Email Marketing, Marketing, Sales

What Is an Open Rate for Email? Ways To Increase Email Open Rates (2024 Guide)

Utilizing email marketing stands out as one of the most powerful methods to connect with existing customers, prospective clients, and leads. It offers a direct avenue to deliver pertinent information about your business directly into their personal space: their inbox. However, there is a misconception that emails lack effectiveness due to their open rates typically falling below 100%.

In truth, a favorable open rate for emails typically ranges between 20% and 30%, which is sufficient for audience engagement, driving sales, and fostering business growth.

The significance of your open rate cannot be overstated when it comes to tracking performance metrics. While click-through rates and other conversion metrics are crucial, they still need to be improved if recipients fail to open your emails initially.

A high open rate is indispensable; without it, even the most flawlessly crafted email campaign is destined to fall short.

If you’re looking for help with how to maintain a solid email open rate or aspire to surpass the average and increase your campaign or account-wide open rates, you’ve landed in the right spot.

This comprehensive guide will address all aspects of achieving a commendable email open rate, encompassing the influencing factors and methods for calculating it!

Let’s dive in!

What is an Email Open Rate?

Open rate mainly specifies the percentage of the emails opened by recipients compared to the emails sent. The email open rate represents the proportion of subscribers who open a particular email among your total subscriber base. 

For instance, a 35% open rate means that 35 out of 100 subscribers opened your email.

While email open rates alone may not determine the success of email marketing efforts, grasping this metric holds significance for business owners and marketers due to the following reasons:

  1. Open rates offer insights into the effectiveness of different email formats among your subscribers.
  2. A low open rate could negatively impact the sender’s reputation and consequently affect deliverability.
  3. Open rates serve as early indicators for other crucial email marketing metrics such as click-through and conversion rates.
  4. Tracking and analyzing open rates are essential components of A/B testing strategies.

How to Perfectly Calculate Email Open Rate?

Calculate Email Open Rate

To compute the email open rate, simply divide the count of recipients who opened your email by the total number of recipients it was sent to. The formula is:

Email open rate = (Number of recipients who opened the email / Total number of recipients) x 100

There are two variations of open rates: unique and total.

The unique open rate represents the percentage of individual recipients who opened your email upon receiving it in their inbox.

Conversely, the total open rate encompasses all instances where a recipient opened your email, regardless of whether they opened it multiple times.

While the open rate serves as a foundational metric for the success of email marketing campaigns, it’s essential to consider other metrics for a comprehensive evaluation. Metrics such as response rate, bounce rate, conversion rate, unsubscribe rate, and click-through rate play crucial roles in assessing campaign effectiveness.

Read more: What is Email Deliverability?

What is Considered a Good Email Open Rate?

This question is common among email marketers, business proprietors, and entrepreneurs alike.

In essence, a favorable email open rate typically falls within the range of 15-25%. More specific data is available when discussing your specific industry niche and competition. 

For example, Klaviyo’s 2024 Benchmarks dictate that Food and Beverage average open rates should average around 40%, while Health and Beauty email open rates average around 37%.

D2C ecommerce email marketing standards are much higher than general B2B businesses. You can look at the graphs below ->

D2C – Food and Beverage company average email open rates – 40%

Food and Beverage average open rates

B2B – Health and Beauty company average email open rates – 37%

Health and Beauty average open rates

Yet, the matter isn’t quite that simple.

To accurately gauge an email open rate and discern what resonates with your audience, it’s crucial to distinguish between open rates on various devices such as mobile, desktop, and tablets.

Furthermore, each industry maintains its own set of email marketing benchmarks, making it valuable to be aware of these average industry rates for email.

Here’s how Forge Digital Marketing turned around a dismal open rate for one of our clients: 

We took OurKids online supplement eCommerce store from a highly damaged 3% open rate to over 38% in just a few weeks. We filtered out spammy emails, segmented based on past buyer history, deployed Klaviyo’s AI predictive gender analytics, and surveyed the customer base, incentivizing them to manage their email preferences, further informing custom segments.

