Email Marketing Benchmarks

About the new Email Marketing Benchmarks report

Do you ever wonder how your email marketing and marketing automation campaigns stack up against others in your industry? If so, we've come to help.

We've analyzed over 2 billion emails sent by our customers from October to December 2017, in 126 countries across 19 industries.

Keep scrolling for loads of useful data on emails, marketing automation, and landing pages.

Can't find the data you're interested in? Just send us an email! We'd love to know what's important to our fellow marketers.

Michal LeszczynskiContent Marketing Manager @GetResponse

Hot finding


82.20%Open rate
21.69%Click-through rate

Location & industry

Average results by continent


  • Open rate 24.18%
  • Click-through rate 3.13%
  • Click-to-open rate 12.94%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.33%
  • Spam rate 0.01%

North America

  • Open rate 21.01%
  • Click-through rate 3.50%
  • Click-to-open rate 16.67%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.23%
  • Spam rate 0.02%


  • Open rate 29.00%
  • Click-through rate 5.06%
  • Click-to-open rate 17.44%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.29%
  • Spam rate 0.03%


  • Open rate 17.28%
  • Click-through rate 2.58%
  • Click-to-open rate 14.92%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.13%
  • Spam rate 0.00%


  • Open rate 24.82%
  • Click-through rate 3.49%
  • Click-to-open rate 14.05%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.17%
  • Spam rate 0.01%

South America

  • Open rate 25.46%
  • Click-through rate 3.64%
  • Click-to-open rate 14.28%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.17%
  • Spam rate 0.02%
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Continent Open rate Click-through rate Click-to-open rate Unsubscribe rate Spam rate

Segmentation and focus – email marketing across continents

The latest email marketing data across continents hasn’t let us down. In fact, it reveals the importance of focusing on your subscriber and their geolocation when you’re catering to a truly international audience. For instance, Europe beats North America hands down – in everything: the open, click, and complaint rates. What's more, the 4 times smaller population of Oceania sends nearly as many messages as the 1.3 billion population of Africa. So, what can you do to beat the average benchmarks? Adjust your offer, and play with calls-to-action and email design – "one size fits all" won’t bring you more than just average in email marketing.

Justyna BakkerInternational Marketing Coordinator @GetResponse

Average results by country

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Country Open rate Click-through rate Click-to-open rate Unsubscribe rate Spam rate
Great Britain
United States

Different markets mean different customer habits

Different cultures have different approaches to email marketing. The legal systems in different parts of the world touch the subject slightly differently, too.

In countries where legally and culturally double-opt in is commonly used, such as e.g. Germany, France, or the Netherlands, subscriber engagement is much higher than in the US, where technically law doesn’t even forbid buying lists.

When you compare your email marketing results, always consider the market you’re targetting. This is especially important when you work in a multinational environment and sell to customers worldwide.

Mateusz RuzikProduct Manager @GetResponse

Average results by industry

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Industry Open rate Click-through rate Click-to-open rate Unsubscribe rate Spam rate
Arts & Entertainment34.24%6.42%18.76%0.27%0.02%
Financial Services27.32%5.05%18.47%0.30%0.03%
Health & Beauty24.71%4.56%18.44%0.27%0.04%
Health Care35.54%5.69%16.01%0.36%0.02%
Internet Marketing18.05%3.16%17.53%0.23%0.02%
Legal Services26.82%3.08%11.49%0.17%0.02%
Real Estate27.16%3.00%11.05%0.21%0.03%
Restaurants & Food35.69%4.18%11.71%0.27%0.03%
Sports & Activities30.91%4.32%13.96%0.27%0.02%
Technology & High Tech24.66%3.91%15.86%0.29%0.01%

Going in the right direction

Industries that generate the lowest open and click rates haven't changed in comparison to our last report. However, most of the lowest results like Internet marketing have lifted significantly, from 16.4% opens and 2.89% clicks to a decent 18.05% opens and 3.16% clicks.

