Announcing the 2019 Email Benchmark and Engagement Study

December 12, 2019
Written by
Warren Duff
Opinions expressed by Twilio contributors are their own

Announcing the 2019 Email Benchmark and Engagement Study

Cover of 2019 Email Benchmark and Engagement Study

Since 2016, Twilio SendGrid has developed and published our Global Email Benchmark Report, and we're happy to announce that the 2019 Email Benchmark and Engagement Study is available for you to read! 

The 2019 Email Benchmark and Engagement Study is more impactful and useful than ever before. We continued our work with internal data scientists to provide engagement data that we see from senders, sending over 60 billion emails each month. In addition to that sender data, we also performed a recipient engagement study to see how email recipients interact with email.

This report looks at the global average email engagement statistics, including Aggregate Open Rate, Aggregate Click Rate, Click-to-Open Rate, and Monthly Send Rate. The global email benchmarks for 2019 are quite a bit different from what we saw in 2018, and they reverse a couple trends that were developing:

The global email benchmarks for 2019

This data reiterates a lot of what we’ve coached senders on for years: as the number of messages to recipient inboxes increases, the engagement with those messages drops. In the table above, the average number of messages sent to recipients increased to 8.3 in 2019. This corresponds with the drops in Aggregate Open Rate, Aggregate Click Rate, and Click-to-Open Rate.

For even more global benchmarks, including the top inbox providers and devices used in the top 25 countries we send email to, download the full 2019 Email Benchmark and Engagement Study.

Recipient Email Engagement Data and Insights

While it’s helpful to know what the email engagement benchmarks are as a sender, there’s an equally important aspect of the email communication channel: the recipient. This year, we performed a qualitative ethnographic study, and a quantitative online survey, both of which were conducted  in the United States (U.S.) and United Kingdom (U.K.) to answer some fundamental questions around recipient engagement:

  • What emails are recipients interested in engaging with?
  • What elements impact a recipient’s choice to open and click on an email?
  • When do recipients become frustrated with the number of emails they receive?
  • What makes an email memorable to recipients?

By listening to recipients and learning about what they’d like to see in their inbox, senders can craft and send more valuable emails that have a better chance of being opened and engaged with. Through this recipient study, we learned: 

Email is Essential

Email is not only important, it’s an essential channel for communication between recipients and companies. Email has become a part of their morning rituals and routines. Some even say they’re addicted to their email.

Pie chart of Frequency that people typically check personal email

Across the U.S. and the U.K., and across all age groups, 84% of participants check their email at least once a day, with the majority of people checking messages numerous times throughout the day.

Recipients Want Email Content 

The general consensus is that an email should definitely have some content, just not too much. When we asked recipients how much content an email should have, they overwhelmingly agreed that it should have some, but not too much. Recipients don’t want messages with just images, and they don’t want a wall of text.

BAr chart showing How Much Content Should an Email Have?

Across all study participants, 96% responded that they would  like somewhere between a couple sentences and a few paragraphs of content in emails they receive. Almost no recipients want no content or more than 4 paragraphs.

Emails Need to Load Correctly 

Email recipients expect an email to load properly on the device they’re using to view it. Whether it’s a phone, tablet, or computer, your email should appear correctly so that they don’t have to zoom in or scroll awkwardly in order to read it.

Bar chart showing How Essential Is It for an Email to Load Properly Across Your Devices?

Of all participants, 66% said that it is essential for an email to load properly on all devices. In the U.S., this percentage grows to 70% of participants, and drops to 63% among U.K. participants. 

Recipients Want to Provide Their Email Preferences

Oftentimes, companies only provide an email preference center when a recipient has decided to unsubscribe from their messages. Unfortunately, this isn’t when recipients want to give you their email preferences.

Bar chart showing When do you want to tell companies what type of emails you want to receive?

Overall, 60% of participants would prefer to tell companies exactly what kinds of email they’re interested in right when they provide their email address for the first time. An additional 24% of respondents said they’d be interested in a survey emailed to them soon after providing their address.

Dive Into the Rest of the Study

The full 2019 Email Benchmark and Engagement Study is filled with even more great data that you can use to improve your email program. In addition to the charts above, the study includes more granular data on how participants across 4 different age groups in the U.S. and U.K. responded to dozens of email questions. Within the full report, you’ll learn:

  • How many images recipients want to see in their emails
  • What frequency of messages they’d like to receive 
  • What elements of emails influence their decision to click on links
  • What frustrates them about the email experience

With more than 50 different charts showing how recipients responded to dozens of email questions, the 2019 Email Benchmark and Engagement Study is an essential resource for any email sender.

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