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The cool thing about email marketing is that you can get all kinds of data and insights about your subscribers from your email reports. Each and every campaign you send out has nuggets of information about what your readers enjoy most in your email and what makes them click through to your website. Open rates and click through rates are important metrics for your email marketing health. In fact, many marketers can tell you their open rate right off the top of their head. Most marketers look at these metrics, but what about the click to open rate (CTOR)? 

In this post, we’ll review some essential email marketing metrics including CTOR and what they mean to your email marketing.

Email marketing metrics 101

Before we jump into learning about CTOR, let’s take a look at some of the most common email marketing KPIs that marketers use. Most likely you’re already at least looking at these stats, if not living and breathing them. A quick refresher:

Email open rate

Email open rate is the percent of people emailed to who opened an email campaign. If you mailed to a list of 750 people and 180 of them opened, your open rate would be 24%, a nice average. Of course, lots of things influence your open rate, but a healthy open rate is typically in the 20-40% range.

Click through rate

Click through rate is the percentage of people who clicked a link or any linked image within an email. To continue our example from before, if you have a list of 750 people and 100 click on a link you have about a 14% click-through rate.  Much like the open rate, this number will depend on the number of links you include in your email and how compelling the email content is.

But what about CTOR?

What is CTOR?

The metric you may not have heard of is click to open rate (CTOR) which essentially measures the effectiveness of the content of your email. It is calculated by the number of unique clicks divided by the number of unique opens.

Using our ongoing example 100 clicks / 180 opens (multiplied by 100 for a percent) = 55%. As with all other email metrics, this can fluctuate based on how awesome your content is. A good CTOR will vary between 20 – 30%.

Because it’s based on the number of unique opens, CTOR is a good indicator of how interesting your content is to your subscribers. If your links, layout, copy and overall content are interesting, then your readers will want to click-through to learn more.

For best results, with all of your email metrics, you’ll want to create your own benchmarks, not just go by the average numbers. These published numbers include different industries, list sizes and engagement, and marketing styles that will be very different from your own. Look at the CTOR numbers for each of your email campaigns and look at your own average. Better yet, if you send different email types, track the CTOR for each type, like your newsletter, welcome email, or one-off campaign, to find out how effective your content marketing is and where you can make improvements.

Tips to make your email more clickable

Now that you know a bit more about click to open rate and what it tells you about your email and readers, here are a few tips to make your email more engaging.

Make it scannable

Everyone is busy, busy, busy and there isn’t always time to read everything that passes in front of someone’s eyes. To help your frenzied readers, make your email more scannable so they can get the key points. People read online content, like your emails, differently than do things like books or magazines. Structure your email to accommodate their needs by breaking up your points into easy-to-read chunks, make sure the most important piece of information is first and use images and links.

Use dynamic content

Make sure your readers see exactly the right information for them by using dynamic content. Using what you know about your recipient, you can display the right content for their interests. You can, of course, personalize an email with a person’s name, but this is even cooler and allows you to add whole sections of text, images or even call-to-action buttons based on who’s looking at the email. The more the content is of interest to your reader, the more likely they are to click through.

Design for conversion

Of course, you want your email to be effective and convince your readers to click through, so keep a couple of design tips in mind when creating your email.

  • Images – Use the best images of your product or service that you can. People respond to beauty and emails are no exception. This is true for all industries, not just ones that are more visual like fashion or restaurants.
  • Good copy – Write your email copy to tout the benefits of your product or service in view of the person using them. Not how amazing you think they are, but how amazing your reader’s world will be when they use what you offer. Just keep your customers needs in mind when writing, and you’ll be on the right path.
  • Make it easy to click – This may seem pretty obvious, but make sure your email has enough links to get your reader to actually click. And use good call-to-actions and buttons to help sway them.

Check out our Marketing Glossary for even more useful email and digital marketing terms and definitions.

Wrap up

Email metrics are essential to making sure your email marketing is on track for the goals you’ve set. Use your email insights and reporting so you can know what’s working well and what needs improvement. And remember your emails, and subscribers, aren’t static, so keep making changes to your campaigns and tracking how they perform.

We recently launched a new suite of analytics that provides every customer with a complete view into the health and performance of their email marketing and automation efforts. Check out Campaign Monitor Insights.





This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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