Why are my open rates dropping?

Deliverability Podcasts

If you see a sudden and dramatic drop in your open rates, don’t panic.

There could be an easily fixable solution behind those scary numbers. And even if it takes a bit more digging, your open rates aren’t the be-all and end-all metric for measuring success.

Nevertheless, lower open rates could signify a larger issue, whether it’s your marketing strategy or something as simple as an HTML error. In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa outline the questions every email marketer should ask themselves if and when their open rates drop.

Once you’ve answered a few key questions, you can start figuring out what’s causing the problem and stop an email catastrophe in its tracks. Or, better yet, figure out which issues are actual catastrophes, and which aren’t.

Low open rates


“Getting in the promotions tab is not the end of the world. It probably will lower your open rates, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to lower the success of your email.”~ @alyssa_dulin

Main Takeaways

  • [08:10] Ask yourself, in what capacity are my emails dropping? Are they dropping 2% every day or 5% after one email? That increment of change can be the difference between a technical issue and a simple sender mistake.
  • [13:28] Have you recently switched ESPs? It’s important to gradually transition, otherwise, inbox providers won’t recognize your new domain and may send you to spam.
  • [16:28] What changes have you made otherwise? Even a simple change in your email template can cause open rates to drop if you’ve got an HTML error.
  • [22:09] Are you sending to cold subscribers? Most email providers have a threshold of how many times you can send emails to people who aren’t opening them.
  • [30:37] Promotions tab? Don’t panic. While your open rate may drop if your emails are suddenly sent to promotions, when customers have a filing system for their emails, they’re more likely to engage with the emails in their promotions tab, rather than just opening the email to clear space.
  • [34:20] Is your open tracking pixel being clipped? If your message is too large, someone’s open won’t be logged. Luckily, there’s an easy fix.
  • [36:31] Is your email not authenticated properly? Errors in authentication cause bounces and drastically lower open rates.
  • [38:09] Focus on positive signals to increase open rates. Positive signals will make more of an impact than trying to hack your open rates.


Try ConvertKit's deliverability in action

It's now free to use ConvertKit with an audience of 1,000 subscribers or less! Start building your audience and reaching their inboxes: convertkit.com/pricing.

Stay in touch

To receive email notifications when new episodes of Deliverability Defined are available, or to submit topic suggestions, sign up to our email list.

Alyssa Dulin

Alyssa is a Deliverability Lead located in Nashville, TN. She loves helping senders reach the inbox of their subscribers. Outside of work, Alyssa enjoys traveling, indoor cycling, and spending time with family.

The future belongs to creators

ConvertKit helps creators like you take their projects from idea to reality. It's never been easier to build an audience and grow a business. And you can do it all for free.

Launch your next project