Posted May 30, 2014 3:54 pm by with 1 comment

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SilverpopI heard a blogger say that her Facebook page is tanking. Only 1,000 likes this week! I almost fell off my chair. A 1,000 likes? I’ll take that any day but compared to where she was a year ago, it’s dismal.

That’s the funny thing about numbers, they really only tell a story when you compare them to other numbers. For example, how’s your email open rate? Around 18%? That’s great if you’re in the travel industry but if you’re a non-profit you’re way off the median number for the industry.

Want to know where you stand? Silverpop just released their “2014 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study” and it covers the basics – bounces, open rates, click-throughs and usubs.

The big news is that bounce rates have dropped considerably. Even the bottom percentile saw a 25% decrease in bounces. This means marketers are dedicated to keeping those lists clean. There are tools that do a lot of the work, but a human eye is needed and it’s not a waste of time. Clearing out the deadwood can save you $20 to $40 per mailing. That adds up fast and if you’re a small business, you’re going to see the difference. And it’s not like you’re losing customers. Those bad addresses weren’t going to convert, anyway.

Speaking of converting. . .

The mean, unique open rate in the US is 20.1%. Top performers are seeing open rates up to 22% higher than those at the bottom creating a wider gap between the two. This speaks to quality of the material. The brands that know their audience and consistently provide what they need in an email are far outperforming those who don’t give their email marketing enough thought.

Industry-wise, Healthcare comes out on top with 26.2% mean, unique open rate. Education, Consumer Services, and Non-profits all show better than a 25% open rate. Silverpop says this is likely because these industries are more about information than promotion.

On the bottom is Travel and Leisure with only 15%, Media and Publishing at 16.69% and Retail at 20.9%.

Opening is important but clicking-through is vital – especially if you’re looking for a sale.

The mean click-through rate (at least one link clicked per email) in the US is 3.2%. Wow, that’s. . . not very big, is it?

Click-throughs mirror the opens with Education, Non-Profits and Healthcare all over 4%. Travel, Media and Computer Software don’t even break 3%.


Overall, the mean unsubscribe rate in the US is 0.1501%. That’s very nice but it gets better. Top performers had a near ZERO unsub rate. On the bottom, that rate climbs to 0.5%. Again, proof that well-written, highly targeted emails are worth the effort.

Spam complaints are also down. I’d say this is because almost every piece of marketing email has a clear and easy Unsubscribe button so it’s not worth logging a complaint. I still get a few emails without this important link but it’s rare.

Overall, things are looking good for good email marketers. If your opens are way off compared to the others in your industry, then it’s time to rethink what you’re doing and maybe hire an expert to get you going in the right direction. Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to gain and maintain customers. So why not let Facebook slide a little next week while you spend that time on your email campaigns? It’ll be worth it.