Research & Reports

Average Open Rates for Nonprofit Email Increases in 2019

Stewardship & Marketing: Donor Relations/Stewardship
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The average open rates for nonprofits improved from 20.39 percent in 2018 to 25.2 percent in 2019, according to a new report released by Campaign Monitor, a provider of email marketing software.

The 2020 Global Email Marketing Benchmark report gives companies a resource to see how their performance stacks up globally and within their industry in key areas such as email open, click-through, click-to-open, unsubscribe and bounce rates.

Campaign Monitor analyzed over 30 billion emails sent globally between January and December 2019. These emails were sent from Campaign Monitor customers from 171 countries to subscribers all around the world.

With these benchmarks, organizations can see exactly how their email strategy compares with others, and where a little bit of time and focus will lend itself to the biggest results.

The global data revealed the following email marketing benchmarks, including all industries:

  • Average open rate: 17.8 percent
  • Average click-through rate: 2.6 percent
  • Average click-to-open rate: 14.3 percent
  • Average unsubscribe rate: 0.1 percent
  • Average bounce rate: 0.7 percent

While most average benchmarks remained consistent from 2018’s performance, there was improvement for bounce rates and unsubscribes. Bounce rates improved by .36 percent and emails saw .08 percent fewer unsubscribes.

With regard to nonprofits, specifically, key findings include:

  • Open rates ranged from a low of 24.60 percent on Fridays to a high of 26.20 percent and 25.90 percent on Wednesdays and Mondays, respectively. The highest open rate for 2018 was only 22.9 percent, occurring on Sundays.
  • Click-through rates saw a low of 2.5 percent on Sundays, Thursdays and Fridays and a high of 2.70 percent on Mondays and Wednesdays. While the percentages remained just about the same as those in 2018, Tuesdays and Saturdays showed the highest click-through rates that year.
  • Click-to-open rates ran a low of 9.90 percent on the weekend days and a high of 10.50 percent on Mondays and Tuesdays. The click-to-open high rate for 2018 was 13.45 percent, occurring on Wednesdays.
  • Unsubscribe rates remained a consistent 0.20 percent throughout the days of the week.  This rate is up slightly from 2018’s high of 0.18 percent.
  • The bounce rate was a steady 0.90-1.00 percent throughout the week with the highest rate occurring on Saturdays at 1.30 percent. This figure is up from 2018’s rate of 1.16 percent.
  • While the report shows that Tuesdays see the highest average open rates across all industries, the data specific to nonprofits points to Mondays as being the most favorable with open, click-through and click-to-open rates all sharing the highest rates that day.  However, rather than chasing the elusive “best day” to send email, your organization should focus on the real answer to seeing better metrics: following email marketing best practices and A/B testing to discover the day your audience is most engaged.

Email marketing continues to engage today’s consumers. Last year’s best numbers saw big improvements for 2019, which proves that regardless of how well your organization’s email marketing strategy currently performs, there’s always room to improve.

The best and most useful emails will continue to see high open and click-through rates as your organization establishes its brand as a must-read resource for its subscribers.

For more information and to read the full report, visit Campaign Monitor.

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