Average Open Rates for B2B Email Campaigns

There are a lot of numbers in email marketing reports, but open rate is one of the most important email marketing metrics, as it crucial to the success of your email campaign. If email is left unopened, great content won’t make a difference.

This metric is a ratio of the total number of subscribers who opened an email campaign to the total number of recipients. For example, if you send a campaign to 100 and 5 subscribers open your email, your open rate will be 5%.

According to Email Benchmarking Report 2020 done by Data & Marketing Association, based on 2019 data, the average open rate for B2B emails is 20.6%.

Average B2B Open Rates by Industries

Whilst each email marketing list performs differently, it is useful to know industry benchmarks, especially if you are just starting and don’t have your own data to compare to.

According to Mailchimp stats for 2019 the average open rate across all industries is 21.33%. That covers both: B2B and B2C emails.

The highest open rates are found in government-related emails, with an open rate of 28.77%. Mailchimp stats also show that emails sent from businesses related to hobbies get better open rate than any other B2B industries: 27.74%.

According to Campaign Monitor, one of the largest email marketing platform, the Government, alongside Real Estate, Design and Construction Activities, Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting industries have some of the highest performing emails across the board. Their subscribers show the highest open and click-through rates and this data covers B2B as well as B2C campaigns.

Source: https://www.campaignmonitor.com/resources/guides/email-marketing-benchmarks/

The Automotive and Aerospace industry saw the lowest open rates of only 12.6%, dropping from around 17% last year. Meanwhile, Food and Beverage (13.0% this year vs 15.48% last year) as well as Retail (13.9% vs 14.98% last year) both experienced lower open rates than the previous year.

Talking about B2B data specifically, the best performing industries of 2019 were Travel (22.2%) and Utilities (21.2%). The lowest open rate was reported by Publishing – 13.5%.

Average B2B Сold Email Open Rate

Recent stats show that an average cold email gets less than 1% response rate. It may sound rather low, but B2B businesses actively use cold emails to hook more customers. Cold emailing is still popular and works well:

  • the average open rate across all the industries is 22.15% in 2019;
  • 77% of buyers have responded positively to an email from a prospective vendor in the last 12 months;
  • 80% of buyers say they prefer to be contacted via email rather than phone or other means.

Numerous reports on B2B cold emailing show that originality and personalisation are the main factors that lead to high open rates for B2B emails.

In 2020 Woodpecker.co stressed that the average open rate of cold email campaigns with a personalised subject line is 10% higher than with the non-personalised ones.

According to Woodpecker.co, the open rate improves even further when advanced personalisation is used. Basic personalisation uses variables such as name and company name, whilst advanced personalisation uses any other custom snippet or variable.

Source: https://woodpecker.co/blog/cold-email-benchmarks-2020/

An equally important component of the success of cold emailing is a properly selected recipient database. Even if you are starting from scratch and don’t have your own subscribers yet, you can get a suitable list through a trusted data broker. Based on our experience, high-quality, verified, clean and segmented email data is crucial for the success.

B2B Subject Line and Open Rate Examples

The key thing with open rates is to get the targeting correct and then offer a compelling subject line. If you get these 2 factors right then you will get the messages opened. Below are a few examples of B2B subject lines and their performance.

New drink advertised to bars & restaurants

  • Subject Line: New Bordeaux selection from Ducourt available at lovewineontap.com
  • Open Rate: 13%
  • Audience: The sender is the UK’s leading manufacturer of “Ready to Drink” alcoholic drinks. The target audience was general managers of bars and restaurants throughout the UK

Tax books advertised to tax professionals

  • Subject Line: 20% off your next book purchase
  • Open Rate: 19%
  • Audience: The email sender is the world’s foremost authority on tax changes. Their target audience are tax professionals at major corporations in Europe. The books are essential reading for Tax Managers who need to keep abreast of the latest tax thinking.

Hygienic flooring advertised to healthcare providers

  • Subject Line: UK’s single source provider of hygienic floors and walls
  • Open Rate: 27%
  • Audience: The client is a manufacturer of specialist flooring tiles. The target audience are contacts in the Pharmaceuticals sector including procurement and C-level executives

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