Opening rate

Open rate a word you've probably become familiar with if you work in email marketing. If you are new to email marketing, you would do well to become familiar with this term in terms of what an average open rate is, etc.

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What is an opening rate?

Once you start dealing with email marketing, your open rate is something you want to think about a lot, work on and try to improve. The open rate is the percentage of subscribers who choose to open a particular email, out of your total number of subscribers who received the email.

A lot of marketers pay a lot of attention to their open rates, maybe even a little too much. They do this to see how many people actually read their email, and from there determine how successful the email was.

Work with your open rate

While open rates when it comes to email marketing are important, beware of being blinded by one number. Instead, consider multiple metrics and think about your goals.

Over time, you should also look at how your open rate is improving (or worsening). This will give you a better understanding of how often people want emails from you. From this data, you can also better determine what type of content is most interesting to your recipients.

So - are you sending the right content to the most interested segment? Are you sending too often? Are you sending too infrequently? You should also test your email subject lines and your preheader text to increase the chances of a higher open rate.

The point of this monitoring is to ultimately ensure that you are following best practice principles in email marketing. In addition, it is also about sending high quality content to the right segments of subscribers and improve your open rate over time. This leads to a more engaged audience that is invested in your brand, which is better than spending large amounts of time on a subject line that will only lead to a (perhaps) higher open rate for that one email blast.

Average opening rate

So, at the end of the day, what is an average open rate and why is it important? An average open rate is a measure of how many email recipients open an email, relative to the total number of emails delivered within a campaign. You can of course choose to calculate it yourself, but typically you can also access this metric through the reporting capabilities of your email service provider.

Otherwise, first subtract the total bounced emails from the total delivered emails to determine your open rate. Then divide this number by the total opened emails. An average open rate for an email can vary depending on the industry; a generally accepted open rate for an email campaign is 15%-25%.

However, there is a difference between lists, because when the list of email recipients increases, the open rate tends to decrease. Smaller lists tend to be more engaged, which is also seen when dealing with niches. Indeed, they also experience higher open rates than emails on broader topics.


Henning Madsen

Founder, CEO & Head of SEO

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