Not-for-profits falling short in email opens and clicks, report says

Email open rates increase, but click rates decline according to the latest email benchmarking report from the DMA.

Austin Clark | 15th Aug 17

The not-for-profit sector is performing relatively poorly when it comes to engaging via email, according to a new report by the DMA.

Overall, emails are opened and read 14.2% of the time, but consumers have been more cautious about clicking, with a reduction in the aggregate click through rate from 1.8% in 2015 to 1.6% in 2016, according to the DMA’s latest Email benchmarking report 2017, sponsored by dotmailer.


Sector performance

According to the report, the top three most opened emails were from travel (21.1%), utilities (15.0%) and retail (14.9%) brands. Worryingly for charities, the least opened category was not-for-profit, with an open rate of just 6%.

When it comes to clicks, the top performing sector is utilities, with 2.5% winning clicks, followed by travel with 2.4%. The lowest performing sector when it came to click through rates are publishing (0.77%), not-for-profit (0.83%) and finance (0.88%), echoing the pattern observed in open rates.

Jenna Tiffany, a member of the DMA Email council’s research hub and Founder & Strategy Director at Let’sTalk Strategy, said: “It’s always insightful to see a comparison across industries for email performance. To add context, a large percentage of utilities emails sent are statements or bills, as a result they generate a high open and click rate as customers click to check them. Talking more generally, offers do still play a key part in B2C email content, which typically drives a higher open and click rates. This is especially true with more frequent purchases, unlike in B2B where the purchase cycle is longer.

“It’s also important to take into consideration when comparing B2B and B2C emails that, typically, a higher proportion of B2B emails are follow-ups or ‘FYIs’ to a conversation that’s recently taken place – such as after a telephone call – which require no action from the recipient, hence the lower click rate.”

The figures demonstrate a disparity between the perceptions of customers and the experiences of marketers. Despite industry open rates of 14.2% in the Consumer Email Tracker 2016 consumers reported that they opened between 28.4% and 50.08% of their emails, between double and four times the number that Email Service Providers (ESP’s) are recording. Nevertheless, users estimate they open at least double the percentage of emails they actually do based on these figures.

To find out more about the research, visit: