Open Rate

Open rate is one of the most important metrics of email marketing. Calculating this metric enables marketers to gauge the performance of their campaigns. 

What Is Open Rate?

Open rate is an email marketing metric for measuring the percentage of recipients that opened emails from a specific campaign. You calculate it by dividing the number of people who opened the email by the number of people who received it. 

The average email open rate can vary greatly depending on the industry. A good open rate should meet the average across industries, which is about 17%. 

Why Do Email Open Rates Matter?

Along with other email marketing metrics, such as the click-through rate and unsubscribe rate, the open rate can give marketers a holistic view of the performance of their campaigns. 

Here are a few factors that marketers can figure out by measuring the open rate:

  • Good email deliverability 

When email recipients open marketing emails, it tells brands that the emails reach the recipients. They aren’t bouncing back or getting blocked by spam filters. 

  • Quality of the contact list

A high open rate indicates that brands are engaging with the right people. It tells brands that recipients value the business and what they have to share. 

Recipients who value the brands’ communications will look forward to and engage with the emails they have to share. If recipients continue to open emails, then it tells brands that the recipients don’t view the messages as spam. 

  • Quality of the email campaign

Additionally, a high open rate lets marketers know that their subject line was compelling enough to get recipients to open the email.

What Factors Impact Email Open Rates?

Email open rates can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors, including the industry, contact list, and email type. Here are other factors that affect the open rate:

  • Permission

Unsolicited emails tend to have low open rates. That’s because people are more wary of unsolicited communications. If a brand sends an email to a person who didn’t opt into receiving it, the recipient is most likely going to ignore it. 

To improve open rates, brands should focus on people who’ve actually subscribed to their newsletters. 

  • Subject line

People receive a lot of emails daily, most of which get ignored. A successful email campaign comes with a brief yet informative subject line that compels the reader to click on it.  

The subject line is the first line of text that recipients see when an email appears in their inbox. Its purpose is to grab the attention of the recipients and motivate them to read the email.

  • Timing

Timing matters when it comes to email marketing because some people like to open and read emails at a particular time of the day. To improve open rates, marketers must send emails at the right time. One of the best ways to find out the optimal time for sending emails is through a simple survey. 

  • Frequency

Email frequency pertains to the number of times a day, a week, or a month brands send marketing emails. The more emails subscribers receive, the less value they’ll see in them. Open rates will drop once that starts to happen.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to email frequency. Industry benchmarks can give marketers a general idea of frequency effectiveness. However, doing their own research can help them discover the best frequency that works for their audience.

How to Calculate Email Open Rates

You calculate an email marketing campaign’s open rate by dividing the number of people who opened the email by the number of emails sent. Then, the quotient is multiplied by 100 to reach the percentage.  

For example, a brand sent 1,000 emails. About 100 bounced, which means only 900 emails were successfully delivered. Out of the 900 delivered emails, 500 are opened by the recipients. This means that the email campaign’s open rate is 55.5%.

Open rate = total number of people who opened the email / total number of people who received the email * 100

Tracking this metric enables brands to gauge the quality of their contact list and the effectiveness of their campaigns. Along with other metrics, the open rate can help marketers further improve the performance of their campaigns.

About the Author
Koba Molenaar brings nearly a decade of rich experience in content writing, specializing in digital marketing, branding, SaaS, and eCommerce. Her passion for helping brands, from solopreneurs to established companies, connect with their audiences shines through her work. As a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, Koba’s commitment to excellence is evident in her work, showcasing her as a relatable and knowledgeable voice in the industry.