2017 email marketing benchmarks – the headlines

3 minute read

It’s that time of year again – we’ve just published our latest (2017) study on email marketing performance. It documents a variety of performance metrics and other analysis based on over 1.5 billion emails (over 20 billion sample points). With 29 documented industry sectors and now 52 pages it’s our biggest email performance study to date.

2017 Benchmark report

First, a step back. If you are not familiar with our Benchmark Report, it is a compilation of a variety of performance results from billions of marketing emails sent through the Sign-Up.to platform over the previous 12 months – in the case of the 207 report that’s between 1st January and 31st December 2016. These campaigns were sent to both B2C and B2B audiences by SMEs, enterprise organisations and  public sector departments – primarily in the UK. We’re hot on permission, so all are sent to fully opted-in lists, never to 3rd party or purchased lists. The results are documented according 29 different industry sectors – the industry classifications are determined by the sender organisations themselves.

2017 Benchmark ReportThe 2017 report is organised into 18 sections covering topics including basic and derived metrics for open, click-through and unsubscribe performance, historical trends, changes by sector from 2017, mobile vs desktop and automated vs non-automated performance.

This year we’ve also included intelligence from the Sign-Up.to engagement profiling algorithm and presentation of sends per week, day and hour. There’s the usual analysis, discussion and presentation of tips for campaign performance. You can download the full report as a free PDF file from our website.

The headlines

The open, click-through and unsubscribe rates provide a percentage measure of these actions for all campaigns, averaged across each tracked sector. Click-to-opens (CTO) and unsubscribe-to-opens (UTO) rates relate click and unsubscribe actions to the opened emails – generally considered as a better way to measure the relative performance of email campaigns.

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%

2017 benchmarks


Based on averages across all of the tracked sectors, open rate showed a slight decrease. However, click-through and click-to-open (CTO) rates showed significant increases. The average unsubscribe and unsubscribe-to-open (UTO) rates showed a slight decrease.

The graph below shows the headline changes from 2016 report.

Benchmark headlines

The figures below show the results and individual sector rankings for these 5 base performance metrics.

Open rate
24.79% Average
16.64%, 44.99% Minimum, Maximum

Opens 2017

Click-through rate
4.19% Average
1.08%, 18.08% Minimum, Maximum

Clicks (clicks order)

Unsubscribe rate
0.49% Average
0.10%, 1.08% Minimum, Maximum

Unsubscribes 2017

Click-to-open rate
11.88% Average
4.28%, 30.55% Minimum, Maximum

CTO 2017

Unsubscribe-to-open rate
2.59% Average
0.31%, 4.89% Minimum, Maximum

UTO 2017

Watch this space – further analysis from the 2017 Benchmark Report will be coming in blog posts to follow soon.