All runners know how great it feels to beat your personal record. But sometimes it's nice to take to the track and compare your time to others.
Email benchmarks are the email marketing equivalent of race days. Use them to compare your email metrics with businesses in your industry and see how your campaigns stack up.
To help you measure email performance, we analyzed our internal data to come up with a comprehensive list of industry benchmarks. We've also included insights and best practices to help you improve.
Read on to see the data and use it to inform your 2023 campaign goals. 👇
We analyzed data from over 40,000 approved accounts from MailerLite customers based in the USA, Canada and UK in 2022. We only included email marketing campaigns sent to more than 10 recipients. The eventual dataset included over 1 million campaigns.
Apple Mail Privacy Protection went into effect in September 2021. Apple Mail now masks IP addresses and inhibits senders from seeing whether or not recipients opened their emails. These changes have seen open rates soar across the email marketing industry as messages sent to Apple Mail accounts are automatically marked as opened.
They also impacted email marketing metrics that are a percentage of total opens such as unsubscribe rate and click-through rate. Read more about how the Apple Privacy changes may have impacted your campaign metrics.
First up, here are the general email marketing averages across all industries. These are a good guide to see how you compare against all the accounts in our dataset.
Average open rate: 37.65%
% of the total recipients that opened the email.
Average click rate: 3.36%
% that clicked in the email out of the total recipients who were delivered it.
Average click-through rate (CTR): 8.93%
% that clicked in the email out of the total recipients who were delivered and opened it.
Average unsubscribe rate: 0.24%
% of the total recipients who clicked the unsubscribe link.
Average bounce rate: 0.30%
% of email addresses that could not be delivered to successfully.
Next, here are email marketing benchmarks broken down by industry. Don’t worry if you’re underperforming, we go into further detail about how you can improve each metric later in this article.
|Industry||Open rate||Click rate||CTR||Unsubscribe rate||Bounce rate|
|Agriculture and Food Services||42.90%||3.77%||8.80%||0.28%||0.36%|
|Animal Care and Veterinary||45.84%||2.77%||6.05%||0.47%||0.53%|
|Architecture and Construction||39.82%||5.68%||14.26%||0.46%||1.32%|
|Art gallery and museum||45.69%||2.57%||5.63%||0.34%||0.29%|
|Arts and Artists||37.23%||3.75%||10.07%||0.31%||0.33%|
|Beauty and Personal Care||39.89%||2.74%||6.87%||0.41%||0.35%|
|Business and Finance||36.49%||2.14%||5.86%||0.21%||0.34%|
|Computers and Electronics||39.98%||2.22%||5.54%||0.14%||0.23%|
|Education and Training||37.81%||2.85%||7.53%||0.19%||0.33%|
|Entertainment and Events||36.16%||2.4%||6.63%||0.27%||0.30%|
|Health and Fitness||41.23%||2.83%||6.87%||0.36%||0.31%|
|Home and Garden||38.26%||4.32%||11.29%||0.24%||0.26%|
|Information Technology (IT)||33.53%||2.12%||6.32%||0.23%||0.43%|
|Marketing and Advertising||38.26%||2.88%||7.52%||0.25%||0.29%|
|Media and Publishing||33.35%||3.51%||10.51%||0.18%||0.22%|
|Medical, Dental, and Healthcare||46.29%||3.14%||6.79%||0.39%||0.67%|
|Music and Musicians||38.98%||2.53%||6.48%||0.34%||0.39%|
|Online Courses and Coaching||33.84%||2.45%||7.23%||0.22%||0.27%|
|Photo and Video||42.53%||2.6%||6.11%||0.45%||0.42%|
|Recruitment and Staffing||44.25%||2.63%||5.95%||0.4%||0.42%|
|Software and Web App||39.77%||1.16%||2.91%||0.3%||0.57%|
|Travel and Transportation||39.36%||2.68%||6.81%||0.26%||0.35%|
Here is a deeper dive into each individual metric, as well as the top and bottom-performing industries. Data is nothing without insight, so we'll also highlight the potential things each industry is doing right (or wrong). Use these learnings to guide your own campaigns.
Open rate shows the percentage of the total campaign recipients that opened the email.
As mentioned above, Apple Mail Privacy Protection had a significant impact on open rates, which explains why they were so much higher in 2022 than in 2021.
Nonetheless, this data is still useful as accounts across every field were impacted. Industries with high open rates would likely still have comparatively high open rates even without the Apple Privacy changes.
