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NEW REPORT EVALUATES E-MAIL OPEN RATES

September 26, 2015

I run and manage e-mail marketing programs for several clients. I am often asked, “What is a good open rate and what should I expect as a click-thru rate?” My first response is always: it depends on the quality of your opt-in list and your offer?

Most online email programs (Constant Comment, Mad Mini, Mail Chimp) will provide you with open and CTR (Click-Thru Rates) averages of their users. As reported in Direct Mail Marketing, a new IBM study maybe more helpful in judging the effectiveness of your efforts.

IBM’s 2015 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study, analyzing email marketing trends from some 3,000 brands across the globe. It reveals that some industries, such as the travel industry, are excelling in email open rates, with more than 56% in opens, 10 times more than some lower-performing peers.

Highlighted in the report are the top three performing industries for CTRs: computer hardware (16.3%), lodging and travel services (15.2%), and consumer products (14.6%). At the bottom sits automobiles (8.8%), retail (7.5%), and media (6.2%).

Click-Through Rates (By Industry)
Industry Mean Median Top Quartile
Automobiles & Transportation 2.8% 1.0% 8.8%
Computer Hardware & Telecommunications 5.7 2.7 16.3
Computer Software & Online Services 3.2 1.7 8.9
Consumer Products 5.4 3.1 14.6
Corporate Services 3.4 1.5 10.1
Financial Services 3.3 1.6 9.4
Food Service, Sports & Entertainment 3.7 1.5 11.4
Hospitals, Healthcare & Biotech 4.2 2.0 12.5
Industrial Manufacturing & Utilities 3.4 1.6 9.7
Insurance 4.1 1.5 12.8
Lodging, Travel Agencies & Services 5.3 2.5 15.2
Marketing Agencies & Services 4.0 1.6 11.8
Media & Publishing 2.2 1.0 6.2
Nonprofits, Associations & Government 4.0 2.0 11.4
Real Estate, Construction & Building Products 3.4 1.5 9.9
Retail & Ecommerce 2.9 1.8 7.5
Schools & Education 4.6 1.5 14.5
Source: IBM, September 2015

The research also finds that brand marketers who use a person’s previous actions to trigger email campaigns had higher engagement. In fact, transaction emails produced an open rate of 72% and an average CTR of about 30%, concludes the report.

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