Email Marketing
Benchmarks

A word from us at GetResponse

Ever wondered how your email marketing and automation campaigns stack up against others in your industry? If so, we’re here to help.

We analyzed over 2 billion emails our customers sent between July and September 2017, in 126 countries across 19 industries.

Keep scrolling for loads of useful data on emails, marketing automation, and landing pages.

Can't find the data you're after? Just send us an email! We'd love to know what's important to our fellow marketers.

Michal LeszczynskiContent Marketing Manager @GetResponse

What's new in the report?

We've added three completely new statistics for all you data junkies!

Average results by continent

Oceania

  • Open rate 26.13%
  • Click-through rate 3.47%
  • Click to open rate 13.27%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.36%
  • Spam rate 0.01%

North America

  • Open rate 20.44%
  • Click-through rate 3.29%
  • Click to open rate 16.10%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.23%
  • Spam rate 0.02%

Europe

  • Open rate 27.16%
  • Click-through rate 4.88%
  • Click to open rate 17.98%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.28%
  • Spam rate 0.04%

Africa

  • Open rate 17.69%
  • Click-through rate 2.72%
  • Click to open rate 15.38%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.14%
  • Spam rate 0.01%

Asia

  • Open rate 26.15%
  • Click-through rate 3.74%
  • Click to open rate 14.31%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.16%
  • Spam rate 0.01%

South America

  • Open rate 28.51%
  • Click-through rate 4.40%
  • Click to open rate 15.44%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.18%
  • Spam rate 0.02%
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Continent Open rate Click-through rate Click to open rate Unsubscribe rate Spam rate
All24.29%3.97%16.36%0.24%0.02%

Slice your audience into continents – the results might surprise you!

Did you know that the number of emails sent in 2017 was as big as the combined population of China and India? I didn't. I also didn't know Europe trumps North America hands down with higher open, click, and complaint rates. What's more, Oceania sends nearly as many emails as Africa, despite having a population that’s four times smaller. It’s a huge spread. But we still love email, because the average open rate across populations stays healthy at 24.29%. And so does average engagement.

Justyna BakkerEmail Marketing Manager @GetResponse

Average results by country

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Country Open rate Click-through rate Click to open rate Unsubscribe rate Spam rate
Australia
26.09%3.49%13.36%0.37%0.01%
Belgium
20.49%3.66%17.87%0.25%0.01%
Brazil
31.09%5.52%17.74%0.20%0.02%
Canada
26.48%4.99%18.83%0.28%0.02%
Colombia
25.87%3.58%13.86%0.15%0.01%
France
42.32%8.33%19.69%0.42%0.01%
Germany
40.47%7.34%18.14%0.44%0.03%
Great Britain
22.13%3.55%16.04%0.26%0.01%
India
18.67%2.69%14.43%0.18%0.01%
Indonesia
26.26%3.82%14.54%0.11%0.01%
Israel
23.90%4.02%16.80%0.26%0.01%
Italy
27.28%3.90%14.29%0.27%0.01%
Malaysia
23.90%3.85%16.10%0.14%0.01%
Mexico
28.88%4.07%14.09%0.12%0.02%
Netherlands
48.01%8.53%17.77%0.44%0.01%
Peru
24.23%2.20%9.10%0.19%0.01%
Philippines
18.45%3.14%17.01%0.14%0.02%
Poland
22.23%3.94%17.71%0.19%0.01%
Romania
15.09%2.18%14.46%0.17%0.03%
Russia
24.53%5.43%22.13%0.23%0.12%
Singapore
20.32%3.16%15.56%0.19%0.02%
Spain
34.00%5.16%15.18%0.29%0.01%
Ukraine
28.52%6.62%23.20%0.29%0.08%
United States
19.36%3.06%15.82%0.23%0.02%
Vietnam
38.90%5.03%12.93%0.14%0.01%
All24.29%3.97%16.36%0.24%0.02%

Different markets, different rules and habits.

All cultures approach email marketing in their own way. So too do legal systems in different parts of the world.

In countries where double-opt in is common because of legal or cultural factors – like Germany, France, or the Netherlands – subscriber engagement is much higher than the US, where the law doesn’t even forbid buying lists.

When comparing your email marketing results, always consider the target market. This is especially important if you work in a multinational environment and sell to customers worldwide.

