Litmus Report: Email Read Time Increased by 21 Percent

Analysis of more than 10 billion global emails reveals when and how people engage with email

SAN MATEO, Calif., Jun 27, 2019Litmus, a leader in email marketing and analytics, today shared a report on the State of Email Engagement, based on the company’s analysis of more than 10 billion emails sent globally across a range of industries. Despite shrinking attention spans, Litmus found that email reading time has increased 21 percent over the past three years. The report also revealed the best time of day to send an email and that a substantial number of emails are read on mobile devices.

“With an unmatched ROI of 42-1, email continues to be one of the strongest marketing tools available today, with engagement growing year over year,” said Cynthia Price, vice president of marketing, Litmus. “We see several factors driving that engagement—from pervasive mobile access to new interactive functionality, and email marketers’ increasing savviness in how to present relevant and exciting content.”

61 percent of emails are being read for more than 8 seconds

The study aggregates data from email campaigns sent by Litmus clients, which include leading companies in tech, retail, finance, and hospitality. Litmus tracked and analyzed more than 10 billion email opens using Litmus Email Analytics to understand which email clients subscribers use, when they are most likely to open email, how long they engage with email messages, whether they forward emails, and more.

Key insights from the report include:

  • Read-time has gone up by 21 percent.
    The average time that a recipient spends reading an email increased to 13.4 seconds in 2018, up from 11.1 seconds in 2016.
  • Morning is the perfect time of day to send an email.
    The most common time of day for reading emails is in the morning, with approximately 20 percent of emails in the U.S. being read between 9:00 a.m. and noon. However, email opens continue throughout the day, with some variance by region. In Spain, there is a second spike in email opens between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m., and Australians and New Zealanders get started earlier than the rest of the world, with mobile opens picking up as early as 5:00 a.m.
  • The majority of opened emails—84 percent—are being read or at least skimmed.
    Sixty-one percent of all emails analyzed were tracked as being read by the recipients, with a read time of eight seconds or more (Litmus’s standard benchmark for measuring subscriber readership). Another 23 percent of emails were skimmed, and 15 percent received a glance.
  • Mobile access goes hand-in-hand with increased email engagement.
    Mobile appears to be a major factor in driving increased email readership. Mobile devices are the most popular reading environment, with 42 percent of emails opened on smartphones or tablets.
  • Forwarding and printing provide clues to engagement.
    Of every 170 emails that are opened, one is forwarded, and of every 313 emails opened, one is printed. For those sharing coupons or looking to generate conversation, these can be important metrics to track. While both are less than one percent, these metrics can provide email marketers with valuable insights and a benchmark for future campaigns.

The State of Email Engagement report and blog post provide tips on how email marketers can act on the data to optimize email campaigns that will effectively reach email subscribers.

About Litmus

Litmus provides powerful tools for email creation, testing, analytics, and collaboration, empowering marketing teams to confidently deliver increased subscriber engagement and campaign ROI while ensuring brand consistency. Litmus is used by major global brands across every industry that trust its Email Creative Platform to make their email better, including 9 of the top 10 ecommerce brands, 7 of the top 10 technology companies, and 23 of the top 25 US ad agencies. Learn more about Litmus at litmus.com, subscribe to the Litmus blog, or follow us on Twitter.

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