It’s human nature to be curious of what your neighbours are up to, as we all like to keep up with the Joneses.

And this same basic desire is what makes industry benchmarks so valuable, as there’s no point trumpeting your 18% email open rate if your competitors are all achieving closer to 30%.

A new email report from Silverpop gives a useful insight in this regard, as it offers benchmark data from nearly 3,000 brands from 40 countries.

Read on to find out how you measure up in terms of open and click rates, or for more information on this topic download Econsultancy’s Email Marketing Industry Census Report 2014.

Open rates

Silverpop’s report shows unique open rates by industry, revealing that if around one-fifth of recipients open your emails then you’re doing an okay job.

A number of industries achieve average open rates of 25%, including non-profits, consumer services and education, while healthcare just pips them all with a mean score of 26.2%.

At the other end of the scale, travel & leisure achieved a mean open rate of just 15% while media & publishing achieved 16.6%.

Unique open rate by industry

It’s worth noting, however, that open rate alone is a fairly rudimentary and unreliable measurement of success.

For instance, it doesn’t capture all opens accurately due to image blocking and other factors.

Click-through rate

A more reliable metric of success is email clickthrough rate (CTR), though this is still not a substitute for campaign goals such as conversions, revenue or order value.

Looking at industry benchmarks, the usual suspects are again among the top performers, as one would expect.

Non-profits, education, healthcare and consumer services are the only industries to achieve a CTR of 4%, while travel and media are again the lowest performers.

Clickthrough rate by industry

The click-to-open rate (CTOR) is a more useful metric as it measures CTR as a percentage of messages opened rather than messages delivered.

This means email marketers get a more accurate view of how engaging their content is.

Results by industry show that top-quartile performers far surpassed their counterparts, notching CTORs that more than tripled the overall median rate and were about 15 times higher than the bottom performers.

Click-to-open rate by industry

To download the Silverpop Benchmark go here