Email open rate

After putting together an elaborate email marketing campaign, it can be hard to assess the success of your results. Looking at one of the most fundamental email marketing metrics, the email open rate, is a crucial way to start measuring your email marketing benchmarks.

Here is everything you need to know about understanding, leveraging, and optimizing your email open rate.


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What is the email open rate?

The email open rate is an email marketing metric that calculates the total number of emails opened versus the total number of emails sent out from an email campaign. While some eCommerce and digital marketers may overly emphasize the value of the open rate, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a business conversion rate or the value, quality, or success of the email content, itself. 

Essentially, it is the email click-through rate (ctr) that reflects the effectiveness of the email subject line. Alongside, you should also measure your unsubscribe rate and your click rates, which are good indications of how well your emails are performing.

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How to calculate email open rate

Calculating an average open rate is super simple. It represents the ratio of opened emails to total emails sent out to the email list.

Email open rate formula 

Email open rate = Unique open emails / (Total number of emails sent - Total number of bounced emails)

The hard bounce rate—or total number of emails that were not successfully delivered—do not count in the open rate, since they do not represent deliverability.

What is a good open rate?

According to email service provider Mailchimp, the overall average open rate can vary but is typically around 15%-30%. Some industry averages (nonprofit, real estate, etc.), for more niche subjects, can have a higher open rate, while others, including eCommerce, sales, and deals, typically yield a low open rate. The success of a good email open rate is mostly determined by the quality of the subject line and this can be improved through the use of subject line a/b testing to optimize your content to appeal to email clients.

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What is a bad email open rate?

With average email marketing metrics landing at roughly a 15% email open rate, falling below that represents a low open rate. If you are seeing a lower than average number of people engaging with your email campaigns, you may need to reassess your email marketing strategy. There are many reasons for a low open rate, your marketing emails may be winding up in the spam folder, or your subject lines may not be interesting enough to get people on your email list to click through.

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Email open rate KPI examples & templates

Your email open rate can be added to our email report template :

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Email report template Email report template

Our email marketing report template has everything you need to get started quickly: it’s pre-built with the standard KPIs you need, and it’s fully customizable so that you can visualize the data you want, the way you want. Track metrics like open rates, unsubscribe rates, click-through rate, and deliverability rate.

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Email open rate best practices

Mastering and improving your click-through open rate (ctor) takes some experimentation and finessing, but if you are finding that you need to improve your email marketing strategy, here are three key strategies to consider for enhancing the outcomes of your email campaign.

Bounce rate best practices

step 1 icon Run segmented campaigns

It is essential to know your target audience. In order to improve the total number of emails opened, they have to appeal to the email recipients. This means that having one master email list will not serve you well, as it increases the likelihood that your audience is receiving non-relevant content. Run segmented campaigns by separating and organizing your email list based on what you know about each user including their habits, demographics, familiarity with your company name, their background, and engagement with social media. Use automation platforms to help you accomplish this organization.

step 2 icon Focus on email subject lines

The email subject line is the first point of contact with each recipient and with a weak subject, members of your email list will not open your email and create a high conversion rate. Understand your audience and create concise, engaging, and direct subject lines for your email content that encourage the readers to open your message out of the vast number of promotional emails they receive.

step 3 icon Perform a/b testing

In order to experiment with what works, use a/b testing to send out different versions of the same email marketing campaign, with different subject lines, templates, and varied email content. Reflect on the total number of emails opened and the general click-through rate of your email list that results from each different option. Understand where your email subscribers are engaging with the emails, are they using desktop computers or mobile devices? Compare your versions and metrics to see where your email marketing is performing at its best.

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