Email Open Rates on the Rise, Trend Report Suggests

Email open rates are on the rise, as consumers engage with email more frequently through mobile devices, according to a report released yesterday by Epsilon, a company that delivers direct-to-consumer connections to drive business performance, and Email Institute, an Epsilon-powered email marketing best practices destination.

When it comes to business as usual (BAU) email trends, the "Q1 2013 North America Email Trends and Benchmarks" report shows that the email nonbounce rate remains strong at 96.4 percent. Open rates increased by 13.5 percent from last quarter, and 18.6 percent from this time last year, resulting in an overall open rate of 31.1 percent. Click rates increased as well, and have reached about 5.1 percent.

"Email open rates rose to 31.1 percent in Q1. This is a notable increase over previous quarters and years," Judy Loschen, vice president of digital analytics at Epsilon, says. "We expect to continue to see increased open rates as more consumers check email and manage their inbox on the go via mobile phones and tablets. We also found an increase in click rates, suggesting that more marketers are recognizing their consumers' mobile behaviors and preferences and are focusing on optimizing their email creative and content for the mobile Web."

Triggered messages, which account for only 3.3 percent of total volume, performed better than BAUs overall. Open rates were 60.8 percent higher compared to BAU messages, and click rates were 116.9 percent higher.

"Triggered emails often outperform their Business As Usual counterparts because they're deployed based on an action the consumer has taken or milestone they've identified. Marketers leveraging triggered messages are taking advantage of a moment of engagement to create a stronger experience for a consumer," Loschen says. "In Q1 we noted an even more significant increase in triggered email click rates when compared to BAU than previous studies. Nearly every industry category analyzed had a lift—from 70 percent up to 442 percent. Triggered emails are an optimal means to continuously connect with consumers where and when they are attentive and ready to hear from your brand."

An overall email activity segmentation analysis also revealed that half of an average email file had at least one open or click during the 12-month study period, but as many as 61.5 percent of new subscribers, defined as addresses that have been on a marketer's file for less than three months, had zero opens or clicks.

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