Are you ahead of the game or far behind the competition? Take a look at the most recent email marketing benchmarks during this pandemic to find out where you rank.
In a recent report released by Campaign Monitor, collected from more than 100 billion emails sent from January 2020 to December 2020, industries averaged read rates of 18% and click-through rates of 2.6%. These results are marginally higher than the numbers they’ve generated in previous years.
This sudden rise in numbers can be mainly attributed to the pandemic. In fact, in March 2020 alone, at the start of the health crisis, the average open rate climbed to 18%, a four percentage point increase from March 2019. This is mainly because businesses started to rework their marketing strategies and increased the number of emails they sent to their audiences.
As the volume of sent emails rose, so did the read rates. However, this isn’t the only reason behind the significant surge in email engagement. Consumers have also become more receptive to emails because of the pressing need to stay up-to-date with important news and information.
With the threat of the coronavirus, it has become more important for people to keep tabs on what’s happening in the world. This is why essential industries saw the biggest leaps in numbers. At the start of the health crisis, consumers showed increased interest and engagement in emails sent from essential industries like government, healthcare, media, nonprofits, and financial services.
Wanting to keep the public well-informed, the government sector increased the emails they sent by over 25% as soon as the pandemic broke out. But this didn’t drive away their subscribers. In fact, their read rates rose to 26.7% while their click-throughs soared as high as 6%. The unsubscribe rate of this industry is also quite notable. Despite the bigger bulk of emails being sent to their audiences’ inboxes, consumers remained subscribed. In fact, the unsubscribe rate dropped from 0.24% in 2019, to 0.15% in 2020, to 0.10% in 2021.
Aside from consumers' growing fascination for political-driven campaigns, they’ve also shown more interest in healthcare-related campaigns at the height of the coronavirus scare, pushing their open rates to 23.4%. Because of people’s clamor for more health-related updates, healthcare senders increased the volume of their email campaigns by 36%. But consumers have not only become more dependent on messages sent from healthcare providers, they’ve also become more attuned to emails from media companies, one of their top sources for information. The media sector reported one of the highest open rates (23.4%) and click-through rates (3.7%) across all industries this year.
Apart from government and healthcare, the financial services sector also took advantage of this opportunity to grow its email engagement. This industry has experienced major improvements across all key metrics since 2020. The financial services sector’s open rate swelled from 21.8% to 26.9%. Meanwhile, its click-through rate jumped to 2.7%, and its unsubscribe rate improved to 0.2%. Indeed, as the world grapples with the effects of the pandemic, consumers are finding more value in these types of campaigns.
The global health crisis also had a positive impact on another industry — nonprofits. It’s no secret that nonprofit organizations had a hard time staying up and running during the pandemic, given the many restrictions in face-to-face interactions. In an attempt to connect with their audiences and shine light on their advocacies amid the strict protocols, nonprofits increased the emails they sent to their subscribers by at least 40%. These efforts weren’t in vain. They raked in nothing but positive results, boosting their read rates to an impressive 25.5% and click-through rates to 4.1%.
There were also industries that struggled to keep their engagement levels afloat, and among them was the food and beverage sector. The email campaigns of F&B companies fell from 19.5% in 2020 to 15.2% in 2021. But they’re not alone. Retail also shares the same struggle with F&Bs in the new normal. Retail senders are having a hard time engaging their audiences. The sector’s open rate is just 12.6% while its click-through rate is stuck at 1.1%. Although retailers have seen massive sales growth during the onset of the coronavirus, it appears they've been capturing a big portion of their buyers through social media and other non-email platforms. Nonetheless, increasing their email engagement would likely bring a tremendous boost to their sales as well.
On the other hand, consumers have been showing less interest in campaigns from advertising and marketing agencies. While there were no notable changes in click-through rates, unsubscribe rates swelled to 0.2% from just 0.15%. Read rates also went from 22.1% in 2020 to a four percentage point drop in 2021. Indeed, advertising and marketing companies must come up with more creative strategies to grab the attention of their subscribers and keep them engaged.
Apart from these mentioned industries, you can take a look at the averages of others across email marketing metrics. Comparing your email results with email benchmarks of your respective fields will offer an accurate insight into the overall effectiveness of your campaigns in this new pandemic era.