Mateusz RuzikCustomer Education Team Manager @GetResponse

Average results by industry

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Industry Open rate Click-through rate Click to open rate Unsubscribe rate Spam rate
Agencies28.93%3.82%13.20%0.30%0.02%
Arts & Entertainment36.84%6.42%17.43%0.32%0.05%
Automotive14.07%1.74%12.34%0.27%0.03%
Communications23.44%4.02%17.16%0.16%0.01%
Education32.63%5.66%17.34%0.26%0.04%
Financial Services27.15%5.31%19.54%0.27%0.03%
Health & Beauty21.79%4.10%18.82%0.25%0.04%
Health Care34.76%5.55%15.96%0.44%0.02%
Internet Marketing16.40%2.89%17.62%0.23%0.03%
Legal Services27.19%2.70%9.91%0.17%0.03%
Non-profits36.16%4.93%13.63%0.22%0.02%
Publishing35.23%8.36%23.73%0.23%0.02%
Real Estate29.17%3.14%10.76%0.22%0.03%
Restaurants & Food32.42%4.29%13.23%0.33%0.03%
Retail25.47%3.76%14.74%0.24%0.04%
Sports & Activities30.83%4.87%15.81%0.27%0.02%
Technology & High Tech25.26%3.82%15.12%0.29%0.02%
Travel28.34%3.67%12.96%0.24%0.02%
All24.29%3.97%16.36%0.24%0.02%

Specialized subjects score higher.

As usual, specialized subjects like healthcare, education, publishing, and arts and entertainment scored higher open rates this year, compared to broader topics like internet marketing. These continue to land at the bottom of our list with a 16.4% open rate – even after climbing from 14.61% last quarter.

Why? The secret lies in segmentation. Emails on specialized topics tend to have lower volume sends and greater psychological attachment. And this means better results.

The click-to-open rate is an important indicator that’s commonly overlooked. It shows the overall quality of the content. Remember to use it when evaluating your email marketing.

Mateusz RuzikCustomer Education Team Manager @GetResponse

Landing page conversion by industry

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Industry Average conversion rate
Agencies9.24%
Arts & Entertainment9.73%
Automotive7.61%
Communications6.75%
Education8.62%
Financial Services7.49%
Health & Beauty8.46%
Health Care8.19%
Internet Marketing5.48%
Legal Services15.02%
Non-profits9.09%
Publishing15.01%
Real Estate6.02%
Restaurants & Food9.84%
Retail4.15%
Sports & Activities10.85%
Technology & High Tech7.16%
Travel8.17%
All7.48%

Know your audience to get an edge.

Depending on their industry, companies often have distinct business objectives that are naturally reflected in their landing page copy.

Non-profits and legal services benefit from copy that focuses on evoking trust. This approach seems to help keep conversion rates high at around 10%.

On the other hand, retail, real estate, and internet marketing are some of the most competitive industries. So it's no surprise they have the lowest conversion rates. My advice for players in these industries is to thoroughly research your audience – and write with their everyday language in mind. Address their daily challenges and how you can help them get the job done.

Sezgin HergülProduct Marketing Specialist @GetResponse

Average results by list size

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List size Open rate Click-through rate Click to open rate Unsubscribe rate Spam rate
1,000 - 2,49930.54%5.40%17.69%0.35%0.03%
2,500 - 4,99925.42%4.04%15.88%0.25%0.03%
5,000 - 9,99920.51%3.42%16.67%0.20%0.02%
10,000 - 24,99918.42%2.87%15.58%0.15%0.02%
25,000 - 49,99916.04%2.05%12.81%0.11%0.01%
50,000 - 99,99914.12%1.86%13.15%0.11%0.01%
100,000+10.47%2.00%19.11%0.09%0.01%
All24.29%3.97%16.36%0.24%0.02%

Email lists: quality beats quantity.

For a long time, email marketers have said list quality beats quantity. Is it still true? Without knowing overall conversions, it's hard to say for sure.

But what we can see clearly is marketers with smaller lists are better at engaging their audience. Their messages also tend to get higher open and click-through rates. In fact, this trend's been visible over the last two quarters.

The lesson? When growing your lists, don't lose touch with your customers! Build relationships just like you would if you were running a corner store. Personalize the experience for your email subscribers, and make sure the conversation continues to bring them value. They’ll appreciate it and pay you back with interest.

So, be sure to compare your results to the market you operate in!

Michal LeszczynskiContent Marketing Manager @GetResponse

Average results by message type

Triggered

  • Open rate 55.19%
  • Click-through rate 13.18%
  • Click to open rate 23.87%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.65%
  • Spam rate 0.08%

Autoresponder

  • Open rate 33.55%
  • Click-through rate 6.57%
  • Click to open rate 19.58%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.37%
  • Spam rate 0.03%

RSS

  • Open rate 24.82%
  • Click-through rate 5.13%
  • Click to open rate 20.65%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.13%
  • Spam rate 0.01%

Relevance is key to high engagement.

To be relevant, you need to know your audience – mainly the information and content they need and like to get. That’s why marketing automation cycles bring the best results.

With marketing automation, you can collect important data along the customer journey. Then use it to segment your list and personalize your marketing communication.

Irek KlimczakContent Marketing Expert @GetResponse

Results by hour of day

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When’s the best time to send emails? When your audience wants them.

