Friday, August 10, 2012

Researchers Find Email Open Rates Down, CTR Up
Here’s why that’s good, not bad, for B2B marketers

As expected, researchers continue to hammer on the fact that MEASURED email open rates are dropping again, even though click through rates and unsubscribe rates are improving. According to the latest findings from email service provider,
Silverpop, email open rates trended downwards again from an average of 21.3 percent in 2009 to 19.9 percent through the first quarter of this year.

“The decrease can be tied to a number of industry developments, namely email service technology that blocks HTML imagery, and features such as Gmail’s Priority Inbox (or similar third-party add-ons,” according to Bryan Brown, Silverpop’s director of product strategy in a statement.

Researchers did find some encouraging signs however. For instance, click-through rates averaged 5.4 percent in 2011 and 2012 -- up from a 2009 average of 4.5 percent. “Click-through rates are a key measure for email efficacy -- more so than open rates -- and the notable increase in CTR can be attributed to a simultaneous increase in automated A/B testing,” Brown explained.

Our Take: Unless you’re selling mass audience brand d advertising or sponsorships, open rates on your email don’t matter if no one is taking action after they open. In fact, it could be a sign that you’re seductive subject lines (that got the reader to open) isn’t delivering on what you promise. We can’t say enough about the importance of engagement and if we take the liberty of extrapolating on Silverpop’s data, you’ll see a nice improvement in the CLICK-to-OPEN ratio over the measured period—27.1 percent up from 21.1 percent!


Engagement will trump “McMetrics” such as the open rate every time. Lots of factors affect your open rate that don’t necessarily have to do with the quality of your list and the relevance of your content. Remember to focus on what you NEED to measure, not on what’s EASY to measure.


Silverpop, Email open rates, click through rates, CTR, click to open, McMetrics

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