Mateusz RuzikProduct Manager @GetResponse

Landing page conversion by industry

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Industry Average conversion rate
Arts & Entertainment8.95%
Financial Services5.63%
Health & Beauty7.01%
Health Care6.95%
Internet Marketing6.17%
Legal Services14.55%
Real Estate6.13%
Restaurants & Food8.30%
Sports & Activities11.40%
Technology & High Tech6.74%

Know your audience and your competition

Depending on the industry, companies can have different business objectives that are naturally reflected in their landing page copy.

Non-profits and legal services, in their nature, are industries that benefit from copy that evokes trust. We can see that this approach helps them keep their conversions high.

On the other hand, retail, real estate, and internet marketing are some of the most competitive industries. So it's not surprising that they have the lowest conversion rates. My advice for companies in those industries is to research their audience thoroughly and use their everyday language, focusing on their daily challenges and jobs they want to get done.

If you're in the non-profits, publishing, or legal services industry, then you can safely aim at a 10% conversion rate.

Sezgin HergülProduct Marketing Specialist @GetResponse

Use of double opt-in by industry

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Industry double optin single optin
Arts & Entertainment10.43%89.57%
Financial Services9.10%90.90%
Health & Beauty10.94%89.06%
Health Care9.07%90.93%
Internet Marketing6.25%93.75%
Legal services26.77%73.23%
Real Estate7.90%92.10%
Restaurants & Food6.72%93.28%
Sports and Activities13.23%86.77%
Technology & High Tech8.08%91.92%

Double opt-in – a very underrated way we can grow

I am a huge fan of double opt-in or confirmed opt-in, personally. Lean lists mean best results, and deliverability is so much better when you have proven your list using double opt-in. It’s also great security-wise, will prevent anyone from injecting spam traps or other harmful emails to your list. Sadly, the number of confirmed email addresses dropped from our last report from 11.3% to 9.6%.

If you’re interested, you’ll find more insights on the benefits of using confirmed opt-in on our blog.

Mateusz RuzikProduct Manager @GetResponse

Time & frequency

Results by hour of day

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What's the best time to send emails? Whenever your audience thinks it is.

What's the best time to send your emails to get the highest engagement? Short answer: it depends.

In our study, we noticed the biggest spike in average email opens at 5 AM in the morning. But that's when only around 1% of all emails are sent.

In terms of the average click-through rate, the single best time was at 6 PM. Almost 5% of all campaigns were sent at this particular hour.

In general, though, you're more likely better off if you send your emails in two time slots, from 10 to 11 AM and from 2 to 4 PM. That's when most marketers see the highest opens and clicks, and when almost one-third of all email marketing campaigns are sent.

Why? Most likely because we're used to opening our emails just as we walk into the office, early in the morning, and later during the day, after lunch.

At the same time, similarly to our 2017 Q2 results, we're again seeing an increase in the engagement rates later in the afternoon, after 6 PM when most of us return home. This might mean that especially in the holiday season, you can capture your audiences' attention even later during the day, when they're most likely to make a purchase online.

But while we're at it – don't forget that every audience is different! You can find out the best time to contact your email subscribers by checking your analytics or using the Perfect Timing or Time Travel features.

Michal LeszczynskiContent Marketing Manager @GetResponse

Results by day of week

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What's the best day to send emails? It's different for opens and clicks.

This is another one of the most frequently asked questions among marketers – what's the best day to send emails? All our previous editions have shown it to be Tuesday, but this time the answer's not as straightforward.

In terms of achieving the highest average open rates, Friday took the lead in the 2017 Q4 edition of our report.

But if we're looking for the highest average click-throughs – after all this is the closest we can get when thinking of conversions – then Tuesday remains the best-performing day.

So as you can see, answering this question is never an easy task. It will always depend on the target audience you want to reach and how they behave. When do they have time to read and act upon your messages? Is it the same time every day? Or does it vary from day to day? It's hard to say.

