Is Email Marketing Dead?

With over 90 percent of Internet users in the United States using email, email marketing is a standard for many companies for a reason. Also standard is common talk of endless junk emails and the enviable “Inbox Zero.” For companies using email marketing, how many of that 90 percent are actually receiving and opening your messages?

HubSpot reports that the average open rate for emails across industries is 32 percent, a number that has generally been increasing in the last 15 years, though not significantly. However, click-to-open rates have been steadily decreasing, which is something that deserves attention.

A click-to-open rate is the ratio of the clickthrough rate to open rate and shows how effective your emails are at driving specific action. While emails for the sake of emails can be beneficial to develop a brand persona and build a relationship with your consumers, ultimately the goal of email marketing should go beyond, which requires more meaningful insights. If your email recipients aren’t clicking links in your emails, you’re not converting the email to a purchase, registration or follow.

One study across industries worldwide found the average click-to-open rate was 16.2 percent in 2018. Though this percentage is declining, it’s no reason to scrap email marketing from your arsenal all together. The ones who open and click through on your emails are some of your most valuable customers, and even the inactive subscribers are worth 32 percent of the revenue brought in by active customers, according to MailChimp, with one study finding that every dollar spent on email marketing brings $38 in return.

With these statistics in mind, it’s important to consider some of the following trends to make the most of your email marketing campaigns and ensure the value you give your customers in your email campaigns will keep them clicking:

Mobile Optimization

Mobile usage is responsible for over half of email open rates, but if your design isn’t compatible for mobile devices, you could be losing the potential for further engagements. Consider the size of images and links to make sure that whatever call-to-action you’re advocating is easy to see and follow through on.

Click-through rates decrease as the number of images in an email increase, so even if you’re an image-heavy brand, make sure you’re balancing the content you send to subscribers.


With the customization options available today, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be spending the time to send more personalized emails to your customers. Examples can range from dynamic text replacement tools to creating different audience segments that receive different emails.

Segmenting your audience will decrease the likelihood that customers will receive emails irrelevant to their interests with your brand, which could alienate a valuable relationship. Also, emails that have the recipient’s first name in the subject line had higher click-through rates than those that did not.

Email marketing has certainly faced challenges in the face of increasing digital information, and brands must continually fight through clutter to make an impression on their consumers. However, the monitoring and automation tools available currently make email a worthwhile addition to a company’s marketing strategy. As long as companies continue to pay attention and adapt to the ever-evolving nature of digital content, email marketing is far from dead.