Email analytics company Litmus analyzed 400,000 email campaigns to identify benchmarks around email virality based on foward-to-open rates.
According to a newly released email study focusing on forward rates, top performing email campaigns earn one forward for every 21 emails opened, while more average-performing campaigns generate one forward for every 370 opens.
Email testing and analytics company Litmus analyzed 400,000 email campaigns that earned, at minimum, 500 opens between January 2013 and March 2015.
While the testing period was unusually long, the study was able to identify benchmarks around email virality based on foward-to-open rates, as well as determine what email components helped drive more email forwards.
Of the 400,000 email campaigns analyzed, five percent failed to generate any forwards. For the 95 percent of emails that did initiate forwards, the top-performing emails – those in the 99th percentile – generated one forward for every 21 emails opened.
Median emails – those in the 50th percentile – generated one forward for every 370 opens. Emails in the 75th percentile were 2.4-times more viral than the 50th percentile, and the 95th percentile were 7.9 times more viral.
Email Virality Growth Versus Median
Beyond determining forward-to-open benchmarks, Litmus also found email campaign audience sizes greatly impacted forward rates, with smaller audiences generating a higher number of forwards than campaigns sent to larger audiences.
“This makes perfect sense, as smaller audiences tend to coalesce around narrow interests,” claimed Litmus, citing that email campaigns to small audiences were 150 percent more viral than email campaigns to larger audiences that generated over 50,000 opens.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)