Average Email Open Rate (And 6 Ways To Improve Yours)

Updated February 3, 2023

An illustration of a pair of hands holding a smartphone, with icons floating above the screen to indicate email components

When implementing email marketing strategies, you can monitor several benchmarks to understand your campaign’s overall success. One important benchmark in email marketing is the average email open rate, which is the percentage of subscribers who open your campaign emails. Improving this metric can help you better connect with customers and optimize your time and money on campaign management.

In this article, we explain what the average email open rate is and provide tips for improving your email campaign's performance.

Related: 11 Top Email Marketing KPIs and Metrics You Need to Know

What is the average email open rate?

The average email open rate is one way to establish a benchmark for your own email campaigns, as this metric can give you an idea of what might be considered successful or not. For 2022, for example, according to data from Mailchimp, the average email open rate for all industries was 21.33%.

Based on this rate, this means subscribers open a little over one-fifth of all messages the typical company sends. You can use such a number of set a number for your own campaigns, with the goal of reaching this number, or surpassing it.

However, it's also important to account for other metrics like click-through rate, click-to-open rate and unsubscribe rate. This approach helps you better understand what content and subject lines interest and relate most to your audience.

Related: What Is Email Marketing? (Plus How To Create a Campaign)

How to improve email open rate 

To ensure your audience is opening and reading your emails, follow these steps:

1. Review your metrics 

Before creating new email marketing strategies, you should closely analyze your current ones to determine your audience's response and what you can improve. Review other campaign analytics, like email bounce rate, which indicates how many emails don't reach the recipient and return to you. Knowing your bounce rate can help you remove or edit contacts within that segment or campaign group.

Another essential email marketing metric is your click-through rate, which is the percentage of recipients who click on a link within your email. If you have a strong click-through rate, you typically share content that drives your audience to take action.

Review your unsubscribe rate to learn how many people unsubscribe from emails. This usually occurs because recipients feel the content doesn't apply or add value to them or get too many emails. You can use this information to build more relevant and engaging content.

Related: 24 Email Marketing Metrics To Help Track Your Success

2. Test different subject lines

Your subject line is the first part your email recipients see before opening it. If the subject line directly appeals to them, they're more likely to open the email. Include an interesting and relevant subject line that intrigues your audience.

A great way to find a subject line that works best is to test different ones for each campaign and measure how they performed against open rate results. Try to build subject lines that are similar to high-performing ones to understand which variations work best for your audience.

Related: 7 Steps for Writing Effective Newsletter Subject Lines

3. Segment your subscribers 

A critical factor in audiences deciding whether to open an email is if it's relevant. This is why it's important to segment your subscribers, or split them into smaller groups by characteristics. Review all subscribers and sort them based on different qualities, like their purchasing behaviors.

For example, you can place all of your customers who regularly purchase items on one email subscriber list and those who haven't bought anything on another. Additionally, if you sell several different products, you can segment your customers according to what they've purchased.

Another way to segment your audience is by characteristics or demographics, including interests and geographic location. Splitting your audience into segments makes it easier to think of relevant messages that engage and appeal to them.

Related: 7 Helpful Email Segmentation Tips (Plus Benefits)

4. Find the best delivery time

Your subscribers may be more likely to open your emails at certain times of the day or week. For instance, if you send an email when they're busy at work or sleeping late at night, they may be less likely to open it. You should test your emails for each segment to determine which times have the highest email open rates and apply these times to future campaigns.

Related: The Best Time To Send an Email (With Tips)

5. Personalize your messages 

As you draft your email campaigns, you should keep in mind your recipients may want to feel like you're writing to them individually, rather than a long subscriber list. Personalize your messages as much as possible by writing their first name in the subject lines or at the beginning of the email. Conduct research on your segments to determine their values, interests and needs to craft messages in a way that may help them solve their problems or satisfy their needs.

Rather than sending formal messages, try to use simple language that's easy and enjoyable to read. A friendly tone can make subscribers feel more comfortable with your brand, building a more robust and lasting connection.

Related: 5 Effective Email Sequence Templates (And How To Create One)

6. Write engaging and relevant content 

The content in your email should be enjoyable and interesting. A way to ensure your content is engaging is to keep it valuable to your segments. Link to any relevant resources you've created to help subscribers learn more, such as e-books, blog posts, webinars or white papers. Not only might this satisfy a need or provide a solution, but it also can increase your website traffic and engagement.

Related: Email Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing: Which One To Use

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