UK sees major improvements in email marketing engagement

UK sees major improvements in email marketing engagement

Email marketers take note: your efforts are paying off. The UK saw performance improvements in almost all areas of email marketing last year compared with 2018.

In the same survey a year ago by global software-as-a-service company Campaign Monitor, the UK’s numbers fell below the global averages in areas such as open rates, click-through rates and so on. But this year’s research shows that apart from open rates, which was the only metric that didn’t improve (only dropping half a percentage point from 18% in 2018 to 17.5% last year), all other metrics were much more closely aligned to global averages and even higher in some cases.

Furthermore, while some of these benchmarks seem to have only experienced a minor jump from last year, there was a big difference on closer examination: Last year, most industries experienced lower numbers, while a few highly engaged industries boosted the average.

This year, most industries experienced better numbers, while a few industries bring the average down.

This means that while the benchmarks seem to have experienced a small change from last year, individual industries improved far more than the average would lead you to believe.

Advertising and marketing performance

Advertising and marketing agencies surpassed the industry average open rate of 17.5% with an impressive score of 19.3% though fell below the all-industry click-to-open rate average of 13.4%, scoring only 12.5%.

Government achieved click-to-open rates of 17.4% while Retail scored 16.8% and Media, Entertainment and Publishing achieved 16.6% (see graph below).

Marketers in the UK tapped into their audience base to discover the type of content their specific readers are looking for when they skim their inboxes.

It also reveals that marketers found ways to capture their subscribers’ attention and drive them to action by taking advantage of FOMO (fear of missing out), creating urgency in their emails, and even including teasers that require readers to learn more by visiting the site.

Whichever of these best practices email marketers used, it worked. And Campaign Monitor predicts this trend will continue upward over the course of 2020.

Winning sector

Among the different sectors, Agriculture & Government held onto the top spots by seeing big improvements in their open rates. Last year they saw the top open rates of 33.6% and 26.5% respectively.

But this year those open rates increased to 35.9% and 34.2%. Those numbers wildly outperform the average 17.5% open rate.

The global report shows:

  • Click-through rates skyrocketed in 2019. The click-through rates for emails sent in the UK jumped from 0.9% to 2.4%, meaning consumers saw content they wanted to engage with on a deeper level – and a lot of it.
  • Unsubscribe rates plummeted in 2019, dropping from 2.4% to a stellar 0.2%.
  • Agriculture & Government held onto the top spots by seeing big improvements in their open rates.
  • Sunday reigns supreme as the worst day for email marketing in the UK.


Campaign Monitor analyzed billions of emails sent throughout the UK between January and December 2019 in order to understand email marketing trends over the past year.