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What Is Average Open Rate?

The average open rate is a metric used in email marketing to measure the percentage of email recipients who open a given email. It is a crucial indicator of how successfully an email campaign is engaging its audience. Understanding the average open rate helps marketers to gauge the effectiveness of their email subject lines, the timing of their emails, and their overall email marketing strategy.

Why Is the Average Open Rate Important?

The significance of the average open rate lies in its ability to provide insights into the performance of email marketing campaigns. A higher average open rate suggests that an email campaign is resonating well with its audience, indicating that the subject lines are compelling, and the content is relevant to the recipients. Conversely, a lower open rate could signal that an email strategy needs to be reassessed.

How Is the Average Open Rate Calculated?

To calculate the average open rate, divide the number of emails opened by the number of emails sent, excluding the ones that bounced. Then, multiply the result by 100 to get a percentage.

  • Number of emails opened refers to the total count of recipients who have opened the email at least once.
  • Number of emails sent is the total amount of emails dispatched to the mailing list, minus the emails that bounced back and were not delivered.

It’s a straightforward formula but essential for understanding email campaign engagement.

What Factors Affect the Average Open Rate?

Several factors can influence the average open rate, including the subject line of emails, the sender's name, and the time of day emails are sent.

Subject Lines

Subject lines play a crucial role in convincing recipients to open an email. A compelling subject line should be concise, clear, and relevant to the recipient's interests or needs.

Sender's Name

The sender's name can significantly impact the open rate. Emails from a recognized and trusted sender are more likely to be opened.


The time and day an email is sent can affect its open rate. Optimizing send times based on the audience's habits increases the likelihood of emails being opened.

How Can Marketers Improve Their Average Open Rate?

Improving the average open rate is a primary goal for email marketers. Several strategies can be employed to achieve this.

Segmenting the Email List

Dividing the email list into smaller, targeted groups based on demographics, interests, or past behavior can improve engagement and open rates.

Personalizing Email Content

Personalizing emails with the recipient's name or content tailored to their interests can make emails feel more relevant and increase the likelihood of them being opened.

Optimizing the Sending Time

Analyzing the audience's behavior to find the optimal time for sending emails can have a positive effect on open rates.

What Are Industry Standard Open Rates?

Open rates can vary widely depending on the industry, the purpose of the email, and the audience. However, benchmarking against industry standards provides a useful point of comparison for assessing an email campaign's performance.

Different Industries, Different Rates

Each industry has its own average open rate. For instance, nonprofit organizations may see higher open rates than retail businesses due to the nature of their communication and audience engagement.

Understanding Your Audience

Knowing the specific interests and behaviors of your audience is crucial for surpassing industry standard open rates. Tailoring content to meet their needs is key.

How Does Mobile Usage Affect Open Rates?

With the increase in mobile device usage, understanding how mobile affects open rates is vital. Emails that are not optimized for mobile devices may suffer lower open rates, as a significant portion of emails are first opened on a smartphone or tablet.

Optimizing for Mobile

Making emails mobile-friendly with responsive design and concise content can improve open rates among mobile users.

Timing for Mobile Users

Considering when your audience is likely to be on their mobile devices can also help in timing your emails for higher open rates.

What Tools Can Help Analyze Open Rates?

Several email marketing tools and software can help marketers track and analyze their open rates effectively.

Email Marketing Platforms

Platforms like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and Campaign Monitor offer robust analytics for tracking open rates and other crucial metrics.

AB Testing

Conducting AB tests on subject lines, sender names, and email content can provide valuable insights into what increases open rates.

Understanding and improving the average open rate is a continuous process for email marketers. By focusing on delivering relevant, engaging, and timely content to a well-segmented audience, marketers can significantly influence this critical metric. Keeping abreast of industry benchmarks, optimizing for mobile, and utilizing the right tools for analysis are key strategies for boosting open rates and achieving email marketing success.