Are Cold Email Open Rates Worth The Buzz?

Cold email open rates should be monitored with other key metrics to help you make meaningful data-driven decisions. Here's how to get started.

cold email open rates

Cold email marketing allows brands to acquire potential customers and helps them scale. However, for a campaign to be effective, data-driven decisions are required.

This is where analytics come in. One of the most important email marketing metrics to analyze are cold email open rates. Should this be the metric every brand should focus on?

In this article, we’ll answer that question and more! So, stick around if you want to know about:

  • The basics of cold email open rates.
  • How important this metric really is.
  • What do cold email open rates tell us?
  • And important statistics you need to know.

What Are Cold Email Open Rates

In a nutshell, cold email open rates are the percentage of your email subscribers that opened a particular email you sent.

For example, if you sent an email to 1,000 subscribers and only 200 opened it, you’d have an open rate of 20% (which is considered good in most industries).

But this metric doesn’t show the whole picture. Low open rates can be from poor subject lines, deliverability, using keywords that trigger anti-spam defenses, and a number of other reasons.

There are several metrics you can track that can show you a lot more. Does this mean email open rates aren’t that important?

Is Email Open Rate Important?

The short answer?—Yes! Although open rates don’t show the entire picture, it’s a good starting point for any campaign. The key here is to use open rates alongside other key metrics.

Great content can lead to higher conversion rates. But what if you have bad subject lines? That leads to great conversions but low email open rates.

If you focused on just one, you’d end up misinterpreting the data. For all your campaigns, an intuitive analytics dashboard can help you avoid such issues and have an optimized workflow.

With Instantly.ai you have access to an analytics dashboard that provides immediate outreach insight, email marketing statistics, analytics on isolated campaigns, and much more.

metrics and analytics

Everything on this dashboard is laid out and optimized in such a way that you can see all the analytics from all your campaigns. This leads to faster, more effective, data-driven decisions.

Now that we have the analytics, how can we translate this data into useful information?

What Does Cold Email Open Rate Tell Us?

Numbers and graphs are great, but they’re only useful if we know how to make sense of them. In the case of open emails rates, it can show us the following:

Active Email Addresses

In a perfect world, all our subscribers would open the emails we send, every time. But that’s rarely the case. It’s likely that a portion of your subscribers hasn’t opened an email from you in quite a while. When this happens, it’s better to remove them from your list than to keep them on.

If a large enough number of people aren’t opening emails from your email accounts, email service providers might flag you as spam. There’s also a possibility that it can flag your entire domain, not just a single address.

Campaign Test Results - A/B Testing

One of the best email marketing tips out there is conducting A/B testing. If you’re using different types of content, subject lines, and audience segments, A/B testing can help identify what’s working, what needs improving, and what needs to be let go.

Subscriber Preferences

Open rates tell us about the type of content subscribers find more interesting. Tracking different types of content or subject lines and identifying which is opened more helps us understand what a particular segment finds appealing.

Important Cold Email Open Rate Statistics

email open rates

To help you better understand the importance of cold email open rates, we’ve curated a list of key cold email marketing statistics that can improve your overall campaigns.

2 Out of 10 of All Cold Sales Emails Are Opened

Got low cold open rates? Don’t worry. According to a Gartner study, only 23.9% of sales emails are opened.

This means that an emphasis on crafting engaging subject lines is necessary for all campaigns. In fact, Superoffice did a study suggesting 33% of email users open emails based on subject lines alone.

To improve your open rates, try adding subject lines that include:

Multiple Follow Ups Can Double Cold Email Response Rates

Even if your cold email gets opened, it’s not a guarantee that your recipient messages back. There could be a lot of factors that cause this. In some cases, they could just be busy or forgot.

But, as marketers, what we shouldn’t forget to do is follow up on cold emails. Backlinko did a study and found sending multiple follow-ups can potentially double your email response rates.

Emails Sent Over the Weekend Perform the Worst

Campaign Monitor conducted a study on the best times to send out an email and found that emails sent over the weekend performed the poorest.

If you want to do cold email campaigns, avoid sending emails on Saturday and Sunday. Instead, send emails on workdays between 1 PM to 4 PM.

Average Cold Email Response Rates Are Only 8.5%

Backlinko’s study also suggested that the average response rate for cold emails is only 8.5%. But, following best practices such as personalization, segmentation, and automation can easily improve this number.

Don’t Use “I never heard back from you” as a Subject Line

Guilt-tripping your subscribers is a good way to run your campaign to the ground. Using phrases like “I never heard back from you” in the subject line can hurt your open rates. Studies from Gong.io suggested that using this phrase lowers the chance of getting a meeting by 14%.

Key Takeaways

Cold email open rates are important, but they should never be used alone to determine the effectiveness of campaigns. Instead, it should be used in tandem with other key metrics to show an accurate representation of your data.

So, before starting your next campaign, consider the following:

  • Cold email rates can be improved by creating better, more engaging subject lines.
  • Subject lines with personalization, questions, or numbers can improve cold open rates.
  • Don’t send emails over the weekend. They have the lowest open rates.

If you want to experience data-driven optimization for all your email campaigns, try out Instantly! Start for free today and see how AI-powered email marketing can help scale your brand.