Open Rate

The Open Rate is a parameter used in e-mail marketing. It is used to measure how many subscribers have opened an email, for example from a newsletter campaign or email campaign. The open rate is expressed as a percentage.

General Information[edit]

Email Open Rate = Emails opened / (Emails sent - Emails bounced)

In order to calculate the open rate, the bounce rate is first subtracted from all emails sent: emails that have not arrived at the recipient are deducted. Then, all opened emails are divided by all sent and received emails. The result is a percentage value, which makes the success of a certain email campaign measurable. Another tool for measuring success in this context is the click-through rate (CTR). It quantifies all recipients who have clicked on at least one HTML link in the email.


First and foremost, the Open Rate serves to improve email campaigns in the long term. Emails can be changed in different ways. The actual text content forms the core of a campaign. Depending on the target group and goal of the campaign, there are different requirements for a text. A distinction is made between industries and campaigns can be sales or branding oriented. The targeting, i.e. the orientation of emails to the target group, can be geographical, by industry, but also according to the primary goal of the campaign.[1]

Details such as a personal address influence the psychological effect and can lead to a higher open rate. The subject line must also be well chosen. Long phrases and too many keywords are less accepted by users than short, concise descriptions of the content of the email[2].

The text is supplemented by images and HTML links to provide visual stimulation and to encourage users to click on it. The general structure of the text (headings, bold type, etc.) should be chosen so that users get a good first impression of the email. Often special templates are used, which form the formal framework of the campaigns.[3]

The image material used usually contains counting pixels, which track user behavior and return this data to the sender. For example, an image can contain a link so that the CTR can be determined afterwards. The image resource is loaded every time the link is clicked. However, this data should be treated with caution, as some email settings, firewalls and spam filters prevent downloading images.

The recipient list should not only be up-to-date, but also accurate to keep the bounce rate low. If emails from email programs have already been classified as spam, this leads to a much lower open rate. If necessary, the campaign has to be redesigned and another mailbox has to be used to send the emails.

Recipients in Germany can only be added to an email list via opt-in, whereby each email must offer an opt-out option. This is particularly important from a legal point of view, as recipients must expressly agree to the receipt of e-mails. Cold canvassing in email marketing is prohibited by law.

Significance for SEO[edit]

The benefits for search engine optimization depend on how a campaign is aligned. If many links are included that lead to the company website, the traffic on the start page automatically increases. Measures that aim to make the brand known sometimes have viral effects that can be felt in social networks. Such positive signals have recently become an important factor in search engine optimization. Special campaigns, sweepstakes or discounts can be decisive incentives for customers and permanently increase brand awareness.

If the email campaign is only focused on sales, there are many product links in the email. This strengthens sub-pages and possibly increases the CTR of the product pages. But recipients of advertising emails also quickly turn away from the offer if, for example, the frequency of the emails is too high or the campaigns come across as little informative product advertising. The interest in the brand and thus also key data such as traffic, page views and CTR can decrease if email campaigns do not implement the various content, formal and technical aspects.


  1. How to improve your Open Rate. Activecampaign. Accessed on December 8, 2013.
  2. Email Newsletter Benchmarks: Open Rates, CTRs, Subject Lines. Marketingprofs. Accessed on December 8, 2013.
  3. How to improve your Open Rate. Activecampaign. Accessed on December 8, 2013.

Web Links[edit]