My gut feeling agrees that Tuesday should be the best day, as most of us have a lot of emails and projects to catch up with on Monday. Having cleared the inbox and planned out the whole week, by the time Tuesday arrives you should be able to check your messages and engage with the communication.

But again, it might be different for different people, especially during the holiday sales season when consumers more willingly spend time searching through their emails looking for great offers and gift ideas. So instead of wondering, just run an A/B test and see for yourself. Check if Tuesday's also the best for you or maybe it's Friday or Monday? Don't just look at opens and clicks. Include conversion rates in your decision-making process as that's what you're really looking to improve.

Michal LeszczynskiContent Marketing Manager @GetResponse

Number of newsletters per week

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# of newsletters Open rate Click-through rate Click-to-open rate

Number of newsletters per week

Q: How many emails should you be sending each week? A: The fewer, the better.

You might be familiar with the quote: in sales, persistence pays off. But is it also true for email marketing? The answer is: no, in email it’s relevance that pays off. How so? Your audience will reward you with higher open and click rates if you don't exceed 5 newsletters a week. And if you approach your 14th message in 7 days, you can count on your open rate falling by a whopping 25%! But opens are meaningless if your audience doesn't click. Want to get more conversions from email? Hold your horses and limit your communication to 2 newsletters a week. It's worth it.

Justyna BakkerInternational Marketing Coordinator @GetResponse

Number of autoresponders in a cycle

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# of messages % of cycles Open rate Click-through rate Click-to-open rate Unsubscribe rate Spam rate

It’s not about length – it’s about value

Shorter autoresponder cycles tend to produce better results. But it’s not really about length – it’s all about delivering value. You can easily run engaging long-term campaigns if your emails remain useful to your subscribers.

The trick is to understand the customer journey and match content to context at every stage. For example, B2B sales cycles are usually complex and might sometimes extend into years. They require long email sequences and create great opportunities to address your target audience’s information needs.

Irek KlimczakContent Marketing Expert @GetResponse


Average results by message type


  • Open rate 45.70%
  • Click-through rate 10.75%
  • Click-to-open rate 23.52%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.58%
  • Spam rate 0.06%


  • Open rate 34.80%
  • Click-through rate 6.56%
  • Click-to-open rate 18.85%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.37%
  • Spam rate 0.03%


  • Open rate 22.06%
  • Click-through rate 4.32%
  • Click-to-open rate 19.57%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.10%
  • Spam rate 0.01%

Relevance is the key to high engagement

To be relevant, you need to know your audience (mainly their information needs and preferences.) This is why marketing automation cycles bring the best results.

With marketing automation, you can collect important data along the customer journey and use it to segment your list and personalize your marketing communication.

Irek KlimczakContent Marketing Expert @GetResponse

Use of video

  • Open rate 29.28%
  • Click-through rate 5.70%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.25%
  • Spam rate 0.04%
  • Open rate 34.07%
  • Click-through rate 6.39%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.32%
  • Spam rate 0.02%
  • Open rate 13.90%
  • Click-through rate 1.24%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.28%
  • Spam rate 0.01%

Other / None

  • Open rate 24.50%
  • Click-through rate 3.94%
  • Unsubscribe rate 0.24%
  • Spam rate 0.02%

Technology gap

We’re still not ready for videos embedded in emails. There’s no broad support of this feature among email clients, so for the time being, I would discourage you from using it. But it will be the most important feature once available in most popular email clients.

For now, the best way around it is to use an image (maybe even an animated GIF) that looks like a video player and link it to your page. This way you'll improve your click-throughs and the experience of your contacts.

Mateusz RuzikProduct Manager @GetResponse

Number of characters in email subject lines

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Give the reader an idea of what’s inside

Your subject lines need to be compelling enough to get people to open the email. So it’s not about the length of the subject line as much about it’s conveying the message.

