Email marketing terms

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Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Click-through rate, or email click rate, is the measure of how many people clicked on a hyperlink, CTA, or image within a particular email. It can be calculated by taking the total number of clicks an email receives, and dividing that number by the total number of delivered messages. Here’s what that equation looks like:

Image of click-through-rate (CTR) definition

Click-through rate shows you the engagement of your email. Unlike click-to-open rate, this measure indicates activity out of everyone who received an email in their inbox. It provides insight into what percentage of your audience is interested in your content over time.

Some ESPs use unique clicks to determine this metric, but others don’t. A unique click is tracked the first time a subscriber clicks on a campaign. It does not count if the link is clicked multiple times.

In Campaign Monitor’s yearly email marketing benchmarks, we found an average for click-through rate should hover around 2.6%. You can view averages by day and by industry in the full report here.

The main goal for tracking click-through rate is to measure engagement. Using click-through rates, you can gauge performance in the following areas:

  • Overall interest or email fatigue
  • Email content
  • Link placement
  • Link count
  • Media type

Although the numerator of your equation represents how many times your audience clicks through a specific email campaign, there are two ways to track these link clicks: unique link click and all link click.

Unique link clicks: Track once for each user who clicks through a link. As a result, the CTR will tell you what percent of recipients clicked through an email.

All link click: Counts any click through an email, even if the same user clicks through multiple times. The CTR tells you the ratio of “emails sent” to “visits to your site.”

The difference between “emails delivered” and “emails sent” is also important. Formulas that use “emails sent” will yield a CTR less than/equal to the formula that uses “emails delivered.” Why? The metric of emails sent doesn’t account for bounces, so it will be higher. “Emails delivered” is “emails sent” after bounces have been subtracted.

You can obviously get very granular, but either method works. Many marketers utilize an equation that uses “emails delivered” as the primary denominator, so deliverability issues don’t interfere with their analysis of CTR.

Measuring email success will always matter when determining areas of improvement for future campaigns. Consider using CTR in combination with your other metrics (e.g. open rate, CTOR, etc.) for best results.


If you had a 4% click-through rate, it would mean that for every 100 people who saw your email in their inbox, four people opened and subsequently clicked a link within that campaign.

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Click-to-Open Rate (CTOR)
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