Are Decent Email Open Rates A Reality?

open signHow are your email open rates?  Are they standard for your industry, above average or non-existent?   If they are decent open rates, at the very least you probably want to maintain that level and aim for higher percentages.  

But open rates are just another statistic, gathered from reports, that may or may not be interpreted correctly by you as a small business owner, or the marketing department in the company you work for.  

Open rates (OR) can be inaccurate.  They may not reflect the correct measurement of emails read, or just opened, based on, for example your Subject Line or From Address.  In fact there are different flavors of email open rates, which may lead to incorrect conclusions.  

For example our software ListManager detects opens and HTML capability by inserting a 1×1 invisible gif in the HTML portion of the email message. When a recipient opens the message, ListManager can register that they did so and that they have HTML capability. If a user can only read text, or if their email client or ISP prevents gif files from being retrieved automatically, you will not be able to detect opens for that user.   

If a user opens a message using two different clients (e.g., their email client and a web browser), two opens will be recorded.

All email ORs tell a story, good or bad, because open rates dependent on the industry sending the email campaign.  A good OR for one company may be a bad OR for another.  If you stick to industry averages, open rates tend to stay at 17%-22 % across all industries. (source internet):  And that seems low.  

email reportIf you don’t want to look at the industry average, track your own email campaign open rates for a few months, and then take the average.  Compare your finding to the industry average,  to see if where you fit in.  

If you find there’s room for improvement, consider revamping your newsletter with: 

And in all cases increase your open rates with A/B testing. To start, A/B testing is a method of comparing different versions of the parts of an email against each other to determine which one performs better. A hypothesis can be generated based on how you could improve your campaigns, set up your test and send it out. In theory, this testing method gives the user solid evidence of what performs well and what does not. This has always been the recommended way to increase open rates.   

Other recommendations:

stop spamEducate yourself on SPAM filters. Email spam filter standards change all the time and can be affected by things you have no control over. However you can get to that in-box more often than not, regardless of changes.  Always send content your members want, follow best practices and keep up that good sending reputation. Because, once your email is marked as SPAM  by a recipient, intentional or not, it’s difficult to get back in the inbox, resulting in lower open rates.  

Open rates will give you information about the success of your email campaigns.  They can change from audience to audience, which is something to keep in mind.  When you have good open rates, you’re doing something right.  Need help contact an email specialist at