Benchmarking Email Open Rates

May 1, 2012

While you certainly desire that everyone on your e-newsletter list would open and read it, that’s just not going to happen. But before your CEO complains to you about low open rates, arm yourself with some industry facts.

According to a July 2011 Email Marketing Metrics Report from

  • Once your email campaign has been sent, you can expect open rates to peak within the first two hours, followed by a sloping decline for the next 46 hours.
  • Transportation (17.6%), Non-Profit (15.2%) and Consulting (14.9%) enjoyed top performing open rates in 2010 while Media (8%), Restaurant (8%) and Medical (7.1%) had the lowest email open rates.
  • While it’s reported that most people tend to open email between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., at BroadBased, we send ours out at 5 a.m. and regularly receive 100 views by the time of our peak at 8 a.m. (Our open rate hovers at about 35%.)
  • Data collected from customers shows that smaller email list sizes ranging from 25-499 or 500-999 recipients perform better than lists containing 1,000 or more addresses.
  • Declining open rates can be attributed somewhat to retail email volume per subscriber increasing to 61% overall, with the most significant jump in 2010 when volume increased by 16%.



Jan Hirabayashi founded BroadBased in 1996 and is the company's CEO and lead marketing strategist.