Email Open Rate Benchmarks 2017

HelgaWritten by HelgaSep 21, 2017


Have you been looking for ways to increase the amount of views in your email marketing campaign? Are you disappointed with your current results, or perhaps you believe your open rate is relatively high? You might be surprised to change your mind after reading this.

Most email marketers benchmark off an average email open rate in general. In reality, there are a lot of factors involved when it comes to the rate of people opening your emails. It’s not just influenced by the content, but also your industry or branch, your targeted audience, and even the time you are sending your messages out.

Want to find out how you compare to others and how to increase your open rate? Then keep on reading.

What is an email open rate

Your open rate tells you how many people opened your email. If for instance, you send out 110 emails of which 10 bounce (are not delivered), and 25 recipients opened the email, your email open rate is 25%.


You can track the opens by adding a pixel to each email you sent. For personal use, there are several extensions (Hubspot) that you can install to do this for you. The receiver needs to be able to display HTML emails with images. Since some people might not have this, in reality there will be a small inaccuracy depending on the amount of emails sent out. If you’re a marketing professional and send out newsletters or run campaigns, your company is probably already using an email automation tool that shows you the open rate.

Email open rate for email marketing 2017 trends

It may not come as a surprise, but over the past years, we have opened more emails on mobile devices. In fact, more than half of all emails received over the past 2 years were viewed on a mobile device.

open by environment

After a short period where social media had a lead, email has become the most popular marketing channel again. Emails are 40 times more likely to see conversion than Facebook or Twitter. This is partially due to the fact that the messages we receive have become more personal and targeted. Promotional emails containing the recipient's first name in the subject line raised the open rate by 22% on average.

Read on to see how this can help you increase your email open rate.

Email open rate in email marketing by industry: Top 5

Against an average email open rate of 32%, a rate of 27% might seem too low. But finding out more about the email open rates in all industries can help you understand how you compare within your industry. If you look at the top 5 industries with the highest average open rate for email, it’s not hard to understand the reasons.

  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Construction
  • Human Resources
  • Legal & Government
  • Real Estate

First on the list is Arts and Entertainment. People voluntarily sign up for newsletters and updates, but it’s also already an industry that you can expect is naturally appealing to most of us. The other 4 industries in the top 5 owe their higher open rates to the fact that they provide requested or wanted services. In a lot of cases, a person is already looking for or had contact with legal services. Or they have been surfing for houses and receive a targeted email from a real estate agent.

Knowing this, it’s easy to see why Marketing & Advertising comes last with an email open rate of 25%. Compared to the top 5, emails in this industry are more sales like and less targeted.

sales email open rate

Now that you have a better idea of what a good email open rate is for your industry, it’s also important to understand the influence that the size and image of your company has.

Luckily, it seems like the size of the company has less influence. There’s almost no difference between a one-man company and companies with 50 employees and up.

How to increase email open rate in email marketing


So now that you know the trends and open rate benchmarks by industry, you probably want to increase your own rate. Here are some tips on how to get a good open rate for email.

Test your subject lines

Research good subject lines for your emails and come up with several options. Testing your subject lines will give you a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. It will help to understand your customers and to better target future campaigns.

Read more on how to a/b test your subject lines

Personalize your emails

As we mentioned, emails that contain the receiver’s first name or company name are more likely to be opened. It is better to focus on targeting and personalizing your campaigns than to increase the volume of emails.

Avoid spam filters

If you’re sending out mass emails, there’s a good chance some of them might end up in the spam folder. You can prevent this by clearly stating the sender’s (your) name and company name. In addition, pay attention to your subject line and body of the text. It might unintentionally contain some trigger words that will set off the filter. Check your message for spam words in this full list.


Choose a proper time

Picking the right day and time to send out your emails depends on several factors. Are you selling software or a business solution? Then it’s better to send your emails on Tuesday or Thursday during the day. On the other hand, if you are selling consumer products or promoting events, you have a higher chance of your emails being viewed after work hours or on the weekend. Also, if you are selling both locally as well as overseas, consider the timezones. So the best day to send emails depends on your company, your customers or audience, and the market. The best way to find out what works for you is to a/b test your sending moments.

Use segmentation to improve open rate for email marketing

Segmentation helps you to better target your emails. By sketching a profile or buyers persona, you can find the right audience and consequently increase your open rate in email marketing. Find out more on how to do this.

Make your emails mobile-friendly

Over 55% of emails are viewed on a mobile device, so what do you do with it? Are your emails already optimized for mobile devices? If not, it’s very likely that it will send up in your recipient’s trash folder. In fact, almost 70% of emails that were not optimized for mobile are deleted immediately. To increase your email marketing open rates, make sure your design is responsive.

Now that you know how to increase your open rate, the next time, we’ll talk about Click-Through-Rates. Want to increase email Click-Throughs now?


Helga is a growth marketer with 7+ years of experience. Since 2015 Helga has switched to SaaS market. Prior to joining NEWODLSTAMP she successfully cooperated with several SaaS companies that provide top-notch solutions for marketers.

Go to Helga’s Profile

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