How to Improve Low Open Rates

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Open rates allow you to measure customer engagement and monitor your deliverability and performance. When you send a campaign that results in a critically low open rate, Klaviyo will alert you, prompting you to refine your sending habits. In this article, you will learn best practices around improving low open rates so that you can grow as a brand without harming your sender reputation.

What Is Open Rate?

Your open rates show which recipients are opening your emails and at what rate this happens for each email you send. In Klaviyo, both unique open rate and total opens are tracked.

  • Unique open rate is the number of individuals opening your email divided by the number of recipients, so only one open per person is tracked.
  • Total opens measures the total number of times your email is opened, so multiple opens per person are tracked.

Why Open Rates Matter

If you continually email unengaged subscribers, your sender reputation will diminish and inbox providers (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail) will send more of your emails to spam. As a result, fewer people will see your messages and open rates (and revenue) will suffer. When people stop opening your emails, it's an implicit sign that they are no longer interested in receiving content from your business, and you should refrain from sending to these profiles.

Good sending habits and high open rates equate to a better sender reputation. Opened emails signify customer engagement and interest in your products. When people open your emails, they are engaging with your marketing content and are more likely to purchase from your brand. Moreover, the better your open rate, the less likely you are to end up in the spam folder.

A great open rate is around 25% or higher. For more information on what qualifies as good (and bad) for deliverability metrics, head to our article, How to Monitor Deliverability Performance.

How to Increase Open Rates

To increase open rates, there are three key steps to follow:

  1. Create engaged segments
  2. Target your engaged segments with applicable emails
  3. Monitor your deliverability

Create Engaged Segments

Creating engaged segments is a crucial first step toward successful email marketing. Engaged segments inform you of who you should communicate with. They update automatically with subscribers who meet the conditions you set based on the recency and frequency of their engagement. As you add conditions to make segments more specific, you will also gain insight into how to target them with relevant content that will receive high open rates.

Below is an example of an engaged segment that takes into account how recently someone interacted with your brand. In this case, the conditions for someone to be included are:

  • They are in your newsletter list, AND
  • Have either opened OR clicked an email in the last 30 days, OR
  • Were added to your newsletter list in the last 15 days


Segments allow you to send personalized content that is relevant to someone's specific purchase history, interests, email habits, location, etc. The more personalized your emails are, the more engaged recipients will be. Head to our Guide to Advanced Segmentation for inspiration.

Target Engaged Customers with Applicable Emails

Once you have an engaged segment ready, create relevant emails to send to this audience. Refrain from overloading subscribers with unnecessary content; rather, include a clear call-to-action (CTA) that your audience will want to receive.

As a general rule, be clear, concise, and compelling. For example, if your CTA pertains to a flash sale, make that obvious to your engaged customers. Consider communicating urgency with a time limit to the email offer. Meanwhile, if your CTA informs customers of a recent change to your company, be honest and informative, and cut out any unnecessary verbiage. Don’t send the same content or email too frequently, as this will frustrate your audience over time.

For more information on creating successful email content, head to our Guide to Email Design. For information on how frequently you should target engaged customers, read Create a Sending Schedule Based on Email Engagement.

Monitor Your Deliverability

It is important to consistently monitor the performance of your campaigns and flows, keeping track of not only open rates, but the other deliverability metrics that affect your sender reputation as well. When you see a dip in open rates, this signifies that something is going wrong with your email sends. You may need to readjust your messaging to better resonate with your audience, or perhaps the conditions of your engaged segment need to be updated. In either case, monitoring email outcomes allows you to avoid the serious damage to your reputation that will happen if problems persist.

After sending a campaign, review the associated campaign analytics to see how well it performed and make adjustments where you see fit in subsequent emails. You should also review your flow analytics on a regular basis.

For more information around open rates and other key metrics, head to How to Monitor Deliverability Performance.

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