We noticed the biggest spike in opens and clicks is at 5 AM. But only around 2% of all emails are sent then.

You're likely better off sending messages later in the day – from 9-11 AM and from 1-4 PM. That's when most marketers observe the highest opens and clicks, and when more than 45% of all email marketing campaigns are sent.

Why mid-morning? Most likely it’s because we tend to check emails when starting our workday.

We’ve also seen an interesting shift in the afternoon. In the previous edition of this report, we observed more opens around 5 PM, as people start to head home. But they’re now more likely to open emails in the early afternoon – as they return from lunch.

Why? Perhaps when people get home, they prefer to spend time with their family and leave emails for the next workday.

Whatever the reason, it’s something you can test yourself. After all, every audience is different! You can find out the best time to contact your subscribers by checking your email analytics – or using our Perfect Timing or Time Travel features.

Michal LeszczynskiContent Marketing Manager @GetResponse

Results by day of week

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When’s the best day to send emails?

Our study suggests Tuesday is still the best day to send emails. But it does depend on your target audience and how they behave. When do they have time to read and act on your messages? Is it the same time every day, or does it vary? It's hard to say.

My gut feeling is Tuesday should be the best day, as many of us spend Monday catching up on emails and projects. Having cleared the inbox and planned the week, by Tuesday you’re likely ready to deal with new messages.

But is Tuesday your best day to send? Run an A/B test and see for yourself. And don't only look at opens and clicks. Include conversion rates too, as that's the metric you’ll really want to improve.

Michal LeszczynskiContent Marketing Manager @GetResponse

Number of newsletters per week

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# of newsletters Open rate Click-through rate Click to open rate
135.13%5.14%14.62%
228.47%3.92%13.75%
324.07%3.19%13.24%
422.88%3.28%14.32%
521.63%3.47%16.05%
619.82%3.03%15.28%
718.22%2.45%13.42%
817.88%2.49%13.90%
915.18%1.97%12.99%
1015.56%2.54%16.35%
1116.88%2.33%13.78%
1217.58%2.07%11.78%
1314.24%2.06%14.49%
149.75%1.31%13.38%
1512.77%1.49%11.63%

The fewer, the better.

They say in sales, persistence pays off. Is the same true for email marketing? Short answer, no. Instead, it’s all about email relevance.

Why? Your audience will reward you with higher open and click rates if you send up to five newsletters a week. Sending your 14th message in a week? Then watch your open rate plummet!

But opens are meaningless if your audience doesn't click. Want to get more conversions from email? Stick to just two newsletters a week. It's worth it.

Justyna BakkerEmail Marketing Manager @GetResponse

Number of autoresponders in a cycle

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# of messages % of cycles Open rate Click-through rate Click to open rate Unsubscribe rate Spam rate
129.04%88.52%31.77%35.89%0.76%0.09%
211.62%67.45%19.64%29.13%0.71%0.06%
38.22%62.18%16.19%26.04%0.75%0.06%
47.69%63.35%15.25%24.08%0.67%0.06%
56.96%52.32%14.36%27.45%0.63%0.05%
66.23% 53.95%11.30%20.94%0.69%0.05%
74.92%54.29%13.60%25.05%0.64%0.04%
83.66%49.14%10.55%21.48%0.50%0.04%
93.92%44.60%10.01%22.44%0.47%0.05%
102.67%58.27%13.45%23.08%0.63%0.06%
112.35%47.86%11.20%23.40%0.54%0.06%
122.77%41.52%7.71%18.57%0.41%0.02%
132.15%37.84%7.08%18.71%0.42%0.06%
142.15%38.09%6.39%16.77%0.40%0.06%
151.52%42.55%9.97%23.44%0.32%0.05%
161.47%36.99%8.14%22.01%0.46%0.07%
171.41%27.02%4.69%17.37%0.35%0.04%
181.26%31.00%5.71%18.40%0.44%0.03%

Forget length. It’s about value.

Shorter cycles tend to produce better results. But it’s not really about length – it’s all about value. You can easily run engaging long-term campaigns if your emails remain relevant to your subscribers.

The trick? Understand the customer journey and match content to context at every stage. For example, B2B sales cycles are usually complex and can last years. They call for long email cycles – and offer the chance to satisfy your target audience’s needs.

Irek KlimczakContent Marketing Expert @GetResponse

Use of video

  • Open rate 29.32%
  • Click-through rate 5.59%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.25%
  • Spam rate 0.04%
  • Open rate 36.08%
  • Click-through rate 6.16%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.34%
  • Spam rate 0.03%
  • Open rate 8.14%
  • Click-through rate 0.91%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.15%
  • Spam rate 0.01%

Other / None

  • Open rate 23.87%
  • Click-through rate 3.86%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.24%
  • Spam rate 0.02%

People love video!

