Open rates for emails depend on multiple factors, incl. the industry and the way people signed up to your mailing list. We will show you best practices to improve your email open rate, incl. choosing the right timing and enhancing some key ingredients.

You will find here a recent study by Mailchimp, which shares the average open rate per industry. We have compiled the five worst and best performers.

email open rate worst performers

Email open rate worst performers


Email open rate best performers

Email open rate best performers

Interestingly, the average email open rate hasn’t really declined over the last few years, as shown in this piece by Superoffice. We’re hovering around 22-25%, pretty stable, close to 25% in 2016 and 2017. It’s still up to 80% not opened by the recipients though. Since each incremental percent can have a huge impact on your conversions, we strongly recommend to improve your email open rate.

average email open rate

Average email open rate by year – Superoffice


There’s nothing more annoying that seeing your emails miserably landing in the dreaded spam box of your recipients, killing your open rate.

In order to improve deliverability and avoid being treated as spam:

  • make sure you have your users’ unambiguous consent to send them emails (ideally via a double optin but at least via an explicit call to action)
  • send your emails from a verified domain, obviously not blacklisted for previous spamming activity
  • ask your subscribers to add your email address to their address book (to land in the main inbox)
  • keep your templates simple and clean, don’t insert too many images, avoid at all costs (malicious) code
  • avoid stuffing your headline and body with *** 100% FREE ***, BEST OFFER EVER YOU CAN’T MISS, FAST EASY CASH, EARN $$$ FROM HOME and other commercially aggressive lingo. Here’s a pretty comprehensive list of email spam words.
  • when possible, personalize each email using merge tags, which is a sign that you’re not just spamming a list of scraped emails

You can use a tool like ISNOTSPAM to check the “spamminess” of your messages.


If you’re using emails in your marketing strategy, it’s crucial to determine what will be the best time to send messages to your prospects and/or clients. Bearing in mind that 23% of email opens occur within the first hour after delivery, you don’t want to ruin your chances due to bad timing.

A study published by GetResponse concluded that the best day to get email opens seems to be Tuesday. If you need to send more than one email per week, choose Thursday for your second message. Most people tend to open their emails between 10am and lunch time (or right after lunch) even if nowadays, with the ubiquity of mobile devices, email activity is more equally spread throughout the day, with higher transaction rates in the evening, when readers are more focused on content consumption and/or check their email just before going to bed. Early risers also seem to be pretty active, checking their emails first thing in the morning when they wake up. Just avoid to annoy your audience with an email notification at 4am while trying to be the first one to catch their attention…

There’s less email volume during the week-end (since email is still mainly a business communication channel) but open and click rates tend to be higher for the engaged users.

Here’s a nice visual recap by CoSchedule, showing you the best days to send your emails. You’ll notice that Wednesday comes very close to Thursday for your second best bet.

coschedule best time for emails

Re: timing, it becomes more complex when you’re dealing with an international audience spread over multiple time zones. You’ll need to segment your audience to send messages at the optimal time of the day for each territory. Check how your email provider is handling time zone sending. Examples: Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp (Timewarp),


Don’t send the same message to all your subscribers. Segment your lists based on users’ interests, this can double or triple the average open rate of each broadcast! That’s why we advocate people based marketing, at the core of our advertising solution.


Timing isn’t the only factor influencing email open rates.

The identity of the sender and the quality of the subject line appear to be the main opening drivers. That’s why you see a lot of companies using the (fake) first name of a customer agent either on its own or attached to their company name. It seems to create more empathy, which increases open rates, by up to 35%!

Pay attention to the copy of your subject line. Make it catchy but not misleading. The content has to be consistent with the trigger. Otherwise you risk losing the trust of your readers, which will negatively impact your open rate in the long run.

Readers love subject lines which invite them to learn something truly valuable which will help them / teach them something:

  • Discover the Japanese recipe for longevity
  • 21 easy ways to increase your monthly revenues
  • 10 mistakes you make everyday before lunch

Change promises (when backed with actual facts) also work like a charm:

  • Stop losing your precious time in endless meetings
  • There’s a way to fix a broken relationship. Act now.
  • Discover the 10-line mantra which will change your life.

In terms of CTA (call to action), don’t be afraid to tell your readers why they should click through, provided there’s something valuable at the other end of the hyperlink.

  • Click here to improve your earnings
  • Book a meeting to boost your revenues
  • Learn more about our game-changing platform

Be authentic, natural and enticing to drastically improve your email open rate.




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