Businesses Improve Email Deliverability but Open Rates Decline

MarketingProfs has just reported email open rates fell to 17% on average in 2010, down 9 percentage points from 26% in 2009, according to a report from Harte-Hanks.

That is a decrease of over one-third in only a year. And that is significant.

The report is based on metrics from 3 billion emails, meaning in 2009, 780 million email were opened. And in 2010, only 510 million were. Adding up to 270 million fewer emails! 270 million emails that were delivered to inboxes and never opened.

Although “the study acknowledges that changing patterns in use of text and imagery that records open activity is having an impact on open rates,” it’s still a significant decline and something to pay attention to. How do your 2009 and 2010 open rates compare? Did you notice a decrease? Increase? Flat line?

Other news was good. Email deliverability rates improved, from 93% to 95%, and bounce rates decreased from 7% to 5%. That’s all good news for us as an email deliverability consultant! More businesses are apparently adhering to email deliverability best practices. How does your email deliverability rate compare? Should you be thinking on how to improve email deliverability?

Click-through rates stayed the same at 3%, meaning the people who are opening the emails are about as engaged and interested as they were before. So that’s also good news. And also a stat to consider as you review your own metrics for that time period.

To see how your email marketing program is faring in comparison, get more information, or request the full report.

Published On: July 20th, 2011Categories: Miscellaneous email marketing topics

About the Author: Sharon

Sharon Ernst from is on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes. Her newest class on intermediate email copywriting covers 19 tips and techniques non-copywriters can put to use right away for better results. The class has real-life examples and before/after comparisons to make the lessons stick. Find her class at When she’s not busy helping employees, managers and marketers master their writing skills, she and her husband are busy raising pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables on their 20-acre farm.

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