It’s still uncommon to embed videos in email. Why? Technology. Only a few Internet service providers (responsible for hosting email accounts) are compatible with video. That’s why it’s far more common to use animated GIFs or thumbnails that link to the video.

YouTube is still the most popular platform. Over 95% of all emails with video links pointed there. However, Vimeo content generated better engagement. Sure, the smaller sample could have affected the overall results. But it's also worth noting videos hosted on Vimeo tend to be better quality. So perhaps when subscribers see a video thumbnail pointing to Vimeo, they assume it’s stellar content and so are more likely to watch it.

Still, I believe video will only become more popular as email marketing evolves. So be sure to jump on board!

Mateusz RuzikCustomer Education Team Manager @GetResponse

Number of characters in email subject lines

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Hint at what’s inside.

Your subject line needs to compel people to open the email. So forget about length, and focus on conveying the message the best way possible.

People should get a sense of what’s inside. If it’s relevant to them, it's easier to come up with a subject line that gets a high open rate.

Irek KlimczakContent Marketing Expert @GetResponse

Emoji in email subject lines

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Emoji % of messages Open rate
YES8.47%25.91%
NO91.53%24.14%

Are emojis in email ever a good idea?

Marketers haven’t fully embraced emoji. In fact, fewer than 9% of subject lines used them. How does that impact open rates? The difference between subject lines with and without emoji is only 1.77% in favor of the emojified emails. So, should you “emojify” your emails?

The answer: it depends on your audience and business. So test it and see. And bear in mind, ISPs view emoji differently. That grinnning face emoji might appear creepy to others!

Justyna BakkerInternational Marketing Lead @GetResponse

Personalization in email subject lines

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Personalized? % of messages Open rate
YES10.10%28.80%
NO89.90%23.78%

Do you personalize subject lines?

If not, you’re not alone. Around 90% of traditional marketers steered clear. But it is promising that those who gave it a try witnessed 5% higher open rates, compared to their non-personalized emails.

Still not buying it? Look at it this way: that extra 5% could be easily monetized, if each newsletter had a 2.5% conversion rate. Ready to give it a go? Start small, and remember to bear in mind your audience, market, and business. Because what works for the US may not be best in Germany, for example.

Justyna BakkerEmail Marketing Manager @GetResponse

Preheader

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Preheader? % of messages Open rate Click-through rate Click to open rate
YES11.25%27.82%4.69%16.87%
NO88.75%23.84%3.90%16.37%

Use a preheader to build on the subject line.

Do that, and your email is more likely to get opened. In fact, you should make use of all elements subscribers see before they open it. Used well, the so-called envelope (sender, subject line, and preheader) can make a difference.

Irek KlimczakContent Marketing Expert @GetResponse

Types of email clients

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Type % of message opens
Mobile31.65%
Standalone (e.g. Apple Mail)18.95%
Web-based (e.g. Gmail)49.40%

Design for all devices with CTA in mind.

People use email on all devices, with a strong trend towards mobile. That’s great news for marketers! Because it means your subscribers interact with your emails whenever and wherever they wish.

And that means you need to apply responsive design principles, so your emails look great on any device – and work well across all email clients. That’s why you should design your templates with a clear CTA (call to action) in mind. Then test your results and optimize the email for conversion.

Irek KlimczakContent Marketing Expert @GetResponse

Use of double opt-in by industry

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Industry double optin single optin
Agencies1.82%98.18%
Arts & Entertainment10.31%89.69%
Automotive1.29%98.71%
Communications5.67%94.33%
Education13.11%86.89%
Financial Services8.49%91.51%
Health & Beauty9.04%90.96%
Health Care8.55%91.45%
Internet Marketing7.27%92.73%
Legal services28.23%71.77%
Non-profits22.10%77.90%
Publishing12.64%87.36%
Real Estate10.16%89.84%
Restaurants & Food5.50%94.50%
Retail4.60%95.40%
Sports and Activities14.46%85.54%
Technology & High Tech7.65%92.35%
Travel6.34%93.66%

Double opt-in: stay on the safe side and engage more people.

Should you use single or double opt-in for your emails? That depends on whether you value quality leads over quantity.

We found most marketers believe in quantity, since only 11.3% of new subscribers were acquired using confirmed opt-in. It’s much higher among non-profits and legal services (which use it to prove someone subscribed).

I’m a huge fan of the double opt-in method, and believe qualified leads bring better results. There are some great insights in our article on confirmed opt-in.

Mateusz RuzikCustomer Education Team Manager @GetResponse

Email address length

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Fit them in.

How well your contact list grows depends on how well your lead capture forms perform.

As a start, make sure your forms and landing pages can fit long email addresses. Bear in mind business emails are often shorter than personal ones – so ask for these instead to save space.