All you need to know about Open Rate

All you need to know about Open Rate 

Open Rate (OR) is a percentage of ‘opened’ e-mails. Taking the path of mass-messaging one wants to know if their emails are opened and read. Here is where OR comes by. So how do one track OR? What OR is enough? All of the answers are here.

High or low?

Usually the OR is special for each company due to the differences at approach, customer databases, etc.

Let us imagine that you have a year-old customer database. First, your OR would be much higher than the OR of your competitors because usually, databases are much older than yours are. Therefore, you have much more clients who read your e-mails than those who do not anymore.

The other key element is the quality of the customer database. It may consist of those who have already made a purchase or may also include various leads and potential customers. Your OR will depend on it.

Besides, your OR may vary from one type of emails to another even if the database is the same.

What else affects OR?


The kind of e-mail. Promo-email that contains some kind of discount or other benefits for the customer is much more likely to be opened than a regular informational email


Customer segment.  OR is heavily dependent on the kind of customer receiving it. A newcomer has a higher rate than the inactive customer does. Furthermore, the same email sent to people of different gender, race, region, etc. will have different OR.


Time and day. Emails of the same content sent on different days will have different OR as well. Launch a test for a week or two and find the most efficient day and time of the week.


Higher and higher!


What do we do to increase OR? The main elements are WHAT is in the e-mail and HOW it is written.


WHAT is the content of your email and how valuable it is. Each customer has their preferences and interests, so it is very important to segment and target the right ones.

HOW to write an email that customer would want to open? You could experiment here or follow the beaten track – add a handful of interesting information and pinch of intrigue.


«For two days only! Presents and recipes from Mad Hatter! »

In the email:

– A short section about the first publication of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Luis Carrol and link to the blog about the book and author.

– All about the discount due to the anniversary of this publication

– Coffee and cocktail receipts from the characters of the book.


Another nice move is to surprise the customer with information that, at first glance, has nothing to do with your business. For example, ‘What was changed in the last amendment of the Constitution of Ukraine’?


-The actual email says that the Constitution day is the public holiday


-It is coming tomorrow, so we offer you a special discount!


Be aware that this kind of email may be used infrequently. Otherwise, It will lead to a dramatic decrease in OR.


Test it!

‘20% discount to any purchase!’ or ‘Giving out 20% discounts!’ which one will be opened more? There is no way to know it but to test it.

At first, use simple AB-testing, then AAB and AABB. Make an AB-testing process obligatory to get more data and increase your OR.

Attention!  Test one element at the same time! For example, by testing two systems as ‘Super sale – only until the 16th of may!’ and ‘Limited offer – 25% discount on the interactive robot – only three days left!’ the second one has a higher OR. However, we still have no idea what specifically increased OR. Was it the super sale, name of the product or time when the offer ends?

Lastly, never clickbait the clients the way they get nothing out of the actual content.


How to track OR?

As an example, we get data for a make-up brand with 10 emails per month. We have sent different kinds of emails, such as promo, personal offers, news, content, etc.


Comparing OR for the 3 months:

January February March
Average OR 26% 26% 27%

Looking goo so far – we see an increase in March. Let us analyze them by types:

January February March

Promo                      Content                  Newsletters                     Average




Then another conclusion comes to mind; Promo is getting worse OR, the content has a rapidly increasing OR. Therefore, we need to look for the reason for OR decrease of promo emails. Otherwise, it definitely will keep decreasing.


Is your OR good enough?

Yes, if you have:

1.      A repetitive communication bundle with the same number of segments. For example, 3 content, 3 promos and 2 news.

Compare your results at the end of the month and watch the average OR closely.

2.      A team member who is passionate about your OR and is watching it 24\7, doing everything they can to increase it.

What else to rate?


If you go further you might want to rate your customers by their position in the customer life cycle (new, active, gone). Using those rated you can track any changes in customers’ behavior and make communications more efficient.

Use it in a bundle with Click through rate and Conversion rate to cut your costs. However, those rates are worthy of another article.



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