Open rates varied dramatically across industries. Top performers had open rates of over 45%, while the worst-performing industry had an open rate of just 29.88%. Here’s a deeper look at the industries with the highest and lowest percentage of opens.
The industry with the best email open rate was the government. This was very closely followed by the medical and dental and the animal and veterinary industries.
It’s easy to see why people are so eager to open these messages—they come from trustworthy institutions and the campaigns are likely to contain important information. I worry for the 54% of people who didn’t open the emails from their healthcare provider!
Medical, dental, and healthcare (46.29%)
Animal care and veterinary (45.84%)
This year’s worst-performing industry was games, which had an open rate of 29.88%. Media and publishing had the next lowest open rates, followed by authors in third place.
If you work in any of these industries, consider upgrading your subject lines to improve open rates. Read this article to find out how to write more enticing subject lines.
Media and publishing (33.35%)
➜ Interesting insight: Aim for quality, not quantity. You can increase your open rate by cleaning your email list. This will remove low-quality, outdated and spam email accounts that don’t interact with your emails.
While this will cause your list size to decrease, it’s no loss as these people weren’t interacting with your messages. Smaller, highly engaged lists are better for your email metrics and potentially your wallet as you may spend less on email marketing if you send fewer emails.
Email click rate shows the percentage of email recipients who clicked on a link in your message. Considering Apple Privacy changes, this is currently the most accurate indicator of email newsletter engagement.
Emails sent by those in the media had the highest click rates at 6.33%. This was closely followed by bloggers at 5.98% and emails sent by architecture and construction firms at 5.68%.
It’s easy to guess why emails from the first two industries had high click rates. These types of newsletters often include lots of links to content on the publications’ websites, which encourages clicks.
Architecture and construction (5.68%)
The industries with the lowest click rates were politics, software and web apps, and restaurants.
Despite the low click rate, each of these industries had respectable open rates. This suggests the messages were still delivering value. It’s possible that the lower click rates are simply due to these messages containing less clickable content.
Software and web app (1.16%)
➜ Interesting insight: Overall click rates stayed relatively stable from 2021 to 2022, dropping ever so slightly from 3.75% to 3.36%. The biggest drop came in the games industry which was -3.30%, while the biggest increase was the architecture and construction industry which jumped 1.61%.
Like click rate, click-through rate (CTR) indicates how many recipients clicked on a link somewhere within the email. The difference is that click-through rate only considers recipients that opened the email.
The winner in this category is the media. The media industry has both the highest click rates and the highest click-through rates. This was followed by construction and then architecture and construction.
The data also shows you can combine a low open rate with a good click-through rate. Both games and authors were at the bottom of the list for opens, but at 11.52% and 11.62% respectively had click-through rates that were much higher than the average across all industries, which stands at 8.93%.
Architecture and construction (14.26%)
Software and web apps and politics combine low click rates with low click-through rates. The restaurant industry takes the third spot with an average click-through rate of 4.05%.
In general, click-through rates were lower this year than in 2021. This is likely due to Apple Mail changes showing more emails as opened than is actually the case. This in turn means the percentage of clicks is going to be lower, even if the actual number of clicks is similar.
Software and web apps (2.91%)
How to get more clicks 👇
Consider including more clickable content in your messages to increase click-through rates. You could add links to your website or third-party content, create surveys or quizzes, embed social content, or even just ask people to click to confirm they received your message.
Unsubscribe rate is the percentage of recipients who click the unsubscribe link in your email.
People who leave your list won’t receive your emails, so you want to minimize unsubscribes as much as possible. Use unsubscribe surveys to find out why people leave your list and then improve your email content based on this insight.
The good news is that unsubscribe rates are low across all industries. People rarely opt out of receiving emails.
Telecommunications maintains its position as the industry with the lowest unsubscribe rate. Only 0.07% of people unsubscribed from each email, which is down from 0.13% the previous year. This is super impressive—people must love hearing from their telecom providers!
Media has the second lowest unsubscribe rate. This means the industry has the winning combination of low unsubscribe rates and high click rates. Government is the industry that fills out the top three.
The restaurant industry has the highest unsubscribe rate of all industries, followed by animal care and veterinary, then architecture and construction.
The good news is that while these are the industries with the highest unsubscribe rates in our dataset, only a tiny fraction of people unsubscribe after each campaign.
Animal care and veterinary (0.47%)
Architecture and construction (0.46%)
Bounced emails are messages that could not be delivered. Emails can bounce for various reasons, and a high bounce rate can negatively impact your overall email deliverability.