The title of the email should give the reader an idea of what’s inside. If the content is relevant to your audience, it's easy to come up with a subject line that results in a high open rate.

Irek KlimczakContent Marketing Expert @GetResponse

Emoji in email subject lines

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Emoji % of messages Open rate

Emoji and emails, a match made in heaven (maybe)

I don’t like emoji. There, I said it. But, because I’m still an email marketer from time to time, I’ve come to think that how I feel about certain tactics isn’t really important if they have a positive impact on conversions. So, do emoji have a positive impact on open rates? Looks like they do – it’s 30% versus 24. But, it’s a pretty recent trend, and still, less than 9% of marketers have ever emojified their email subject lines. I’d say – the proof is in the audience and the scope of your business.

Justyna BakkerInternational Marketing Coordinator @GetResponse

Personalization in email subject lines

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Personalized? % of messages Open rate

Hey, you! Here's why subject line personalization matters

Although 89% of marketers don’t personalize their email subject lines, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. Because the 11% of us did, and we did it right – the OR was pumped by 5.5%, and the clicks went up as well. Every email marketer wants happy and engaged contacts. Happy contacts = increased engagement and revenue potential. So be authentic and take the time to show your contacts they really matter. How? By personalizing your subject lines, for starters.

Justyna BakkerInternational Marketing Coordinator @GetResponse


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Preheader? % of messages Open rate Click-through rate Click-to-open rate

Use a preheader as an extension of the subject line

Use a preheader as an extension of your subject line, and you’ll increase the chances of getting your email opened.

In fact, you should make use of all the elements that subscribers see in the inbox before they open the email. Used well, the so-called envelope (sender, subject line, and preheader) can make a difference.

Irek KlimczakContent Marketing Expert @GetResponse


Average results by list size

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List size Open rate Click-through rate Click-to-open rate Unsubscribe rate Spam rate
1,000 - 2,49931.77%5.53%17.41%0.36%0.03%
2,500 - 4,99925.01%4.06%16.24%0.25%0.02%
5,000 - 9,99921.42%3.52%16.45%0.20%0.02%
10,000 - 24,99918.59%2.87%15.45%0.15%0.01%
25,000 - 49,99917.39%2.29%13.17%0.13%0.01%
50,000 - 99,99913.69%1.92%14.05%0.10%0.01%

Email lists: when quality beats quantity!

When it comes to email lists, email marketers have long preached the importance of quality over quantity. Now is this true? Without knowing the overall conversion rates, it's hard to say for sure.

What we can see clearly, though, is that marketers with smaller lists are better at engaging their audience, and their messages tend to get higher average open and click-through rates. In fact, this trend's been visible over the last two quarters.

The lesson? When you're growing your lists, don't lose touch with your customers! Build relationships just like you would if you were running a corner store. Personalize your subscribers’ experience and make sure the conversation keeps delivering value to them. Your audience will appreciate it and pay you back with interest.

Michal LeszczynskiContent Marketing Manager @GetResponse

Types of email clients

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Type % of message opens
Standalone (e.g. Apple Mail)18.34%
Web-based (e.g. Gmail)51.82%

Design for all devices with your CTA in mind

The data clearly shows that people use email on all devices with a strong trend towards mobile. It’s great news for email marketers – your customers interact with your emails whenever and wherever they feel like.

That means that to be successful, you need to apply responsive design principles that make your emails look great on any device and work well with all email clients. That’s why you should start designing your templates with your CTA in mind, test your results, and optimize for conversion.

Irek KlimczakContent Marketing Expert @GetResponse

Email address length

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Aim for all

The growth of your contact list depends heavily on the performance of your lead capture forms.

When designing and optimizing forms and landing pages, keep it in mind that some of your audience can have long email addresses. Make sure that your forms are big enough to fit them.

You can also try asking for business emails in your forms since they’re often shorter than personal emails.