Email Metrics: CTR vs CTOR – How you can improve both 

November 14, 2020

Email is still considered as one of the best content delivery methods in modern online marketing. With 4.3 Billion email users projected in 2023 (Statista, 2020) and 293.6 Billion emails sent every day in 2019, this just proves that email marketing is here to stay and is still widely popular. According to Content Marketing Institute, around 87% of marketers still find email marketing beneficial as one of their top marketing platforms to send out content next to social media at 91% and company blog at 89%. 

But of course, for anything to be effective, mastering and understanding the crucial metrics is important. In email marketing, the clickthrough rate and click-to-open rate are two of the most fundamental metrics that are often disregarded. 

The clickthrough rate is defined as the measure of how many emails resulted in a recipient clicking your call-to-action link.  

For example, if you send out 1,000 emails and later find that 20 people clicked on the link in your message, you’d have a CTR of 2%. In other words, for every 100 messages you sent out, 2 recipients clicked on the call-to-action you included.

On the other hand, the click-to-open rate measures the percentage of recipients who opened the email and clicked on that link.

To find the CTOR of the first example, we’d only want to know how many people opened it and then went on to click the CTA. If out of that 1,000 emails, 200 recipients clicked to open the message, and 20 people clicked on the CTA link then your CTOR is 10%.

CTOR remains as one of the best metrics to assess the effectiveness of your email campaigns as it gives a clearer picture of your funnel. But, CTR is also a great secondary metric to look into to have a spot on assessment of your messages. Tracking both and understanding what they mean to your email marketing  is essential for growing an email list that consistently contributes to your company’s key performance results.

Three Tips to Improve CTR

The average click-through rate is 2.50% but this can differ among other industries. For benchmarking purposes, you may check out this list from Smart Insights where they have the specific data for each industry. And to improve your email clickthrough rate, here are some tips:

  1. Write better subject lines. The first thing that will attract your recipients upon receiving your email is your subject line. Make sure that you hit the right spot right at that level by having either of the following aspects:
    • Significant numbers of statistics (e.g. “5 Ways to Increase..”, “20% of Agencies…”)
    • Ask a question (e.g. “Is Your Email Marketing Effective Enough?”)
    • Provide value right away (e.g. “Want to Lower Your Healthcare Cost by 30%?”)
    • State a price or a deal (e.g. “Marketing Consultancy Today is 100% Free”)
  2. Segment your email list accordingly. Identifying your current email recipient’s attributes is important. Afterall, you wouldn’t want to mismatch your messaging. For example, if you have newsletter subscribers that are categorized to have small to medium enterprises, subject lines with emphasis on the value or price is much relevant to them. As for C-levels of bigger businesses, they might not be concerned about the cost but so, you may focus your messaging on the unique features and upgrades.
  3. Do a regular clean-up. The key towards having better CTR is getting rid of inactive or non-responding emails. Low open rates can also be a cause of having too many recipients in your mailing list whereas some of them might not be really interested in opening your emails. So, instead of trying different new things over and over again, have a regular clean-up of your mailing list.

Three Ways to Improve CTOR

The average click to open rate is 20% to 30%. In order to attain this, check out these three ways on how you can improve your email campaigns:

  1. Be true to your subject line. Do not over promise on your subject line. Make sure that your email body matches your primary message so that you can entice your audience more on clicking your CTA or any link in your email.
  2. Include powerful call-to-action messages. Your CTA will define what action you would like your audience to do. A compelling CTA requires the following:
    • One, clear, and precise instruction – tell the recipient exactly what you want them to do
    • A value proposition that explains to the recipient why it’s worth clicking
    • A sense of urgency – the recipient needs to click now or risk losing the offer
  3. Put up a cohesive content. Do not disappoint your recipients by having vague and out-of-topic information. Snippets and blurbs from your previous blogs are fine but talking about two different topics in the email body can be quite confusing and might not be helpful to your CTOR. Identify your central messaging and make sure that it’s the star of your email campaign.
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