Our customers often ask us what ‘open rate’ means, and whether the open rate they are getting is any good or not. We’ve put together the following guide to help you understand what an open actually is, how they are measured and what typical rates are.
The overall unique open rate for emails sent by customers in all industries in the last six months of 2008 declined slightly, less than 0.7%. This is a smaller decrease than the previous six months, which saw a similar decline.
Open rates began declining in late 2004 as more email programs began disabling automatic image downloading by default. That said, click rates are holding somewhat steady, suggesting that people are still reading their emails, just not with images enabled.
To track open rates, HTML emails contain a 1x1 pixel invisible image. When a recipient enables images to display when they read the message, the sending servers are able to track when the image was displayed and by whom- this is the “open rate” information you see in your reports. When images are blocked, the “open” cannot be tracked.
In our last report, we mentioned that open rates are becoming less accurate with many people reading email from hand held devices and disabling image downloading. The fact that click rates remained fairly steady suggests that people are still reading the messages even though fewer opens are being reported.
Not all industries experienced a decline in open rates, as the next page shows.
The industries which earned the highest unique open rates in the first half of 2008 were mostly the same as the prior six months. Banking/Finance, however, lost its reign, dropping down to the number four spot. Religious/Spiritual now has the highest open rate from the industries. Government also fell from third to fifth place.
Religious/Spiritual 25.75% 26.69%
Telecommunications 22.63% 25.17%
Transportation/Travel 20.75% 24.86%
Banking/Finance 20.35% 27.75%
Government 19.68% 25.60%
Emails sent by the following industries were least likely to be opened:
Computer/Internet 9.53% 8.82% Entertainment 8.75% 9.07% Medical 7.11% 5.85%
Open rates for some industries increased while most decreased.
Small Business: General