If you’re seeking ways to enhance the effectiveness of your emails or are puzzled by why your emails aren’t yielding the desired outcomes, employing email tracking software is advisable. It provides comprehensive data necessary for fortifying and refining your email campaigns.

Read more: How to set goals for email marketing campaign success?

Email statistics – Latest 2024 update

Email marketing stands out as a formidable tool for B2B enterprises seeking to boost lead generation and sales.

Through email marketing, B2B firms can disseminate content to subscribers, effectively informing them about their products or services while fostering conversions from leads to customers.

A 2024 Content Marketing Institute report highlights that 73% of B2B marketers integrate an email newsletter into their content marketing strategy. Moreover, the same report emphasizes that 71% of them prioritize email engagement as a critical metric for gauging their content’s performance. Statista reports the below email marketing stats:

  • 56% of those surveyed indicated possessing a minimum of three email addresses.
  • Email usage is a daily habit for 88% of respondents. Regarding inbox management, 39% check their emails three to five times per day.
  • In terms of time spent on email, 36% of participants spend less than an hour daily, whereas 21% dedicate between two to five hours.
  • Critical work messages drive 80% of individuals to check their emails regularly. Seeking discounts from brands motivates 40% of respondents to check their inboxes. 
  • For 47% of respondents, the primary reason for opening emails from a brand is the relevance of the messages received.
  • Preference for concise emails is high, with 66% favoring brevity compared to only 6% who prefer longer emails.
  • However, 28% prioritize content relevance over email length.
  • When determining spam, 78% mark emails as such if they “look like spam,” while 54% do so if permission was not granted by the sender.
  • Additionally, 49% report spam if there’s no option to unsubscribe.

Refer to email marketing trends driving revenue and engagement in 2023.

What Aspects Affect an Email Open Rate?

Understanding the concept of email open rates is crucial, but equally important is recognizing the various factors that influence them. Delving into these variables enables a clearer interpretation of your email campaign outcomes and offers insights into your performance relative to industry norms.

Several elements can affect the open rate:

1. Subject lines

The initial impression is often set by the subject line, making it pivotal. Weak, vague, or irrelevant subject lines diminish the likelihood of recipients opening your emails.

2. Sender information

The sender’s identity and how easily recipients recognize it also impact open rates. Whether emails originate from your CEO’s details or your brand’s name can significantly influence engagement. Experimenting with sender information allows you to gauge subscribers’ preferences.

3. Bad timing

Perfect content can be overshadowed by bad timing. Sending emails at inappropriate times can negatively impact open rates. Identifying the optimal sending times beforehand is crucial for maximizing engagement.

4. Segmentation

Failure to segment your subscriber list results in irrelevant emails reaching recipients, leading to decreased engagement over time. Utilizing segmentation and tags enhances relevance, thereby increasing the value of your emails to recipients. At Forge Digital Marketing, we say if you’re not segmenting, you’re not selling!

Can We Increase the Email Open Rate?

Increase the Email Open Rate

Achieving good email open rates requires persistent effort. Email open rates improve gradually over time through consistent dedication and the right amount of hard work.

Think of email marketing as crafting your favorite dish. Each ingredient contributes its flavor to the final taste.

When evaluating the effectiveness of email marketing, every metric holds significance and merits equal attention.

The key isn’t to focus on a single email performance metric but rather on how many recipients you can motivate to take action.

Email open rates serve as the foundation of your email marketing strategy. No matter how enticing your offers and content may be, they are futile if recipients don’t open your emails.

Expecting a 100% email open rate from the outset or even within the initial campaigns is unrealistic.

Consistency, perseverance, creativity, testing, analysis, and segmentation are the ingredients that gradually blend to create a marketing channel that delights and resonates with your audience.

Try out cold email marketing and list-warming techniques in the beginning to get people aware of your services.

