E-Mail Delivery Rates Up, Open Rates Are Down


Delivered, But Not Opened: According to the 2009-2010 Harte-Hanks Postfuture Index, e-mail open rates declined to an average of 17% in 2010, down from 26% in 2009. The report examined metrics for more than 2.8 billion e-mail messages sent by about 100 companies in nine vertical industries. Findings showed that delivery rates increased to 95% last year, up from 93% in 2009.

Also, click rates were steady at 3%, unsubscribe rates dropped from 0.32% to 0.19% and bounce rates declined from 7% to 5%.

In general, there was an improvement in bounce and unsubscribe rates from 2009 to 2010 as marketers improved the quality of their mailing lists.The pharmaceutical and government sectors had the highest open rates, with both topping 25%, while the tech- nology industry had the lowest open rate at just above 5%.

In 2010, retail continued to enjoy one of the highest delivery rates (over 98%), while the automotive industry had the lowest delivery rate (90%). Interestingly, the insurance industry’s open rates dropped from 68% to 25%.

However, this is still considered very good as the change was due to e-mail programsshifting from customer-service for current clients to promotional efforts.

As the company Harte-Hanks explains, “Changing patterns in use of text and imagery...is having an impact on open rates, without necessarily having an impact on response.” Other reasons for the changes include:

  • Recipients’ continued hesitation to view images, which records the open action.
  • Increased use of mobile phones to view e-mail, some of which may not record the reader’s activity.
  • Marketers are continuing to mail to non-responders, distorting their actual open and click rates.      
Source: Harte-Hanks














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