The 2018 email marketing benchmarks are here

8 minute read

We’ve just released our very latest Email Marketing Benchmark Report and the results are all promising.  The 5 headline metrics (that’s the rates for opens, clicks, unsubscribes, click-to-opens and unsubscribe to opens) all showed an increase in performance from the previous report.

Benchmark report 2018

Our 2018 report was published just last week and includes a detailed analysis of all of the emails sent by Sign-Up.to customers between 1st  January and 31st December 2017. The results are classified into to 29 different industry sectors (customers self-select the classification which they feel best suits their business). The research comes from fully opted-in email campaigns sent by professional marketers working in UK SME businesses, enterprises and public sector organisations, sent to both B2C and B2B audiences. It’s our 10th annual report and contains 62 pages of analysis, comment and guidance.

I’ve included some headline information in this blog and I’ll be back to dig a little deeper into some of the more interesting findings. In the meantime, if you’d like a copy of the full report it’s free to download from our website at the link below.

https://www.signupto.com/email-marketing-benchmarks/email-benchmark-2018/

The headlines

Open, click-through and click-to-open rates all increased from the previous year’s results. At 25.44% and 4.76% respectively the open and click-through rates for 2017 both continue the upward trend with both showing a 6 year high. Whilst not a high, at 12.50% click-to-open rate continues a 4 year increasing trend.

Open rate: increase from 24.79% to 25.44%
Click-through rate: increase from 4.19% to 4.76%
CTO rate: increase from 11.88% to 12.50%

Unsubscribe and unsubscribe-to-open rates both decreased.  At 0.47% and 2.52% respectively, unsubscribe and unsubscribe-to-open rates continue 4 and 3 year downward trends, with unsubscribe rate equalling the previous 6 year low.

Unsubscribe rate: decrease from 0.49% to 0.47%
UTO rate: decrease from 2.59% to 2.52%

Open rate

14 of the 29 sectors showed open rates above the 25.44% overall average. The top performing sectors for open rate were:

– Government (Local / National)
– Legal / Accounting
– Charity / Non-profit

Both Governmant and Legal/Accounting were top performers of the previous report, with Charity improving from 4th to 3rd. 15 of the 29 sectors showed an increase in open rate over the past 12 months, with the largest differences being in the sectors:

– Fashion (+9.46%)
– Online Services (+7.89%)
– Sales / Marketing / Design (+6.17%)

Click-through rate

Although the average click-through rate increased, only 7 of the 29 sectors showed a performance above the overall average of 4.76%. The top performing sectors for click-through rate were:

– Community
– TV / Radio / Film
– Music – Artist / DJ / Band /

The Community sector remained as the highest open rate from the previous report. 15 of the 29 sectors showed an increase in click-through rate with the largest differences being in the sectors:

– Community (+10.8%)
– TV / Radio / Film (+9.27%)
– Music – Artist / DJ / Band / Management (+8.12%)

Click-to-open rate

Click-to-open rate also showed a new high. 9 of the sectors showed click-to-open rates higher than the overall average of 12.50%. The top performing sectors were:

– Community
– Government (Local / National)
– Music – Artist / DJ / Band

Of these Community and Music also appeared in the top 3 of click-through rates and Government as 2nd in open rate performance. 11 of the 29 sectors showed an increase in click-to-open rate with the largest differences being in the sectors:

– Community (+29.63%)
– Fashion (+8.55%)
– Music – Artist / DJ / Band / Management (+6.61%)

Unsubscribe rate

Unsubscribes have been decreasing for the last 4 years. At 0.47%, 19 of the sectors showed unsubscribe rates below the overall average (this is good). The sectors with the lowest overall unsubscribe rates were:

– Public Relations
– Publishing
– Government (Local / National)

Although 16 of the 29 sectors showed a decrease in unsubscribe rate and all were below the overall average, none of the best reductions were in the top 3 overall performers. The largest differences in unsubscribe rate being in the sectors:

– Medical (-0.46%)
– Sales / Marketing / Design (-0.46%)
– Other Service – B2B (-0.71%)

Unsubscribe-to-open rate

Unsubcribe-to-open rate also continued a 4 year decreasing trend. At 2.52% 17 of the 29 sectors showed performance below average, the highlights being in:

– Government (Local / National)
– Public Relations
– Charity / Non-profit

14 of the 29 sectors showed a decrease over the past 12 months with the largest differences being in the sectors:

– Medical (-1.39%)
– Sales / Marketing / Design (-2.64%)
– TV / Radio /Film (-2.64%)

We also look at delivery rate as another useful performance metric. Overall delivery reduced very slightly to 95.64% but 16 of the 29 tracked sectors achieved above this, the highest being Community at over 99% delivery success.

What does it all mean?

While there are high and low performing sectors in each of these categories it’s not immediately easy to see those sectors which are consistently high or low performers overall. The following chart takes each of the 6 basic metrics (that’s open, click-through, unsubscribe, click-to-open, unsubscribe-to-open and delivery) and plot above average (in green) and below average (in red) for each. Note that below average for unsubscribe and unsubscribe-to-open is desirable so in this case the colour coding is reversed. In each of the charts the sectors are ranked either high to low according to their overall position ranking for all sectors combined.

High and low performing sectors

Of the 29 tracked sectors 5 show above average performance for all 6 metrics:

– Government (Local / National)
– Community
– Music – Artist / DJ / Band / Management
– TV / Radio / Film
– Online Services

The top 3 performing sectors were:

– Government (Local / National) – above in all 6 categories
– Community – above in all 6 categories
– Charity / Non-profit – above in 5 of 6 categories
Below average performance for all metrics were seen in:

– Recruitment / HR
– IT
– Construction / Tradesman

and bottom 3 by overall ranking

– Retail – B2B – below in 5 of 6 categories
– Construction / Tradesman – below in all 6 categories
– Recruitment / HR – below in all 6 categories

I’ll be back with some more discussion and some exclusive analysis not released in the report soon. In the meantime you can download the full benchmark report here – it’s a free PDF download.

2018 email benchmarks