Cold Email · · 4 min read

Identifying Issues In Email Campaigns Using Open Rate Calculation

Email open rate calculation helps you identify underlying issues in your email campaigns, like poor list quality, deliverability, and email copy.

open rate calculation

Email open rates are an essential metric to monitor in every campaign. If you want to improve your sales emails, one of the first things you can do is examine your open rates.

In this article, you’ll learn: 

  • How to calculate email open rates
  • How to improve email open rates 
  • Best practices for ensuring high open rates

How to Do Email Open Rate Calculation

Most email marketing tools have analytics dashboards showing real-time open rates. Understanding how they’re calculated gives insight into how to improve your emails. 

The fastest way to calculate email open rates is by using the formula:

(Unique Opens)/(Email sent-Emails Bounced)

Lets try it out.

You sent 1,000 emails, 600 people opened them, and 150 bounced back. Plugging that into the formula, we get (600)/(1000-150). That means the open rate is 70%. 

But, open rate calculations vary depending on your email marketing tool. Each has its method for tracking open rates. 

How Do Email Marketing Tools Track Open Rates?

Email marketing tools track open rates by injecting each email with a tracking pixel. These tiny 1x1 pixels contain HTML code that loads when an email is opened. 

However, some email service providers filter out emails with tracking pixels. Leads can also have email tracking disabled, which won’t register as an open even if the email is read. 

Some cold email marketers even recommend turning off open rate tracking to help improve deliverability. But, if your open rates are consistently low, underlying issues may exist. 

Why Are My Email Open Rates Low and How to Improve It

Low open rates are often a tell-tell sign of a poor email campaign. Leads won’t reply or schedule a meeting if they haven’t opened your email in the first place. 

There could be several reasons for low open rates. But, the most prevalent issues come in the form of the following:

Email List Quality

Having high-quality leads is the first step toward a successful campaign. High quality doesn’t mean leads that can generate the most revenue for your business. 

It means having leads with the correct contact information, pain points that your products or services can solve, and a genuine interest in what you offer.

Use lead finder tools like Instantly B2B Lead Finder, which can segment and qualify pre-validated leads on the spot using advanced filters to improve email list quality. 

high open rate

You can also improve list quality manually by using manual segmentation and qualification frameworks. The most popular include frameworks like BANT or MEDDICC. 


Low deliverability can lead to emails landing in spam or the promotions tab. Deliverability also accounts for the email bounce rates of your sending domain.

If you continue sending to email lists that aren’t validated, segmented, and qualified, you risk higher bounce rates, ultimately hurting your deliverability. 

Ensure your domains are consistently warmed to protect your sending accounts and improve deliverability. Instantly users have unlimited email warmups, which can be turned on indefinitely.  

Subject Lines and Email Copy

If lead quality or deliverability isn't an issue, your subject lines and email copy will likely be behind your low open rates. 

Subject lines must be engaging, attention-grabbing, and personalized for the best chances of leads opening your emails. They should also be optimized for mobile devices.

Consider how your subject lines look when they pop-up on a typical smartphone. Is it cut off? Does what’s displayed even make sense? Remember to test it out before running the campaign. 

You are leveraging lead intelligence for personalization. Instead of first and company names, you can automate personalization at scale using custom variables with Instantly. 

What is a Good Email Open Rate?

What classifies as a good email open rate varies depending on the industry. But according to SuperOffice, the average open rate across all industries is 17.92% 

Don’t dwell too much on trying to match or go over the industry average. Campaigns can still be successful even with below-average open rates

It’s more important to align the metrics you track to your business goals. And for some marketers, open rates are just vanity metrics. So, does it even matter? 

Do You Need to Learn Email Open Rate Calculation?

Some marketers live by open rates, while others would instead focus on metrics like reply rates or conversions. But there will always be a case for tracking email open rates. 

Open rates can show you the underlying issues in your email campaigns. The earlier these issues are addressed, the more valuable your email lists become. 

However, your email open rates become even more important if you're doing cold email marketing. Low open rates could mean poor deliverability. 

When email service providers see a domain with poor deliverability, they will likely view your emails as spam. The best way to avoid this is by consistently warming up your emails. 

The Importance of Email Warmup for Improving Open Rates

Email warmups ensure your sending domains are protected against the adverse effects of cold outreach. When you warm up your domains with Instantly, your emails will get consistent, human-like, positive replies. 

This offsets the damage cold email campaigns can do to your overall open rates. We recommend 20-30 warmups per sending account for each sending domain. 

Key Takeaways

Open rate calculation is crucial for understanding how to improve your email campaigns. To recap, you can calculate open rates using (Unique Opens)/(Email sent-Emails Bounced). 

If you want to ensure your email campaigns have the highest possible open rates, remember these best practices: 

  • Improve the quality of your email lists through segmentation and qualification
  • Deliverability is one of the key factors that affect email open rates
  • Consistently warmup sending accounts to improve deliverability and open rates

Instantly is the email marketing tool for you if you’re looking to improve open rates, get more conversions, and land more clients. Users get unlimited email warmups, automated personalization, and much more! Try it out today! 

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