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Open Rate

Metrics: Tracking & Reporting

Getting your message to the inbox is only the beginning of the battle. Actually getting that message opened and read is where the engagement takes place. Opened Emails is a basic metric that tells you what percentage of your delivered emails were opened. Email marketers across the board are having a tough time keeping this percentage respectable. According to eMarketer, the average open rate in the industry is 19.1%. If your campaigns are hitting below this, or more importantly, if they are not hitting your personal goal, it may be time to figure out what needs to be done to boost that percentage.

Some aspects of email marketing are beyond your control, but open rate will not always be one of them. Several steps can be taken to improve that percentage. Try the following:

Send from a recognizable "From" name.
Make your subject lines more compelling.
Send less or more frequently.
Improving this metric is simple – get the recipient to bite. The specific actions you need to take depend on your audience, and real improvement requires testing. Experiment with different subject lines on different segments or scale back frequency for your less engaged subscribers. Test to find what approach is encouraging or discouraging opens. When you get the results, go back and test some more.

While open rate is indeed important, it is not the best way to gauge campaign performance. The metric is tracked by the HTML image tag included in your message, and for this reason, it can be affected by a range of variables that throw off its accuracy. For example, you may have subscribers with the preview window enabled in their email client, which could trigger an open even if they didn’t open or read the message. Similarly, some subscribers may have image viewing turned off, which could prevent opens from being tallied even though they opened and read the text in the message.

The rate for opened emails will never be 100% accurate, but it is useful for comparing multiple campaigns and improving your email marketing efforts in general.