Global email benchmarking study

Mar 20, 2023
Digital Research

Email marketing has a long history in Canada and has been one of the top marketing vehicles for Canadian brands. Historically, benchmark reports indicate that Canadian marketers generate over 2x the metrics versus our US neighbours. So why does email perform so well in Canada?

Sara Clodman, VP of Public Affairs & Thought Leadership at the CMA believes “email is a trusted marketing channel by both Canadian consumers and marketers. Part of this is due to the adoption of our anti-spam legislation (CASL) in 2014 and high standards and guidelines set by the CMA that preceded the law. Companies are mindful of their outbound permission messaging and as a result there is less email clutter versus other countries”.

Clodman also shared that “our research indicates that Canadian citizens place a high level of trust in brands”. As a result, Canadians are more engaged through email and campaign metrics are strong. Permission email is a great way to get relevant information and offers directly to subscribers/customers.

Findings from the 2022 International Email Benchmark Report by the Global Data and Marketing Alliance (GDMA) are a useful stake in the sand. Most of the CTR rates from individual countries are in line with same period benchmarks from other email vendors like Acoustic and Get Response. The GDMA metrics from Belgium and the Netherlands show that email is very healthy is those countries. From a Canadian perspective, the total bounce rate metric of 1.7% seemed high globally. Of the Canadian clients we work with, their combination of hard bounce and soft bounce is well below 1% and this is due to quality lists and proactive hygiene practices.

The global CTR benchmark from the GDMA is 2.7% but the study showed there is lots of variance depending on the region and local conditions. The GDMA also calculated global benchmarks for 12 different sectors and the CTR is in line with other studies. But a word of caution. There is a lot of variance in performance between the top and bottom. How companies perform depends on how mature and disciplined their email programs are.

According to the 2022 GDMA benchmark, open rates averaged 22.1% (versus 19.8% for Get Response and 15.2% for Acoustic). Marketers have traditionally relied on open rates as a proxy for “reach” and who read a message.

The current challenge with open rates is that it is an impure measure based on image rendering, and marketers also must deal with bots and now Apple’s MPP. Open Rate is best used as a rough benchmark, the most important thing is to focus on tracking the trend/changes.

Get involved

Are you an email service provider? Contact us if you are interested in participating in The GDMA’s 2023 report, which is being compiled in the next couple of months.  
[Ed. Note: The CMA is the GDMA’s Canadian member.]

About the author

Geoff Linton is Chair of the CMA’s Martech Council, President of Tekside.io and Chartered Marketer. He has over 30 years of experience in data, digital, and Martech.


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Geoff Linton

President Tekside.io.




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