For email marketers, the end of the working week was the best time to reach audiences last year, according to a recent Campaign Monitor report. The study outlines a variety of email marketing benchmarks heading into 2021, including year-over-year changes to engagement in key verticals and how top industries fared in terms of response rates.
Based on an analysis of more than 100 billion emails sent globally by customers of CM Group’s family of brands, the report outlined email benchmarks by day in 2020. In every vertical, Friday was found to be the best day for email engagement, seeing a top open rate of 18.9%, a joint-top click-to-open rate of 14.5% (alongside Wednesday), and a top click-through rate (CTR) of 2.7%. This represents somewhat of a shift, as previous research has indicated that Tuesdays tend to be the best days for email engagement and Campaign Monitor itself in its email notes that typically Tuesdays and Thursdays have proven best.
The day with the lowest engagement varied somewhat between depending on the metric, though the lowest open rate and CTR were both registered on Saturday (17.3% and 2.4%, respectively). However, Tuesday was the day with the lowest click-to-open rate (13.5%).
Despite an uptick in email volume last year (with a 7% increase in send volume), the average open rate surprisingly did not suffer. On the contrary, open rates increased by 13% in 2020. More specifically, the first months of the pandemic saw open rates rise significantly, with April and May showing jumps as high as 20% year-over-year.
Other research from GetResponse, which provides more detail into the stabilizing of email engagement rates after COVID-related spikes, indicates that the high email volume leveled off after May 2020.
Meanwhile, mobile email engagement fell during the first months of the pandemic. The report points out that with people spending less time commuting or filling those empty moments while standing in line – along with more time spent at their desks – the share of emails opened on mobile devices dropped from 63% in 2019 to 54% in 2020.
Taking a closer look at email benchmarks by industry, it appears that the Government and Politics industry had a fruitful year in terms of email engagement. Likely related to the pandemic, the build-up to the November 2020 election and varying forms of social unrest, the industry saw the highest open rate (26.7%), click-through rate (6.0%), and click to open rate (22.4%).
On the other hand, Retail saw less encouraging figures, registering the lowest open rate (12.6%), click-through rate (1.1%) and click-to-open rate (8.5%). That said, the industry did see very few unsubscribes. Instead, the worst performance on this metric was for Wellness and Fitness (0.4%) – perhaps as people canceled their gym memberships…
Several other industries had an above-average open rate, including Nonprofit (25.5%), Education (24.9%), Financial Services (24.8%) and Media, Entertainment & Publishing (20.8%), while Food & Beverages had the second-lowest open rate at 15.2%.
About the Data: Findings are based on an analysis of more than 100 billion emails sent globally by customers of CM Group’s family of brands.