Email Open Rate Definition

Email Open Rate is a calculated metric that measures what percentage of your subscribers are opening your emails. Email marketers should be very interested in tracking the open rates for their subscribers over time for each one of their campaigns. 

Option 1 - Open Rate

Open Rate = (Email Opens / Emails Delivered)

Option 2 - Unique Open Rate

Unqiue Open Rate = (Unique Opens / Emails Delivered)

Email Open Rate Best Practices

Improving Your Open Rates

If you think about your email marketing metrics as a funnel, as visualized below, you can start to improve the various fallout points. For example, the email marketing funnel can be described like this:

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Email Marketing Funnel

Each point in the email marketing funnel (sent, opens, clicks, conversion, revenue, etc.) can be improved by making tweaks to your strategy and campaigns. See below how the open rate can be improved:

Open Rate - This metric can be improved by how personalized and catchy your subject lines are. 

Tracking Open Rates Over Time

Your subscribers will be most engaged in the very beginning of their email lifecycle. So your welcome campaigns or introduction emails will likely have the highest open rates. This is normal. It is the honeymoon season for your subscribers with your product. However, overtime your subscribers may stop paying attention to you as much or, worse yet, stop opening overall. This is going to have an impact on your overall open rates. 

Tracking Unique Open Rates in a Given Time Period

If you only track the general open rate then you may be missing the bigger picture of your subscriber list. For example, let's say you have a 30% open rate. This is a standard average for most email marketers. However, some of your subscribers are more than likely opening several times which is falsely inflating your numbers. Open rate by itself can be misleading because of this. By tracking the unique opens you may find that only 20% of your subscribers are opening. 

Moving Subscribers Who Don't Open to Re-Engagement Campaigns

For the subscribers who have fallen out of love with your email program or become distracted by other email programs I have good news. It is not too late to earn those subscribers back! Many email marketers will put these subscribers on a do-not-disturb email list and quit communicating with them. A better practice, however, would be to place them on a new drip campaign that is designed to strategically re-engage them or better yet find out what it is they are really looking for. Collecting feedback from your subscribers is a great method to inform what your subscribers really want to receive from you.  


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Browse All Email Metrics and Key Performance Indicators

Browse the top email marketing KPIs and metrics every marketer should be tracking in their performance reports.