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BEST PRACTICE: Creating useful benchmarks for email marketers

These days, email marketers face a number of new challenges, including increasing pressure to drive response rates, default image blocking at most major ISPs, creating emails for subscribers checking email on mobile devices, deliverability changes and waning subscriber attention in a crowded inbox.

With these new hurdles, response rates on a previously successful campaign might fall flat when repeated. What's to blame? Marketers often look to subject lines, creative content or other elements of their email campaigns to identify the culprit. It's also common for email marketers to search for industry benchmarks to measure themselves against. It seems today that everyone wants to measure up against industry averages and comparative metrics.

To determine just how they measure up, marketers often ask themselves the following questions: What is a good open rate for an email campaign? A good conversion rate? A good bounce rate? The frustrating answer: It depends. "Good" is relative. And "good" last year - or even last month - doesn't guarantee a repeat.