Cold Email Benchmarks & KPIs (Guide + Graphics)

You cannot overstate the importance of monitoring cold email statistics. Cold email is a game of optimization so it’s important to know what’s working and what’s not. And whenever you find success, double down on it. 

In this article we’ll be sharing the specific stats you should aim for and what they all mean. We’ll be covering open rate, reply rate, bounce rate, and more. 

The metrics are also ranked from the most important to least important.

Now, let’s dive in to the stats!

#1) Daily Sending Volume

Daily sending volume is the number of cold emails you send per day. This includes all cold emails in a campaign so be sure to consider follow up emails when calculating this statistic. 

There is also no cold email metric that’s more important than sending volume. To put things into perspective, sending too many emails can get your domain blocked and your email marked as spam. After all, both Google and Microsoft can easily track how many emails you’re sending and at a certain volume, it will be perceived as a clear indication of spam. 

To ensure you get this right from the start, begin with a low volume, optimize the other metrics on this list, and once your campaign is performing well, feel free to increase the daily sending volume.

Sending Volume Benchmarks

  • Start slow: 5-15/day
  • Scale slowly: Increase by 5-10 each week
  • Daily Enrollment Limit: Never Exceed 50 new prospects enrolled /day
  • Cold Email Limit: Never Exceed a total of 120 cold emails /day

Below is a rough sending schedule that you can follow. It's important to note how the campaign both starts and scales slowly.

Note: The volume outlined in the graph above assumes there are only 3 emails in the cold email Playbook. If you have more than 3 emails in a Playbook, you may want to reduce the number of contacts enrolled per day. 

#2) Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the second most important metric because just like sending volume, a high bounce rate is an indication of spam. Fortunately, this is easily solved but more on that later. 

Bounce Rate Benchmarks

  • Great: 0% to 1%
  • Good: 1% to 2%
  • Okay: 2% to 3%
  • Poor: 3%+

Solution to a High Bounce Rate

In order to keep your bounce rate low, it’s important to verify all of your emails before you click send. If you aren’t already verifying every email before contacting I strongly recommend you check out our article on the best email verification software.

#3) Open Rate

Open rate is the first statistic on this list that really provides a strong indication to how well your campaign is performing. 

Open rate is number 3 because it provides far more insight to your campaign than you might think. Most believe an open rate reports on the percentage of emails that were opened by recipients but this is not actually true. 

Whenever a mobile phone displays an email notification, it scrapes the email and this actually counts as an open. Mobile phones don’t display all emails and certainly do not display spam.

This means a high open rate is actually indicative of your email landing in the recipient's primary inbox opposed to the spam folder. To put it simply, a high open rate means you are landing in the primary inbox.

Assuming you have a good subject, open rates will report the deliverability of your cold emails and not the effectiveness of your subject.

However, it’s still extremely important to test subjects because some subject will actually land you in the spam folder. If you want to skip the testing phase, you can download a list of great subject lines from our resource here

Open Rate Benchmarks

  • Great: 60% to 100%
  • Good: 40% to 60%
  • Okay: 20% to 40%
  • Poor: 0% to 20%

Solution to a Low Open Rate

If you are in the “poor” range listed above. I’d recommend focusing on your emails deliverability. You can learn more about cold email deliverability here

#4) Reply/Response Rate

Reply rate is obviously extremely important but keep in mind that your reply rate will never be great unless you have a good open and bounce rate. 

Below are the benchmarks we use to determine if our cold emails have good reply rates. 

Reply Rate Benchmarks

  • Great: 20%+
  • Good: 10% to 20%
  • Okay: 5% to 10%
  • Poor: 0% to 5%

Solution to a low Reply Rate

Most low reply rates are caused by low open rates. However, if you have great open rates and still have low reply rates, it’s like due to one of 2 factors: 

  1. Email Copy
  2. Audience

If you’ve already tried our email templates and have not been able to get a high reply, you should experiment with a different audience. This means testing different company sizes, positions, sources, etc. 

If you find the right audience and have high open rates, your reply rate should have no problem exceeding 10%.

#5) Click Through Rate (CTR)

Click through rate is easily the least important metric on this list. In fact, I almost left it out because if you are sending cold emails, you should not have links in your email. Why? Links increase the spam rate, are less personal, and generally kill cold email campaigns. 

There are a few instances where including a link makes sense, like with warmer leads, so I’ll share the CTR benchmarks for these rare instances. But keep in mind that including links and URLs in your cold emails is strongly discouraged. 

CTR Benchmarks

  • Great: 20%+
  • Good: 10% to 20%
  • Okay: 5% to 10%
  • Poor: 0% to 5%

Wrapping Up

By now you can probably see that the most important aspect of cold email is landing in the primary inbox. If you can make it here, then you’re already in the top 1% of cold emailers. 

From there, you can AB test your email copy, audience, call to action, and begin to maximize results. 

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