How does your email compare to the competition?

“Is my open rate good?”, “What’s too high for spam complaints”. These are questions we get all the time at ReachMail and the short but unsatisfying answer is “it depends”

A first start is to compare your metrics vs the competition. Our friends at ReturnPath have just published a study comparing seventeen different industries and how each industry performed according to selected metrics. Here’s the chart:



How to interpret the data?
You’ll notice right away that ReturnPath has some different metric names than ReachMail. For example:

Read Rate – is similar to open rate but it’s not exactly the same. In fact it’s always going to be higher than your ReachMail open rate. Why? ReachMail measures opens by placing a tiny invisible pixel linked to a web link open counter on your email that measures each time that link is opened. This pixel is technically an “image”. What happens if someones email settings are “images off” and they open your email. In ReachMail we won’t count it. ReturnPath actually monitors real inboxes and can tell who “read” the email even with images off.

Complaint Rate – your ReachMail Spam Complaint rate is calculated the same as ReturnPath’s – the rate at which your messages are marked as spam.

Space Placement Rate –  this can be only determined if you can see into the actual inbox of individual subscribers. ReturnPath has a system to do just that. This information is not available in ReachMail – however you can use open rates as a proxy for spam placement rate.

Delete before Reading rate – means that the subscriber didn’t just ignore you – they deleted. This is not available in ReachMail however it’s an interesting metric by industry

Forward Rate – generally this metric is extremely small for almost all industries but it does indicate interest. At ReachMail – we do see this substantially higher for business-to-business marketers indicating recipients share your offer to colleagues.

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