B2B Email Deliverability Benchmarks

When analyzing B2B email opens and clicks, you may wonder, “Are these rates… good?”  These are the B2B email deliverability benchmarks I expect, and the red flags that are concerning.

>> Related: How to Improve Email Deliverability <<

But first, a note on tracking B2B email performance

Each industry, persona, and company database is unique.  But one thing that’s universal?  How you monitor email performance for anomalies.  Review opens, clicks, bounces, unsubscribes, duplicates, and blocklists every month.  Through regularly observation, you’ll become fluent in your company’s standard performance.

HubSpot, in particular, has great deliverability dashboards:

Click to expand

Then, when you spot dramatic shifts (i.e. 10% changes in either direction), deeply investigate these outliers.  What changed?

  • a new offer?
  • a new event list or (eek) list buy?
  • an A/B test?
  • a new content syndication program?
  • a new template?

Normal database marketability

Your database should be at least 75% marketable (AKA <25% should be disqualified).  This is honestly about cost – why are we paying for a huge, disqualified dataset?  Save some money on your contracts by doing some database cleaning.

And FWIW, I almost never recommend a custom MAP<>CRM sync unless your Ops team is really savvy.

Normal B2B email open rates and click rates

  • Open rates are a lot muddier since Apple introduced Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) in September 2021. Generally, B2B email open rates should be above 10%.  But there is a lot of swing here, based on your company’s industry.  Financial services will have the lowest open rates, whereas travel or leisure open rates are more often 25+%.
  • If your email opens are <2%, that’s a red flag, and you should get a tool like Everest Validity to diagnose your (big) problems quickly/holistically.
  • Similar, I expect a >2% click rate.  If you’re less than that, something is off with your template, offer, etc. and you’d benefit from A/B testing.

Normal deliverability and bounce rates

  • Email deliverability usually means an email gets “lost in translation” between your Marketing Automation Platform (i.e. Marketo) and the recipients Email Service Platform (i.e Gmail).  Deliverability should be 90+%.  If not, something is amiss.  Check your DNS/SPF/DKIM settings because sometimes IT quietly makes changes.  (Here’s how to check those settings in HubSpot and Marketo.)
  • Similarly, <10% of your contacts should be bouncing, and it should always trend lower as you remove hard bounces.  If not, run the offending list (or honestly your whole database) through BriteVerify:

The first time you run a database through BriteVerify:

  • Usually 10-25% of your database is going to be invalid/red.  Expect it.
  • Take the time to analyze if certain lead sources are especially poor.
  • Trash the invalids. Some companies also may want to suppress the ‘accept alls’. (Learn about all of BriteVerify’s Statuses here.)
  • And create automation to trash all future hard bounces.

Being on a blocklist might be normal

This one is a little surprising – it might be normal and fine to be on a blocklist!

  • Blocklists aren’t regulated… some are pay-to-play and just trying to extract a ransom from naive companies.  If you’re on some blocklists, contact your MAP Support team first.  They know who’s serious, and if you’re on a shared or dedicated IP.
  • If you’re on a reputable blocklist, contact your MAP Support team!  They can help pinpoint what went wrong, coach you, and help contact the blocklist once they’re confident you’ve cleaned up your act.

Normal Sender Scores

I review Sender Score quarterly and, again, track the trendline.  Sender Score works best with IPs, and is also very related to volume.  It will flag if your emails aren’t consistent in cadence or volume.

Extra credit:  Everest Validity seed lists

If you have Everest Validity, I like to review seed list performance each week to track how I’m inboxing across specific ESPs.  You can pretty immediately react, design emails that are more engaging, or send to cleaner lists.

When in doubt, focus on your process:  monitor, spot anomalies, and dig in.  You’ve got this. 💪


What is a marketable database?

A marketable database refers to a database of contacts or leads that are considered suitable and eligible for marketing communications. In the context of marketing and sales, the term “marketable” implies that the individuals or entities in the database have given explicit consent or have met certain criteria that make them receptive to receiving marketing messages.

What is the difference between a hard bounce and soft bounce?

A hard bounce occurs when an email cannot be delivered to the recipient due to permanent reasons. This typically happens when the email address is invalid, doesn’t exist, or the domain is not valid.

A soft bounce occurs when an email cannot be delivered temporarily, often due to a temporary issue with the recipient’s mailbox or server. Soft bounces are usually related to issues like the recipient’s mailbox being full or the email server being temporarily down.

What is a sender score?

A Sender Score is a numerical representation of the reputation of an email sender’s IP address or domain in the eyes of email service providers (ESPs) and mailbox providers. A higher sender score indicates a positive sender reputation, while a lower score may suggest potential issues with deliverability.

What is the difference between a primary and secondary CTA?

The primary CTA is the most important and central action that the marketer wants the audience to take. It is typically the main goal of the campaign or the most desired outcome.

Secondary CTAs are additional actions that the marketer suggests if the audience is not ready to take the primary action or for those who may need more information before committing to the main goal.

What is a convertible template?

A “convertible” template might imply a design or format that is well-suited for conversion purposes, often in the context of digital marketing.

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