A CMO’s advice: Don’t panic. Open rates were vanity metrics anyways. Here are the metrics you really want to measure.

A CMO’s advice: Don’t panic. Open rates were vanity metrics anyways. Here are the metrics you really want to measure.

image of Kady, CMO of Klaviyo

If the data privacy changes with iOS 14.5 1 and Google Chrome 2 weren’t enough, Apple’s come out with another update that has marketers panicking: Email open rates are going away in iOS 15. And as consumers request more control over their privacy, we can only expect Google and other service providers will follow suit.

But don’t worry, open rate has always been a vanity metric anyway. It doesn’t indicate true engagement, so it’s unreliable to tie back to your business goals. As open rates follow third-party data out the door and businesses focus on Customer-First Data™, it’s all the more important to measure the things that will show the actual impact of your marketing efforts on the business. The metrics you measure depend on your goals.

The problem with vanity metrics

Vanity metrics look exciting. As marketers, we drool over upward climbing graphs of social likes and followers, website visitors, email subscribers, and more. They can make us think our marketing efforts are paying off. But in reality, they don’t tell us anything about business growth.

Likes and followers on social media can be purchased or come from bots. Plus, even real likes don’t indicate true engagement. How long do you really linger on a post as you’re scrolling through your feed? Many people give it a double-tap and move on.

Website visitors mean nothing if that traffic isn’t qualified. How many of those visitors are signing up for your email or SMS list or making a purchase? If you have increased website traffic but your conversion rate has plummeted, the efforts that resulted in increased traffic aren’t working.

And once someone is subscribed to your texts and emails, are they engaging with your content? You’ll need to track click-through rate and revenue growth alongside list growth. It does nothing for your business if you convert the wrong people to your subscriber list.

How to Calculate Your Email Open Rate?

Email report widget showing a donut chart with 30% email open rate.

Formula on how to calculate email open rate.

Note that the formula says unique. It doesn’t matter how many times one person opens your email; it counts as one unique open. Also, the delivered emails are calculated from the number of sent emails minus bounced emails. Bounced emails are not taken into account because they are not delivered; therefore, they can’t be opened.

Let’s put the formula into practice: If you send 300 emails, and 20 of those bounced, you will have 280 emails delivered successfully. Let’s say that out of those 280 emails, 70 people open the email. Divide 70 by 280, and you get a result of 0.25. Multiply it by 100, and your email open rate is 25%.

What’s a Good Average Email Open Rate?

Table by Constant Contact showing open, CTR, and bounce rates for different industries.

1. Boring subject lines

Email subject lines are a crucial part of the email. They will bear most of the responsibility for your email open rates. The subject has to say Stop whatever you are doing and click me.

  • Don’t trick your readers. The subject line should be telling your readers what they are going to read. Look at it as a movie trailer.
  • No caps. Do not yell at your customers. This can trigger spam filters.
  • Keep it short. If it’s too long, it will be cut. Keep important words at the beginning.
  • Use numbers and stats. For example, 12 Mistakes Every Influencer Makes.
  • Ask questions. This is a great way to intrigue people to open an email to find the answer.
  • Dodge buzzwords. There are even some words that can trigger spam, which you need to avoid.
  • Use the 4U model. This model stands for Useful, UItra-specific, Unique, Urgent. So this means that the subject line must contain a valuable message, self-explanatory, different from all the others, and create a need for the reader to open the email now.
  • Make it personal. Adding the receiver’s name to the subject line is not the end. Use variables to add specific contact information and thus create personalized subject lines.
  • Bonus: Use preheaders. The preheader is a short text and goes after the subject line. It’s often overlooked, but it gives you the chance to summarize the email content in a few words and spark curiosity. If you don’t have a preheader, a part of the email text will be shown here. So use the free real estate space to make a difference.

