to decide what other steps you need to take into consideration.
For example, if you’re not satisfied with the open rate, perhaps you’ll want to test a different subject line on those who haven’t opened yet? Or maybe use it for a different segment you haven’t yet included in your campaign?
Alternatively, if you’re happy with the results, maybe it’s worth launching a social media campaign to increase the buzz around your brand?
What you find out within that time-frame will affect how you go about your campaigns on other channels, too.
This includes retargeting, if you’re using Facebook or Google ads in your marketing funnels.
If you start running your retargeting ads too soon, you might burn your budget – because recipients could have converted without seeing the ad.
At the same time, if you wait too long and your offer is time-sensitive, you might end up leaving money on the table.
The ultimate step-by-step Facebook retargeting guide
7. Want higher conversions? Promise value and act on it
Ever wondered whether using particular words in your email subject lines correlate with higher open rates?
Words like “free”, “you”, or other ones we’ve written about on this very blog before?
We sure have, and that’s why we’ve decided to see what the numbers have to say about this.
For now, we haven’t managed to go through the full list of the common “power” words in the English language. Nonetheless, the results we’ve gathered are pretty interesting.
Words that focused on content and value, like “ebook”, “pdf”, and “newsletter” scored very high in terms of opens, clicks, and click-to-open rates.
Surprisingly, the same wasn’t the case for the word “video”, which some marketers have previously suggested being a foolproof way for lifting your open rates.
Phrases that revolved around the sense of urgency, such as “now” and “quick”, didn’t get nearly as good results.
Perhaps they’ve been used by marketers too frequently, which caused their effectiveness to dip.
Marketers who used the phrase “fw” in their subject lines observed unexpectedly high average open rates. This wasn’t followed by high click-through rates, which may suggest that the recipients who’ve opened such messages weren’t entirely satisfied with the content they’ve received.
What this means:
We take these results as an indication that there are no shortcuts to generating high outcomes with email campaigns.
Using a particular phrase or word in your subject line may help you increase your open rates, but it won’t guarantee that you’ll meet your business goals.
It may be that pairing a well-crafted subject line with email content unsatisfying to the recipient will have an overall negative effect on your conversion rates.
Think of it as going to the cinema based on the fact that you found the movie trailer interesting.
If the movie itself doesn’t live up to your expectations, your overall experience may be worse than that if you haven’t even watched the trailer. That’s because you might be feeling that you’ve been mis-sold or mislead.
Email subject lines: specific is the new short
What to do next
Email marketing is always evolving, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the latest trends and developments.
Come back to this article, as we’ll keep adding new insights from our email marketing benchmarks report.
Once you’ve set a goal you’d like to achieve with your email statistics, take a look at this guide that contains 20 tips on how you can improve your opens, clicks, unsubscribes, and spam complaint rates.
To learn more how you can up your email marketing game, visit the GetResponse Resources.
Have a question – or need feedback? Just leave a comment below.