Is My Open Rate Any Good?

When meeting with new clients, or just having a beer with other marketing people, we like to talk about all things related to marketing. Facebook impressions, successful ad campaigns, the number of followers they have on their organization’s Instagram; you know, super fun marketing stuff.

But there’s one question that takes an otherwise casual conversation and makes things guarded and tense.

“What’s your open rate?” I know. ​Chilling​.

For some reason, this metric is one marketing professionals take very, very personally. More often than not, their open and click-through rates are actually better than the industry average. It turns out, they’re only self-conscious about their open rate because they’re not sure if their open rate is any good.

To make the topic of email marketing far less daunting, let’s answer the question, “what is a good open rate?” We dug in to take a look at email open rate benchmarks, broken down by industry, provided by MailChimp.

Best Open Rates by Industry

You may be shocked (I was!) to learn that the industry with the highest average open rate is government, with an almost jaw-dropping average open rate of 28.77%. The second-highest average open rate by industry are hobby organizations, which makes a lot of sense; people are going to engage with things they enjoy far more often than work or professional-related emails.

Both of these open rates came in significantly higher than the average open rate for all industries, which is 21.33%. This average is slowly coming down, largely due to the increasing frequency of email communications. It makes sense; email is inexpensive, easily accessible by businesses large and small, and really easy for organizations to measure, adjust, and improve upon. As a result, lots of brands are doing it. This means you have to do it ​better​.

Worst Open Rates by Industry

If you’re saying to yourself, “Yikes. My open rate isn’t anywhere near 21.33%. I’m a bad person.” Go easy on yourself, pal. We’re sure you’re unique and special. Don’t define yourself by your open rate.

If your open rate is low, you’ll likely find that your organization is in one of these industries, where the open rate numbers are just plain lower on average—and that’s ok.

Are you selling vitamin supplements? Your industry open rates are the lowest out there at just 15.03%. But don’t worry; companies sending out “daily deals” emails are right there with you at 15.06%. E-Commerce brands struggle via email as well, with an average open rate of 15.68%

If you want to pour over these numbers in-depth, here’s a link to ​MailChimp’s benchmarks​. You’ll even find CTR metrics to digest as well, which is always a good time. MailChimp also has an excellent section about how to improve your email marketing metrics, which I found super helpful.

The best gem from their recommendations? Your subject line copy plays an outsized role in influencing your open rate. MailChimp’s advice of “tell, don’t sell” in the subject line gets rave reviews and praise emojis from all of us at Q+M.

Want to chat more about email marketing? ​Get in touch​. We’d love to hear what your goals are for your email marketing campaigns.