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Click-through rate (CTR) is the most common metric for measuring engagement within an email campaign.

However, you may find yourself wondering what exactly CTR is and how email marketers should interpret it. Are all CTRs created equal? Read on to find out.

What is the click-through rate?

CTR is a metric that measures how many people click through an email in relation to how many received the email. Essentially, the click rate is a percentage that tells you how many emails successfully achieved one click from a subscriber. This click tells you if your campaign was engaging enough to entice an action from your audience.

Benchmark CTRs vary by industry. For example, emails received in the business and finance industry may have a 2.59% CTR, while those in hobbies have a 4.78% CTR.

As of December 2018, the average overall CTR for all industries was 7.06%

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

  • Email content (written and visual)
  • Link placement
  • Link count
  • Media type

Check out these metric benchmarks (including for open rate) to help you understand how your emails stack up.

How to measure click-through rate

Understanding how to calculate CTR is important because that knowledge can help you better interpret your email campaign’s overall engagement and find areas to improve.

Determining your CTR rate can be found by taking the number of clicks your email received divided by the number of times your email was opened. Then take that number and multiply it by 100.

Unique link clicks vs. all link clicks

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 individual link clicks.

  • Unique link clicks: Track once for each user that 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.”

Emails sent vs. emails delivered

The difference between “emails delivered” and “emails sent” is subtle, but significant. The formulas using emails sent will always yield a CTR less than or equal to the first formula. This is because the “emails sent” metric doesn’t account for bounces and will be greater. Emails delivered is the emails sent, but subtracting the bounces.

Again, either option works, though many marketers opt for “emails delivered” as their denominator so that deliverability issues don’t interfere with their analysis of CTR.

Does it really matter?

Measuring your email’s success will always be important when determining which areas to improve on for future campaigns. Many marketers question whether to track CTR or open rate in order to gauge the success of their emails.

Open rate primarily measures your ability to get attention in inboxes, particularly via the subject line and the timing or frequency of your emails, while CTR measures overall engagement to help email marketers determine how effective their email was and if it created any sort of action.

Seeing an influx in email opens is great. However, if these emails aren’t driving sales, building leads, or furthering brand awareness, what is the point? By determining your CTR, you’re able to understand how your email is functioning within inboxes.

What now?

Now that you’ve learned what CTR is, how to measure it, and why it’s important for emails, you’re ready to implement this metric into your next campaign analysis. Analytics play an important role in any email campaign and it’s always important to keep best practices at the forefront of your mind.

Next, learn about email delivery rate and how this can be improved for future strategies.

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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