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Why Are My Email Open Rates So Low?

Delivery Reports Updated on May 3, 2022

Open rates are difficult to predict. Because so many things can influence when your contacts check their email, it is difficult to get a sense of what an acceptable open rate for a particular message would be. However, if you seem to be consistently seeing open rates that are lower than what you would expect, here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Time of Delivery – The time that your email is delivered can influence how many people open it. If you send an email on the weekend, your contacts will be much less likely to open it, at least not right away. The best time to send an email is Tuesday morning. Typically, your contacts will spend Monday catching up from the weekend, and getting organized for the week. Tuesday they will get around to opening and answering emails. Also, emails sent after business hours may see a drop in open rates.
  • Private Domain – Using a private domain for your from email address allows you to generate and maintain sending reputation independently. This reputation, in turn is extensively responsible for landing the email in the inbox. If the email is coming from a public domain (Gmail, Yahoo!, AOL, etc.), the email might end up in spam which will decrease open rates. Instead, use a private domain on your sending email address.
  • SPF and DKIMSenders Policy Framework and Domain Keys Identified Mail are methods commonly used to authenticate and improve the Email sending reputation of the customer. Applying these settings to your DNS setting will confirm that you are an authorized sender. Benchmark strongly recommends updating both of the signatures to get better delivery.
  • Age of list – One reason for low open rates could be the list you are sending to is old/outdated. It may be that the contacts on your list have since closed down those email addresses and moved on to newer ones. If this is the case, there isn’t much you can do because those contacts are no longer able to be reached. Staying in regular contact with your subscribers will help keep you fresh in their thoughts, and when they change email addresses, they will know to sign up for their new address with your company or business. Also, list verification can be a good solution as it will remove all the invalid email addresses from the contact lists. Learn about our Clean List feature by clicking here.
  • Non-compelling subject lines – Subject lines are the face of your emails and the first thing that the recipient sees in their inbox. A good subject line can remarkably increase the possibility that your email will be opened. On the other hand, a dull subject line can significantly decrease your email opens as it implies to the readers that your email is not interesting. Learn about AB Testing, and how it can help you test your subject lines by clicking here.
  • Email content isn’t Personalized (use of merge tags) – Adding the recipient’s name gives a personal touch to the email and the email does not look automatically generated. Using Merge tags can help you create a personalized email campaign fetching the details from contact list.
  • Non-recognizable “from” name – Using a constant “from” name adds credibility to your emails and helps your subscribers remember and recognize your emails. Frequent changes in the “from” name will lose that credibility factor from the recipient as well as the spam filter perspective.
  • Tracking Reasons – Because of the method we use to track your emails, there are a few circumstances under which we will not be able to track an open for your email. When you send your email, we insert a tiny image into the body of the email. When that email is opened (and the image appears on the screen), we know that the email has been opened and increase your open count. If that email client is blocking images by default (which is common today to protect against x-rated spam) we will not be able to track that email unless your contact unblocks the images.

Also, if your contacts are using email clients that only receive the text version of your email, we will not be able to track an open for that contact. This is because the plain text versions of your emails do not support our tracking image capability.

Thanks to these issues, the open rates shown in your “Reports” tab will always be lower than in reality because we can’t track emails that block images. Please do not assume that because we can’t track the email that it is not being opened. For the last two reasons explained above, your contact could very well be opening the email; we just can’t track that open.

If you have any other questions on how to improve your email open rate, please feel free to contact our support team via Email, LiveChat or Phone.