Email’s Two Simple Benchmarks: Timing and Opens

by Katie Hayward
January 25, 2018 • 2 minute read

Email marketing involves many different considerations. Goals, messaging, design, testing, lists, metrics and every little decision that comes with each phase. But amid all of that, two of the first questions we get when discussing a potential email effort are always regarding timing and open rates.

People want to know when the best time to send an email is and what a broad benchmark for success looks like. So, let’s talk about those.

When to Send an Email

Yes, there is research to answer this question, but let me preface it with—it depends. It depends on your message, your audience and potentially many other things. Like how frequently you send out emails. And how timely your content is in respect to current events, promotions, offers, etc.

According to recent research from GetResponse, “You’re likely better off sending messages later in the day—from 9-11 AM and from 1-4 PM. That’s when most marketers observe the highest opens and clicks, and when more than 45 percent of all email marketing campaigns are sent.”

That same research also cites Tuesday as the best day to send emails, a stat which has remained consistent through the company’s research in previous years.

Open Rates

It’s a big, big world when you start talking email results, and it keeps getting bigger by the day. Our agency employs someone to track metrics like these and make sense of what they all mean. What is significant and what is not.

An open rate is pretty straightforward. How many people, of those who received your email, opened it (excluding any bounce-backs, which aren’t counted as received).

With that being said, don’t be alarmed by a lower open rate. What is successful is largely based on your audience and pre-determined goals. Use your open rates to benchmark improvement. If you get a 16 percent open rate on your first email and 20 percent on your next, you’re making progress.

Know that some audience segments simply aren’t as responsive as others. A 16 percent open rate sent to one list may be highly successful. Likewise, a different audience might be more predisposed to interact with email, and 16 percent may indicate adjustments should be made to your strategy, messaging or design.

There are many other metrics beyond the well-known open rate, but below are a few high-level benchmarks and their averages based on 1.5 billion emails sent on a platform called Sign-Up To in 2017.

Open rate 24.79%
Click-through rate 4.19%
Unsubscribe rate 0.49%
Click-to-open rate 11.88%
Unsubscribe-to-open rate 2.59%

If you have any questions about email marketing or launching a new campaign for your brand—give us a call, or drop us a line at hello@paulsen.ag. We’d love to discuss numbers specific to your objectives!

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