2. Lack of personalization

The use of the first name is the bare minimum of personalization. You shouldn’t stop there. Think of it this way, you receive an email with your name in the subject line, but the rest of the subject line (or email content, for that matter) has nothing to do with your interest.

Peter has no interest in cooking classes; he signed up for acting classes. Two different and unrelated things. So the email does not cater to his preferences, and he’ll most likely delete it without opening it.

Segment your audience and pay attention to their interests. Add a personal touch by personalizing both the subject line and email content. If you continuously send emails that subscribers like, they’ll get a habit of opening your emails and, more importantly, perform the action you intended. Whether that’s signing up for an event, reading an article, or giving feedback.

3. Email sending frequency

Bombarding your customers with emails won’t increase your email open rate. It will annoy them to the point that they unsubscribe or, even worse, report you as a spammer. Sending scarcely ever is not optimal as well because you can easily slip their mind.

The short answer is there’s no magic number for how many emails to send. It all depends on your business. What is working perfectly for one business might not work for you. There’s research showing you should send 1-2 emails per week. However, you should check if this works for you.

Test until you find the frequency that works for your company and your people. Split the subscribers and start let one group receive more emails than the other. Check which group has more open rates. Just don’t expect results right away; this can take several months.

4. Time of delivery

The sending time is also important. While this varies across industries and regions, emails sent during office work hours tend to have higher open and CTR rates compared to the weekend. It also depends on whether your audience is more likely to check emails in the morning, around their lunch break, or after hours.

5. Emails are not mobile-friendly

If your emails are not mobile-friendly, a good percent of your users will not even look at your email, and they will not hesitate to click the delete button. In fact, mobile remains the most popular reading environment, with 41.9% of all emails being opened on smartphones or tablets.

Your email should look great on mobile. The text and buttons should not be too small, and images should fit the screen size. If you use ready-made templates, any email template is already optimized for all devices without being too heavy.

6. Inactive subscribers

In case they still don’t turn around, you can ask them what is wrong and use the feedback to improve. You should also make it clear that you’ll stop sending emails and give them the option to jump back in if they change their mind. You can use subjects like:

Test every email campaign

presend checklist with yellow checkmarks

Your list is changing. Your email campaigns are changing. So are your graphics and copy as you make improvements and updates. And the technology your subscribers are using to open and read your emails is changing too.

If you’re not testing your email campaigns before you send them out, all the hard work that went into them is at risk. That’s why making testing one of your top email marketing goals is the last item on our list. Just like personal resolutions, email testing is a habit that can really make a difference immediately and in the long term.

Email on Acid provides a state-of-the-art pre-send testing solution that includes reliable email previews for the most popular clients and devices. You can also take advantage of inbox display optimization, accessibility checks, deliverability monitoring, and collaborative team management features. Plus, with Email on Acid, you get unlimited testing. So, test your emails as much as you need in 2022!

Get the Inbox Insights 2022 Report from Mailjet by Sinch

Man sits on suspension bridge near mountains. Illustraton points to inbox insights

Explore survey results from best-in-class marketers who say their email strategy is “very successful.” Plus, hear from email marketing veterans and influencers on how to improve your program in 2022.

Built for Busy Email Teams

Your team needs an email readiness platform that scales as you grow and take on more work. Email on Acid lets you manage projects and permissions while collaborating throughout the pre-deployment process. Find out why so many recognizable brands trust Email on Acid for delivering email perfection. Discover our Enterprise Solutions.

Author: The Email on Acid Team

The Email on Acid content team is made up of digital marketers, content creators, and straight-up email geeks. Connect with us on LinkedIn, follow us on Facebook, and tweet at @EmailonAcid on Twitter for more sweet stuff and great convos on email marketing.

Author: The Email on Acid Team

The Email on Acid content team is made up of digital marketers, content creators, and straight-up email geeks. Connect with us on LinkedIn, follow us on Facebook, and tweet at @EmailonAcid on Twitter for more sweet stuff and great convos on email marketing.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *