When you’re crafting your cold email campaigns you need to make data-driven decisions.
Knowing what kind of results other people sending cold email campaigns are generating can give you a benchmark to aim for and compare against.
We’ve analyzed data from 65 million journeys and emails sent using QuickMail’s cold email platform and broke the data down in this guide.
We’ll look at:
Let’s dive straight into the data.
It’s easy to get lost in a list of data points with no context. In this guide, we’re going to show you our key findings from analyzing millions of data points from campaigns sent using QuickMail.
On top of showing you the data, we’ll also break down each statistic into key insights that you can take and apply to your own campaigns.
You can use these findings to improve your cold email campaigns and get more replies from target prospects.
Email Marketing vs. Cold Email
The cold email statistics we’re going to look at are taken from emails sent to cold prospects.
Email marketing, on the other hand, usually involves sending emails to pre-existing subscribers who already know you and your brand.
The data you’ll see here will be different from data you see in email marketing statistics guides because the audience and purpose of the email are different.
Despite having a cold audience, these cold email data points prove that it’s still one of the best channels to start conversations with highly qualified decision-makers.
We’ve looked at data from millions of journeys, and here’s what we found:
The average open rate for cold emails is 44%
8% of cold email campaigns have an open rate of 80% or more
Approximately ⅓ of campaigns have a 60% open rate or more
20% of campaigns have an open rate of under 20% - this is a sign that they are landing in the spam folder
Insights on Cold Email Open Rate Statistics
Open rate tells you more about your email deliverability than the effectiveness of your cold email subject line. Most prospects will open every email that lands in their primary inbox, regardless of the subject line.
However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Monitoring your average open rate can tell you how well your email campaigns are being delivered. If it drops significantly or is consistently below 40%, you know you have a deliverability problem.
A more effective way to monitor and improve deliverability is with MailFlow's free email warm-up tool. It tells you the percentage of your emails that land in the primary inbox compared to the spam folder.
Cold email response rates are the best indicator of how effective your email templates are. Here’s the data we’ve collected on cold email reply rates:
The best 25% of campaigns have a 20% reply rate or more
Approximately 50% of cold email campaigns have a reply rate of under 10%
Approximately 25% of campaigns have a reply rate of 10-20%.
Insights on Cold Email Reply Rate
Most cold emailers need to aim for the 10-15% reply rate benchmark. Optimizing past that level isn’t always the best use of time.
Most fluctuations in your cold email reply rate will vary based on the type of offer you’re reaching out about.
For example, if you’re emailing someone asking them to buy their business, there’s a strong chance you’ll get a response because people don’t get those emails very often.
By monitoring your cold email reply rate statistics over time you can make estimates of how many of your prospects will reply whenever you send a campaign.
We analyzed 65 million journeys in QuickMail and found that:
The average cold email click-through rate is 3.67%
Insights on Cold Email Click-Through Rates
This statistic is for all campaigns – not just those with links included. It’s worth noting that most cold emails don’t include links. Including tracked links can worsen your email deliverability and lead to more of your emails being sent to the spam folder.
If you do track links in your cold email campaigns, use custom domain tracking for improved deliverability.
However, we would generally recommend against including tracked links in your emails as it’s better to focus on getting replies over clicks.
What Percentage of Cold Email Replies Come from Follow-ups?
We looked at 1.7 million emails sent using QuickMail and found:
55% of replies to cold email campaigns come from a follow-up email
The optimal number of follow-ups is 3.
Insights on Cold Email Follow-Up Statistics
It’s always worth following up with your prospects. If your offer is valuable to them, people will be grateful that you followed up if they missed your first cold email.
The optimal number of follow-ups is three. After that, you begin to get diminishing returns, however you can still include extras if you believe you can add value.
The average cold email unsubscribe rate is 2.17%.
Insights on Cold Email Unsubscribe Rate
Most cold emails don’t include an unsubscribe link – although technically, you do need to include one.
All cold email tools, including QuickMail, give cold emailers the option to add an unsubscribe link by default. However, the sender can choose to remove this, so it’s difficult to get perfect data as most recipients don’t unsubscribe via a link and simply reply saying ‘not interested’ or ignore the email.
In a perfect world, we’d have zero emails bouncing. But that’s rarely the case. Here’s the cold email bounce rate data we’ve gathered from analyzing data in QuickMail:
The average cold email bounce rate is 7.5%
Insights on Cold Email Bounce Rate
The average bounce rate in the data is relatively high.
You need to aim for 4% or less. But, how can you consistently maintain that bounce rate level across campaigns?
Second, you need to ensure you’re not sending ‘risky’ emails. What does risky mean?
It refers to the label that email verification tools give to certain email addresses.
For example, a ‘Good’ email means the email is valid and safe to reach out to. On the other hand, ‘Risky’ means that the email verification platform can’t verify if the email is valid. If you reach out to it, there’s a high chance it doesn’t go through.
You can also get ‘Unknown’ and ‘Invalid’ emails. The ‘Unknown’ label means that the software can verify an email is there and can receive emails, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a personal inbox. ‘Invalid’ means the verification tool is certain the email address doesn’t exist, so it will bounce if you reach out to it.
In QuickMail, you have the option to reject Risky, Invalid, or Unknown validity emails from starting on your campaigns automatically, which is what we’d always recommend to reduce your bounce rate.
The average number of prospects QuickMail users include in their cold email campaigns is 1,373.
Insights on Your Prospect List Size
I’d recommend keeping your prospect list to 1,000 at the maximum.
If you’re emailing more than 1,000 people at once there’s a high chance that your prospecting is not specific enough.
We analyzed the day and time that prospects in QuickMail campaigns replied on, based on 2 million replies. Here’s the data:
Best Day of the Week to Send a Cold Email
Most replies to cold emails come on a Friday. The lowest day for replies is Saturday.
The data suggests that people start the week focused on their own work and getting through priority projects. Later in the week, they have more time to catch up with their emails and aim to clear out any unreplied emails, and hit inbox zero on Friday.
Best time of day to send a cold email
We analyzed what hours most replies to cold email campaigns happened. All times are in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
The top three hours for receiving replies are:
The lowest three hours for receiving replies are:
There’s not a huge amount of insights that we can gather from this information as there are no hours that stand out as being significantly better.
It’s best to spread your outreach campaigns over the day – which QuickMail does automatically – as this ensures you don’t get flagged by ESPs for unusual sending activity.
Just getting started with your cold email technology tech stack? You’ll want to know which ESP to choose. Here’s what QuickMail users choose:
Microsoft Outlook: 20%
Custom SMTP: 5.5%
The truth is, your ESP isn’t too important. Gmail is generally the easiest to use and set up, and most of our users rely on it without problems.
There’s no reason to use an email provider that isn’t Gmail or Outlook unless your company requires it for internal reasons.
If you’re looking to use these cold email data points to make improvements or guide your campaign creation, this section is for you.
Here are some of the key takeaways summarized into actionable tips:
Don’t spend much time optimizing for open rate. It’s more of an indicator of deliverability than the effectiveness of your subject line.
Reply rate is the ultimate indicator of how well targeted and how well written your cold email is. Aim for 10-20%.
Following up with your prospects is key and over half of replies to cold email campaigns come from a follow-up.
Monitor your bounce rate and ensure it stays under 4-5%. If it gets higher than that, pause your campaigns, and verify that your prospect email addresses are valid.
The day and time you send emails isn’t a major factor, however, we’ve seen that most replies happen on Thursdays and Fridays. Spread your sending volume over the week and avoid sending emails on weekends.
The email technology you use doesn’t make a significant difference, so we’d recommend sticking with Google Workspace and Gmail for simplicity.
If you’re ready to start sending cold emails that get replies, QuickMail is the platform for you.
Send personalized cold email sequences to any prospect whose email address you have
Personalize your emails with attributes such as prospect names, company names, and job titles at scale
Verify email addresses inside the platform to reduce your bounce rate
Onboard your team and send campaigns from multiple inboxes at once
QuickMail’s cold email platform has everything you and your team needs to start more conversations with qualified leads and book more meetings.
Start your free trial of QuickMail today and see how many conversations you can start with qualified leads.