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North American email click rates dropped on a year-over-year basis in Q4 2016 once again, dipping slightly to 3.1%, per Epsilon’s latest quarterly report [download page]. That means that click rates have either stayed steady or fallen on a year-over-year basis for 15 consecutive quarters. Open rates increased on a year-over-year basis, though, as open and click rate trends continue to move in opposite directions.

Almost 94% of the emails sent by Epsilon in Q4 were classified as marketing emails, up from 88% the previous quarter, likely relating to an increase in promotional activity during the holiday period.

Marketing emails had the lowest average response rates of the various message types analyzed, averaging a 21.5% open rate and 1.5% click rate. Click-to-open rates for marketing emails, which averaged 6.9%, were also lower than for other message types.

Certain industries’ marketing emails fared better than others. In Q4:

  • The “Financial services cc/banks” sector averaged an impressive 45.6% open rate on marketing emails, with the “Financial services general” category close behind (43.8%);
  • The “Travel/hospitality travel services” category also had above-average open rates for marketing emails (28.7%); while
  • The “Consumer products pharmaceutical” (12.5%) and “Retail apparel” (15.9%) categories had among the lowest open rates for marketing emails; though
  • The “Retail general” category had the highest average click rate on marketing emails, of 2.9%.

Finally, in other results from the report:

  • Triggered emails continued to register far higher response rates than business-as-usual emails, particularly for the “Consumer services telecom” and “Consumer products pharmaceutical” categories;
  • Half of the average email list had at least one open or click in the 12 month period during calendar year 2016;
  • Almost 7 in 10 new subscribers to an average list have no opens or clicks;
  • In Q4 2016, 9 in 10 subscribers to a marketer’s email list had been on file for more than 3 months; and
  • The “Publishing/Media” category was the best performer in terms of engaging new subscribers during 2016.

About the Data: The email activity segment data is based on from more than 464 million non-bounced out and opted-in email addresses contacted from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016 across multiple industries and from approximately 145 clients.

The Q4 response rates data is from an analysis of 12.8 billion emails sent across multiple industries and approximately 150 clients.

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