Email open rates have been the go-to KPI for email marketers for a long time. Afterall, if an email is not opened it can’t be read. In many ways it’s the foundation for any email marketing program. Open rates have been a valid measurement, although crude, for measuring program performance, year-to-year change, and form the basis for A/B test evaluation, etc. Many email marketers like to compare their open rate with their overall industry average. This also a valid measure with a few caveats.
Consider the following table comparing 4 ESP’s across three different industries:
Which average is a valid industry benchmark? And what explains the variance among ESP’s.
Constant Contact and Mailchimp are generally thought to have a greater proportion of small operators in their client base. This is usually a result of free accounts and/or low cost of their services for clients with smaller lists and less need for sophisticated tools.
Constant Contact is one of the largest email marketing services in the world with about 650,000 customers. It is also easy to use and a “beginner friendly” email marketing service.
Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing service providers in the world primarily because they offer a forever free email marketing service plan. They claim to have 20 million customers in 175 countries.
On the other hand, as of 2021, ActiveCampaign has about 145,000 customers in in 170 countries and Get Response claims to have 350,000 customers in 183 countries. 250,000 small and medium-sized businesses. ESPs like these tend to offer more sophisticated tools that appeal to clients with a range of specialized needs such as supporting a large field sales force, high dollar volume transactions or automating a complex sales cycle.
When looked at this way, the size and composition of an ESP’s customer base, mix of B2C vs. B2C focus and scope service area will impact that ESP’s industry averages.
For a complete list of KPI’s by industry from these four providers click on the links, below: