Email Marketing

Email Marketing: Which Industries Have the Highest Opening Rates in the US, the UK, Spain and the World?

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By Estela Viñarás, on 4 May 2016

Have you noticed? Email marketing is not some outdated technique. Although nowadays we have a whole bunch of new tools in digital marketing, this one does not only continue showing great results, but also, thanks to smartphones, has gone through a complete “renaissance”. In the times we live in, your email is never further than your pocket. Email marketing campaigns are a direct route to our target audience and as such, deserve our full attention.

To be able to reach maximum efficiency in our campaigns, as marketers we need to base ourselves on data. Only then can we compare, see if we are on the right track and search for strategies for improvement. So that you don’t have to do all the work yourself, this articles sums up the main results of email marketing campaigns that have had the highest opening rates, in different industries and countries: the US, the UK, Spain, and worldwide. Ready?

Email Marketing

Unites States: Email opening rates by markets

The digital marketing world is a giant in the USA, and extremely advanced in terms of implementing new strategies, and, as such, a great model to base oneself on. According to the latest Email Marketing metrics Report by Mailer Mailer, who analyzed 1,100 million emails and 56,000 campaigns over the year of 2014, the opening rate was 11.9% during the first semester (0.3% higher than the previous year) and 11.3% during the second (meaning and annual increase of 0.1%).

This average varies significantly from market to market, as we can see in the following data:

  • The best opening rates corresponded to the Museum and gallery sector (24.9%), followed by Manufacturing and distribution (24%) and the Arts (20.3%).
  • On the other hand, the markets with least success were Leisure and Entertainment (3%), Accounting and finance (5.2%) and Government and politics (5.6%)

Opening rates are fundamental data, but they only tell part of the story. The next big questions is what percentage of emails sent actually generate clicks? As for the United States, the answer is 1.6% during the first semester and 1.5% during the second, both of which are slightly lower than the year before. As for markets, the most successful were Transportation and IT services with 3.4%, followed by food, beverages and agriculture (3%). Those to generate least clicks were Restaurants, bars and clubs (0.4%), Government and politics (0.5%) and Accounting and Finance (0.5%).

United Kingdom: Opening rates according to sectors

We have seen what happened in the American market, so let’s move on to the United Kingdom. The first thing to surprise us is that in this market, average opening rates are significantly higher. For the UK, the average email opening rate was 24.88% in 2015, which was 1.8% higher than the previous year: as opposed to boring users, this advertising format seems to be becoming increasingly popular. The click rate was 3.43%, meaning an annual increase of 9.3%. These statistics are based in the analysis of over 1 billion emails sent through the platform.

As for the data according to different markets, the most noticeable were:

  • The sectors with highest opening rates were Legal and Accounting (37.25%), TV, radio and cinema (35.81%) and Government (local or national) with 33.99%. On the other end of the scale we find Other B2B services (18.47%), Events (music, theatre, clubs, etc.) with 19.91% and Restaurants and accommodation (1.37%).
  • As for the click rate, the highest were those corresponding to the Government sector (local or national) with 9.69%, followed at a distance by Legal and Accounting (6.75%) and Construction (6.29%). The worst were TV, radio and cinema (1.33%), Public Relations (1.35%) and Restaurants and accommodation (1.37%).

Our conclusion is that although they speak the same language, the results from the United States and the United Kingdom have very little to do with each other, especially in terms of Accounting and Governmental communication services. This is a very important fact to keep in mind when carrying out international email marketing campaigns.

Spain: Opening rate according to industries

According to the benchmark published by Experien in 2014, the opening rate in Spain is even higher than in the United States or the United Kingdom, at 29.74%. In other words, almost one in every three emails catches receivers’ attention enough for them to open it. This is most certainly great news for Spanish digital marketers.

As for data according to markets, the best opening rates are found in Banking and Insurance (44.83%), Business to Business (40.39%) and Fashion (33.37%). At the other extreme, we have long distance sales, with 15.43%.

Rather than focus on click ratios, this study uses a metric called reactiveness: users who click at least once per every 100 opened emails. From this point of view, the best sectors are Fashion (26.55%), Retail (20.20%) and Business to Business (16.21%), whilst the worst are in Press and Communication media (11.49%).

Global Data on Opened emails

Last of all, let’s take a look at some worldwide statistics. In order to do so, we will base ourselves on the data of one of our industry’s giants: MailChimp.

Although they do not provide aggregate data, the numbers imply that the average worldwide opening rate lies between 21 and 23%, while the average click rate between 2.5 and 3%. The markets with higher opening rates are Leisure and entertainment with 28.85% (precisely the opposite of the US!), Art and Artists with 27.45% and Photography and Video (26.37%). On the other hand we find online coupons (13.87%), bets (17.1%) and food supplements (17.45%).

As for the click rate, we see Leisure and Entertainment ahead again (5.41%), followed by Media and Journalism (4.62%) and Home and Gardens (3.77%). In contrast, Religion only achieves 0.21% of clicks, and Retail and Social Networks are tied at 0.40%.

In conclusion

As you can see, it is tricky to make direct comparisons, as each country functions like a world on its own. In any case, I hope this data has helped as guidance when setting you email marketing objectives, depending on which market you operate in. It is also important to keep in mind that these numbers are just averages: better campaigns achieve better results, and the sky's the limit. So if what you are looking for is to improve the efficiency of your email marketing campaigns, here are some pointers:

  • Define some objectives and KPIs before you get started. What is it you are trying to get out of your email marketing campaigns, and how does it add up with your company’s goals? What indicators are you going to use to measure whether or not your campaign was successful?
  • Segment, segment, segment. We’ve said it many times before, but it is worth repeating: the better you know your audience and the more you segment your campaign, the better results you will get.
  • Make the most of all the possibilities presented by email retargeting. In this case, cookies are your friends!
  • Creativity is important: hand it over to the experts! You need short and convincing copies, and professional, high quality images. The most important is that it fits your target and goals like a glove. If your audience allows it, use your sense of humor!
  • Careful with the subject: be quick and concise, and avoid using numbers so that it doesn’t end up in the spam filter. Avoid also using words like “discount” or “offer”.
  • Customize emails to the maximum. Show the receiver you know them better than anyone, and that you were thinking specifically of them.
  • Finding the right moment is essential. Depending on the day and time at which it is sent, the success rate of the same email can vary radically. In this article we talk about the best days for your email marketing campaigns, but you still have to try out different things until you find the right one for you.
  • And speaking of experimenting, email marketing campaigns are the perfect opportunity to do some A/B Testing. Create two different versions of the same email, playing around with the subject, the sending time, the images, the links, etc. and compare the results. As always, keep the ones that worked best and start over again. With a little bit of persistence, you will see your email marketing campaigns becoming super effective.

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Estela Viñarás