Top Steps to Measure Your Email Open Rate According to Industry Benchmarks


Klaviyo campaign performance

Understanding your email open rates requires more than just industry benchmarks; it demands insight into your performance. Follow these 5 steps to gauge and interpret your email open rates effectively:

Step 1: Review Your Past Year’s Open Rates

Delve into your email history for the past 12 months. By scrutinizing this data, you’ll grasp how seasonal shifts, special events, and sales cycles influence your open rates. Don’t forget to track click-through and bounce rates alongside open rates for a comprehensive picture of your email engagement.

Step 2: Calculate Your Average Open Rate

Compute your average open rate over the preceding year. Sum up individual open rates and divide by the total number of emails sent within that timeframe. This establishes your baseline. Ensure to establish baselines for other relevant metrics as well.

Step 3: Identify Anomalies

Spot outliers, both positive and negative. Did a specific email significantly outperform or underperform? What about your flows and automations? Try to discern the reasons behind these exceptional performances.

Step 4: Detect Patterns

Uncover recurring patterns in your data. Does a certain topic consistently drive higher or lower engagement? How about the timing of your sends? Analyze which subject line types resonate better with your audience. Document these insights to refine your future strategies. 

BONUS TIP: If you’re not sure why certain email campaigns or flows outperform others, begin to create a split-testing campaign objective. Through isolating one area of difference, i.e. a subject line with or without an emoji, or a standard call to action button vs. an electric orange one that pops off the page, and splitting two versions with one isolated test difference amongst similar user segments, you can uncover sound, data-backed reasoning behind performance patterns.

Step 5: Set Achievable Goals

Define targets for your open rate and other key metrics you wish to enhance. Determine how much improvement you aim for compared to your current baseline. While referencing industry averages can provide context, prioritize setting goals that align with your unique circumstances rather than fixating solely on external benchmarks.

Check out our case study for an eCommerce brand, that gained revenue of $2M in just 14 days through the Klaviyo email campaign.

Remarkable Tips to Improve Your Email Open Rates


Tips to Improve Your Email Open Rates


1) Target Your Subscriber Base

While expanding your email list, it’s tempting to aim for quantity over quality. However, focusing on attracting genuinely interested subscribers is key. 

Before inviting individuals to join your email list, ensure they’re a good fit by offering a relevant lead magnet. The emphasis here is on relevance.

For instance, instead of generic giveaways like an iPad, offer something tailored to your target audience:

  • Free product samples
  • Opportunities to win high-end products
  • Comprehensive guides related to your niche
  • First purchase coupon codes
  • Software or service trials
  • Exclusive webinar access

Your aim should be an engaged email list comprising quality leads. A smaller, engaged list far surpasses a larger one disinterested in your offerings.

2) Personalize Your Outreach

Many marketers indiscriminately send emails to their entire list, which is an ineffective strategy. Our entrepreneur clients want desperately to send every email to every user in the list, but there is no worse way to perform email marketing than the dreaded “batch and blast” methodology. 

To ensure your emails are relevant and opened, segment your list based on interests, purchase history, location, etc. This personalized approach increases subscriber engagement. 

3) Timing Matters

Sending emails at optimal times significantly boosts open rates.

While mornings are generally favorable, analyze your data to pinpoint when your audience is most active. Tailor your sending schedule accordingly for maximum impact. Most email platforms like Klaviyo will offer some sort of rolling time sent by % of the list for many hours in the day, to help marketers establish the best times their audience is online and opening their messages. Deploy this test to learn about your best send times for email campaigns.

4) Craft Subject Lines 

Strategically Effective subject lines are pivotal in driving email opens. Utilize both direct and curiosity-driven subject lines for variety and intrigue.

Direct subject lines explicitly state what’s inside, enticing subscribers seeking specific content. For instance, “How to Achieve 1K Subscribers in 7 Days” is direct.

Curiosity-driven subject lines pique interest, compelling subscribers to open out of intrigue. For example, “You won’t believe what just happened…” sparks curiosity.

Maintain a balance between both types to sustain subscriber interest.