There are two types of bounce: learn the difference between soft and hard bounces here.
This year, publishing companies had the lowest email bounce rate of any industry, followed by media. Telecommunications filled out the top three, proving that companies in this industry are experts at delivering email as well as phone and radio communication.
Overall bounce rates were very low, with the average in our dataset being just 0.3%. This suggests that MailerLite customers are doing all they can to follow good email-sending practices. 🙌
Publishing companies (0.19%)
MailerLite is consistently rated as one of the top email marketing providers for deliverability, meaning our customers are more likely to reach their subscribers' inboxes. Sign up for a free 30-day trial to see how this could impact your campaign.
At 1.32%, the architecture and construction industry had by far the highest bounce rate. This was followed by construction which had a bounce rate of 1.15%. These were the only industries with an average bounce rate of over 1%! Next up was higher education, which had a bounce rate of 0.84%.
Consider cleaning your email list if you’re in any of these industries and you notice your bounce rate is quite high. This will ensure you only send messages to valid email addresses that people currently use.
Architecture and construction (1.32%)
Higher education (0.84%)
Whether your current metrics are falling below the industry standards or you want to outshine the competition: here are 4 ways to start improving your email success metrics right now.
Open rate best practices still work even though Apple is giving us a hard time tracking results. The percentage of Apple Mail subscribers on your list will typically stay consistent, making it possible to see changes in open rate, even if the overall percentage of opens is higher than it would otherwise be.
The first thing you can do to improve your open rate is create more eye-catching subject lines. The key here is relevance. Trying to entice readers with a catchy headline is actually not as effective as being descriptive.
One tactic that we see working well is to personalize the subject line (for example by using the recipient’s name). Our data shows that using personalization in email subject lines can increase email open rates by 1.3%. Hit the link below to find out how to personalize your emails.
Another thing to bear in mind is your email cadence. You can fine-tune the number of emails you send to generate higher open rates. Some audiences might prefer weekly newsletters, whilst others want to hear from you daily. Get to know your subscribers, and find that optimal sending frequency.
Personalize the subject line
A/B test different variations of the subject line (length, tone, CTA, emoji)
Add an email preheader and give people a compelling reason to open
Try different sender name variations
Send your email campaign from a different email address
Experiment with different sending times to work out the best time to send your email
Send your open rates through the roof with our ultimate guide to writing email subject lines (with 80+ examples)!
Segmenting your email list into smaller groups can seriously improve open and click rates. The best-performing industries segment their lists more, so their audience always receives emails that interest them.
Sometimes you need to give your readers a little nudge. A strong call-to-action (CTA) is the best way to motivate readers to click through.
Segment subscribers into smaller, more relevant groups
Improve the relevancy of your content
Double-check if the subject line reflects your email content
Design buttons and links so they're prominently displayed
Make the copy and CTA more engaging
Offer (better) incentives for people to click
A/B test different email scripts to see what resonates with your audience
Give subscribers more things to click on! Add blog post links, surveys, quizzes, resources libraries, or anything else that is useful to your audience
To learn how to make an enticing CTA, check out our ultimate guide to creating calls to action that work.
You can’t get rid of unsubscribes and bounces entirely, but you can keep them to a minimum by following these best practices:
Send your campaigns more frequently to build a relationship with readers, and stick to a regular schedule
Regularly clean your email list with an email validation tool
Make your email content more relevant to your subscribers' interests and needs
Make sure your subject line reflects the content in your email so you meet the reader's expectations
Use re-engagement campaigns to win back inactive subscribers
Did you know that you can create an automated flow that delivers your email to each individual at the perfect time? It’s really easy to do, read our ultimate guide to email marketing automation to find out more.
Split testing helps you identify which types of content and subject lines generate engagement.
To run an A/B test, create two versions of a single email and then send each one to a percentage of your email list to see which produces the best results.
For example, you can test different subject lines to see which has the best open rates, or you can test calls-to-action to improve your click rate.
It’s important to only test one thing at a time so you know the exact variable that makes the difference.
Check out our ultimate guide to email marketing A/B testing to take the guesswork out of your email marketing strategy.
In the spirit of "New Year, New Me(trics)", take a moment to decide on one email metric to improve this year. Choose something that relates to your business goals and is unlikely to be impacted by Apple Privacy changes. Share your goal publicly in the comments below to keep yourself accountable. 💪
MailerLite has all the features you need to succeed at email marketing this year. Take it for a test drive with a 30-day free trial of all premium features.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated with new benchmark data.