2023 Email Open Rates by Industry | Vanus Creations
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2023 Email Open Rates by Industry

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How effective is your email marketing? Open rates could be the tell tale sign as to success or failure. Open rates are a great indicator as to how engaged your subscribers are in the content provided by your brand. What is a good email open rate for your industry? How can you fix low email open rates? We will give you some answers about average email open rates by industry in 2023, why open rates are so important, and how you can fix yours if they’re low.

Is Email Marketing Still King?
Every year email marketing proves it is still one of the strongest marketing channels. Depending on which study you use for your figures,email marketing has a 3800%–4400% return on investment (ROI). In plain english, for every $1 you spend on email marketing, there is the potential to earn back $38–$44. The effectiveness of email marketing is very strong after many years even though it is one of the oldest digital marketing channels still being used.

According to one study, nearly 52% of the entire world population (more than 4 billion people) uses email. 61% of those email users report that they enjoy receiving promotional emails weekly. Email marketing is a very important part of a solid marketing program. If you are not using email marketing, you need to jump in ASAP. If you’re already using email marketing, you should be tracking your email marketing benchmarks to make sure you’re getting the most out of your campaigns.

Email Marketing Benchmarks
Email marketing benchmarks are how you track performance in email marketing campaigns. Although the focus of this article is open rates, there are several benchmarks and metrics that are just as important. Tracking and measuring your benchmarks will help build stronger campaigns and in turn build stronger business for your brand.

Open Rates
Open rates are the percentage of email recipients that actually open email campaigns one you have sent it to them. Although this sounds simple the metric provides marketers with powerful information about the effectiveness email marketing campaigns or the health of their email list.


Email Open Rates


Your email marketing service provider should be able to give you the above information. There should be a detailed breakdown of email marketing metrics for individual subscribers on your list. This will allow you to find the people on your list that aren’t engaged with your content, so you can target them with a re-engagement campaign. An additional benefit of campaign like this is to clean out the inactive and disengaged subscribers from your list. We recommend removing or archiving inactive or disengaged subscribers quarterly and, at the very minimum, once each year.


Good Open Rate
A good email open rate is one that meets or exceeds the overall average for all industries. This rate is right roughy 17%. However, different industries have different open rate averages. Determining a good email open rate for your business is accomplished by tracking your actual open rates for a full quarter and averaging them. This will provide you with a benchmark against which you can compare open rates over time to ensure proper growth.


Open rates can reveal a number of details about specific email marketing campaign:

  • If the email made it to a persons inbox and wasn’t stopped by increasingly powerful spam filters.
  • If you targeted the right segment of your audience.
  • If the subject line was compelling enough to motivate users to open the email
  • If your pre-header text was engaging

It should be obvious to you that if nobody is opening your emails, you will not get the return on your email marketing investment. If nobody opens your emails, they cannot click through to your landing or sales pages. If they do not click through to these pages, they are not buying anything. Essentially, If they don’t open your emails you don’t make money. If open rates are low, these are the things you can test.

What are the average email open rates in your industry? Below are details from Constant Contact’s March 2022 research. Religious organizations enjoy the highest email open rates at 29.42% with education emails coming in second at 28.44%. Government agencies and services round out the top three at 28.22%. With the whole Covid thing in 2020-21 it is no surprise that these are the top three industries and these numbers increased for these industries from 2019. The three lowest industry open rates are for consulting and training at 11.38%, retail at 11.04%, and lastly the automotive services industry getting at 9.72%.

B2B vs. B2C Emails
B2B and B2C do not share open rates between industries. The Data & Marketing Association’s 2019 Email Benchmarking Report shows that B2C emails have a 21.9% average open rate while B2B emails get a lower average open rate at 20.8%.

Email Type and Email Open Rates
The type of email has an impact on open rates. Based of reports from Experian welcome emails have a 57.8% average open rate with transactional emails performing even higher. Transactional emails perform as high as 85% according to Mailgun. With these figures in mind brands are missing on prime marketing opportunities by neglecting transactional and welcome emails

If you have low email open rates, there are a few things you can do to improve them. The best part? This will have an effect on other aspects of your marketing campaigns, too. Let’s take a look at some tips you can use to improve email open rates, no matter your industry.

Compelling Subject Lines
Subject lines play an gigantic role in affecting email open rates. A subject line should grab readers’ attention and entice them to click on your email. Some would even call the technique “Click Bait”. By this I mean that as an email marketer you will need to choose a subject line that will pique a subscriber’s curiosity or evoke emotion. Here are a few quick tips to improving your subject lines:

  • Keep it short
  • Include emoji
  • Use personalization
  • Add numbers
  • A/B test

Pre-header Text
Pre-header text is copy that is up to140 characters that will display on some email clients under the subject line. Some email clients do not display this text, so it is important that your subject line and email perform with or without this copy. Because this copy is so short it is important to begin your pre-header text with the most interesting information. Here are a few suggestions regarding creating effective pre-header text:

  • Make it unique (do not repeat the subject)
  • Create curiosity (do not summarize the email content)
  • Add a “call to action”

Improve Deliverability
High deliverability means that your emails are very likely to get to your recipient’s inbox rather than being sent to spam or bouncing back. Here are a few tips to make sure your emails make it to your subscriber’s inbox:

  • Keep your email list clean
  • Use proper spelling and grammar
  • Make sure you’re in compliance with email marketing regulations like the CAN-SPAM Act and GDPR

Valuable Content
If the only emails your subscribers receive are “sales” emails, they will eventually stop opening your emails. To avoid this you should include a mix of email types in your email marketing strategy. Include content that’s educational, entertaining and engaging for your subscribers. The more value your subscribers perceive in your emails, the more likely they will be to open future emails.

Mobile-First Emails
According to Constant Contact, as of 2022, 60% of all email opens are on mobile devices. This is a large portion of subscribers that will not read your emails if they are not at least mobile-friendly. Here is how to make sure that your emails are mobile ready:

  • Create Single-column emails
  • Keep design and content short, sweet, and concise
  • Use size-appropriate fonts
  • Limit images
  • Use a single call to action

Personalize Emails
Sending personalized emails is nothing new to email marketing. This practice has been trending for years. According to Instapage, roughly 88% of marketers in the United States see measurable improvement in campaign performance due to personalization. Here are a few techniques to personalize emails and improve open rates:

  • Segment subscribers immediately
  • Use subscribers’ names
  • Use dynamic content
  • Send emails in recipients’ time zones
  • Pay attention to email analytics to see which emails resonate with what segments

Campaign and individual email performance are at the forefront of every marketers mind. Open rates are the first indication that your marketing messages are connecting with your audience. Use the email open rates by industry in this article to see how well your own email marketing campaigns are performing. We encourage you to use these numbers as a goal and also to establish a benchmark against which to measure your email marketing performance.

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