5) Weed Out Inactive Subscribers

Inactive subscribers hinder deliverability, so don’t hesitate to remove them from your list.

Send win-back campaigns to re-engage subscribers who haven’t interacted with your emails in the past 6 months. If unsuccessful, either unsubscribe them or transfer them to a list for occasional updates. One last option is to create a Sunset Flow to slowly phase out unengaged subscribers as a last effort to re-engage them before suppression, helping maintain a clean and active list.

6) Optimize Emails for the Mobile Platform

With nearly 70% of email opens occurring on mobile, optimizing subject lines is crucial.

Keep subject lines brief, ideally 6-10 words or 25 characters, ensuring readability on mobile devices. Use tools for free subject line tester to preview how your subject lines will appear on mobile.

7) Navigate Spam Filters

Avoid spam-associated keywords and excessive punctuation like ALL CAPS or multiple exclamation points. Monitor bounceback records to understand why certain campaigns may be flagged as spam.

Other important factors arising in April 2024 are the new Google and Yahoo sender requirements. These changes require email senders to send from a dedicated sending domain as well as adding a DMARC record to their domain DNS to ensure you’re landing in your subscribers’ inboxes. This particularly will heavily impact automated order-based flows – so don’t overlook this! Inquire on our contact page for help if you’re lost in this technical quandary!

Are You Planning to Boost Your Email Open Rate?

Then, Forge Digital Marketing’s full-service email marketing solutions can help your emails to give a perfect boost of customer engagement! Our team of experts is dedicated to crafting captivating email campaigns tailored to your brand’s unique voice and audience preferences. From eye-catching designs to compelling content, we ensure that every email delivers maximum impact and drives meaningful results. With our proven strategies and cutting-edge techniques, we’ll help you build stronger connections with your subscribers and achieve your marketing goals effortlessly. Don’t let your emails get lost in the inbox clutter – partner with Forge Digital Marketing today and watch your open rates soar! 

Frequently Asked Questions About Email Open Rate 

Q1. What is the email open and clickthrough rates by industry?

The email open and clickthrough rates vary significantly across different industries. Generally, industries like government, non-profit, and healthcare tend to have higher open rates, while retail, media, and publishing often have higher clickthrough rates. However, these rates can fluctuate based on various factors such as audience demographics, email content quality, and seasonality. 

Q2. What are the email engagement rates for larger businesses?

Larger businesses typically experience lower email engagement rates compared to smaller businesses. This is often due to factors such as larger subscriber lists leading to higher competition in recipients’ inboxes, potentially lower email personalization, and more complex organizational structures affecting content relevance.

Q3. What is the breakdown of market share for email clients on mobile and desktop?

The breakdown of market share for email clients on mobile and desktop varies over time and can depend on geographical location. However, as of recent data, popular email clients on mobile include Apple Mail, Gmail, and the native Android email app. On desktop, Outlook, Apple Mail, and Thunderbird are commonly used.

Q4. What is a good open and clickthrough rate? How do these differ for different industries?

A good open rate typically falls between 15% to 25%, while a good clickthrough rate ranges from 2% to 5%. However, these benchmarks can differ significantly across industries. For instance, industries like retail might aim for higher clickthrough rates due to the direct impact on sales, whereas industries like healthcare might prioritize open rates to ensure message visibility.

Q5. How do engagement rates vary by email frequency?

Email engagement rates often exhibit a U-shaped curve concerning email frequency. Sending too few emails can lead to decreased engagement due to a lack of brand presence while sending too many can result in subscriber fatigue and increased unsubscribes. Finding the optimal email frequency involves testing and understanding audience preferences.

Q6. How does the number of characters in the subject line affect response?

The number of characters in the subject line can significantly affect email response rates. Generally, subject lines with 6 to 10 words (~50 characters) tend to perform well as they are concise and impactful. However, the ideal length can vary based on the audience and content of the email. A/B testing subject lines with different character lengths can help determine the optimal length for maximizing response rates.