Source: Litmus [download page]
Notes: Virtually all (95% of) commercial emails generate some forwarding behavior, according to a Litmus analysis of more than 400,000 commercial sends with at least 500 opens between January 2013 and March 2015. The median email (by forward-to-open rate) generated 1 forward for every 370 opens, or a 0.27% forward-to-open rate, per the analysis. However, there is exponential growth in this rate when looking at the top percentiles, with the top 1% being 17.6 times more likely to be forwarded than the median, generating 1 forward for every 21 opens.
Interestingly, the analysis found that the forward-to-open rate was higher for emails with small audiences (those with 500 to 50,000 opens) than for those with larger audiences, which the study author attributes to smaller audiences tending to “coalesce around narrow interests, specialty products, niche services, and local attractions.”
Examining the top percentile of emails against the 50th percentile, the study finds that the most-forwarded emails were more likely to center around topics such as event registrations/RSVPs, transactions, and new product or service/store openings, and far less likely to be centered on promotions, deals and discounts. News and helpful content was the second-most common topic for both the top percentile and 50th percentile.
Related: Email Subject Lines: The Latest Data
About the Data: Litmus used its Email Analytics to analyze the forwards generated by more than 400,000 commercial email sends with at least 500 opens between January 2013 and March 2015. To reduce the impact of list size, Litmus normalized forward activity by calculating the forward-to-open rate.