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Digital marketers have always measured their ad campaigns and email marketing performance through CTR (click-through rate). When email marketing became a digital marketing channel, email marketers added CTOR (click-to-open rate) along with CTR in their performance metrics.

Click-to-open rate (CTOR) measures the percentage of recipients who opened your email. It helps marketers gauge the effectiveness of the subject line and preview your email. Meanwhile, click-through rates (CTR) measure the percentage of email recipients who clicked on the links found in your email against the total recipients who received the email.

Experts have thought through how click-through rate is not the best indicator for audience engagement. Why so? Because a low open rate may affect your click-through rate. Even if a large percentage of the email recipients have clicked through the link in your email is not reliable because it does not show the impact of the open rate of your email.

That’s why email marketers measure their email campaigns accurately through the CTOR or click-to-open rate. A high open rate supports your high click-through rate.

How is Tracking CTOR Different from CTR?

A click-through open rate measures the percentage of unique email recipients who clicked on the link after opening and reading your email. It is an accurate measurement of audience engagement as it only accounts for the recipients who opened and read the emails.

Today, most digital marketing team measures the engagement of their email campaigns through CTOR because it best resonates with the results of their CTR.

It gives email marketers a better understanding of measuring how their email messages and call-to-actions (CTAs) resonate and performs with their audience. CTOR measures the number of people who opened, read and made an action in the email. Unlike CTR only based on those who clicked the link, it does not show how many unique opens happened. It makes you realise how effective the subject and preview of your email are.

How to Calculate CTOR?

The formula for COTR is quite simple. You divide the number of unique clicks by the number of unique opens and multiply the answer by 100; the answer is the CTOR.

Let’s have an example to help you understand the CTOR calculation.

You sent emails to your 500 subscribers, and only 50 opened the email, and the link received 30 clicks. In this case, divide 30 with 50; it will give you 0.6. Multiply 0.6 to 100, and you have 60% CTOR. It means you have a high CTOR with the subscribers who opened and clicked the email links.

You have to be cautious in using the COTR formula, only account unique opens and clicks. Some subscribers open your email and click on the link twice, do not count these subscribers twice; it will mix up the data.

Now that you know how to calculate the CTOR, set benchmarks for your email marketing campaigns. It has been seen that the average CTOR across all industries is 14.3%. Check the highest CTOR average of your brand industry. Brands in real estate and property-related businesses have the highest CTOR average at 18%, while the food and beverage industry has the lowest CTOR at 9%.

Benchmark your email campaigns based on the highest CTOR average of your industry.

Which is Better Tracking CTOR or CTR?

If you are still planning on starting your CTOR, it’s not yet too late. And if you have been tracking your CTOR metrics for a while now, there is always room for improvement. Here are some tips on how email marketers like you can improve their CTOR:

How Can Email Marketers Improve their CTOR?

If you are still planning on starting your CTOR, it’s not yet too late. And if you have been tracking your CTOR metrics for a while now, there is always room for improvement. Here are some tips on how email marketers like you can improve their CTOR:

1. Add Button for Call-to-Action.

An excellent marketing email has an engaging body, appealing images, and compelling calls-to-action. If your email is heavy with text, it is best to add a button for your CTA. It will catch the attention of your email recipients.

Although some email marketers have enough click-through rates with only text CTAs, such as “click here for more information,” and made the text bold and blue to get the audience’s attention. Data reports have shown how CTA buttons have higher CTR. A/B testing shows a conversion increase of 28% in emails using a button for their CTAs instead of text links.

Since adding a button for CTA is a great idea, here are a few reminders:

      • Keep the prompt within 1 to 3 words. “Buy now,” “Read more,” “Book a Call” are a few examples.
      • Use action-based verbs. You can see in the examples above we used “buy,” “read,” and “book.”
      • Always place the CTA button after the offer.

Lastly, make your CTA button stand out. Do not make it too large to affect your email design and user experience. It is best to use a squint test to ensure the design of the CTA button does not affect the user experience.

2. One Call-to-Action is Enough.

Aside from adding a button for your call-to-action, it is best to apply only one call-to-action in your email. Some brands have multiple CTAs in their email marketing campaigns, and they leave their email recipients or subscribers to click on the link that they find the most interesting.

You can usually see multiple CTAs on emails for retail offers, especially when the brand has a new product campaign. This multiple calls-to-action comes from the idea that more CTAs means more opportunities to increase the click-through rate.

However, this strategy may overwhelm the subscriber. Giving them multiple choices will confuse the consumers on their purchase decision. That’s why this strategy may not be appropriate for your campaign. It is best to have this tactic in A/B testing, and if it does not increase your CTOR, use the focused method and use only one CTA.

3. Re-Evaluate Offers.

When your offers do not align with your audience’s interests, they result in a low click-to-open rate. Although your subscribers opened your email, none of the links piqued their interests as they read through it.

You can address this problem by:

      • Categorise your email list – Having a category for your subscribers based on their interests ensures you deliver emails that they need. Moreover, your leads should not receive similar emails as your customers. These two are in different stages of the marketing funnel, and they have different motivations. You have to remember that in marketing, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
      • Create a survey – We do not know what your target audience wants all the time. What’s better than asking your audience what they want to see, right? Include link triggers in the email survey to categorise your subscribers easily based on their answers.

Final Takeaway

There is no doubt why email marketing has been the best channel for digital marketing; businesses have used it since the 1990s. Even though the click-through rate has been measuring email marketing since its history, the click-to-open rate has proven to be more efficient in helping marketers improve their audience engagement.

Thus, even though click-through rate has dominated the engagement metric in email marketing history, email marketers have to adapt the insightful metric, click-to-open rate (CTOR).