According to SendGrid's 2018 Global Email Benchmark Report, readers are more likely to open their emails but less likely to click on the links in messages. The report found a sharp increase in opens overall—an aggregate open rate of 18%, up from 14.6% in 2017—and a click-to-open rate that continues to slump. While the aggregate click rate increased to 2% from 1.7% the year prior, the modest increase in clicks compared to opens meant the click-to-open rate fell from 11.6% to 11.1%.
"These changes reinforce our belief that recipients are becoming more discerning on what they click on," the report states. "While recipients may open more emails, they aren't necessarily going to click on links within the message."
Here are more takeaways:
Mobile opens continue to gain. The report suggests that users are far more likely to open emails on mobile devices (55.6%) vs. non-mobile devices (44.4%). "This means it's more obvious than ever if your messages aren't responsive and don't render correctly, creating a poor user experience. Responsive design is certainly the ideal, but if it can't be incorporated into your messages, we recommend at least approaching design from a 'mobile first' mentality."
Be more targeted. The software and Internet industry had the lowest number of messages sent each month, but they also have the highest median open rate. "Rather than sending a bunch of emails that don't get opened, send fewer, more targeted emails that are more likely to be engaged with," the report recommends.
Review bounces. When it comes to bounces, senders should be more proactive in reviewing bounced SMTP responses. "You don't necessarily need to consume data or build alerts, but by reviewing responses around bounces, senders can gain insight as to what tests/tweaks they can make to help fine tune content and sending strategy."
Optimize for different devices. iPhone and Samsung may be the most common devices, but they're not the only ones used by recipients. Make sure that your messages render correctly across as many different devices as possible, including Huawei, LG, ASUS, etc.
Check your incoming data. Top-of-funnel methodologies are often overlooked when it comes to email marketing, and they shouldn't be. Being diligent about the quality of incoming data will both create a better experience for the recipients as well as help avoid headaches for senders down the line, like nebulous spam traps and blacklists.
Test. It sounds like a broken record, but there's a reason. "Always ensure that you implement A/B testing before making changes to your email program," the report advises. "By testing, you can make sure what you're doing is making an improvement when compared to the control."
Be aware of email's growing transactional role. The report also suggests that senders are changing their thought processes, too—often taking a more transactional approach with their emails. "We believe that email's really becoming the communication tool for keeping a record of things," the report urges. "Whether it's an Uber receipt, or a shipping notification, or even a receipt from your purchase in a retail store where they ask if you'd prefer your receipt emailed, email is where people want those transaction records."
Gather as much information as you can. This report focuses on how recipients interact with email, but you should also keep in mind how you're adding recipients. Storing as much information as possible about your recipients at the point of collection can be useful down the road. Things like IP address, date, time, form, URL, etc. can come in handy when attempting to resolve issues with blacklist operators and ISPs.
Authenticate. In this report, the top three most commonly used inbox providers are Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail. So although B2B will see more business addresses, it is still essential to authenticate your email correctly so that your messages aren't blocked.
Download the full report here.