Is CTR Dead? Why Email Marketers Are Tracking CTOR Instead.

Before we get into the reasons why CTR is possibly dead, lets begin by explaining what CTR and CTOR actually are. In the past, email marketing metrics have been largely based on the Open Rate – the measurement of how many people open your email – and then the Click-Through-Rate (CTR) – how many of those people who opened your email, then clicked through to your website.

While the Open Rate may tell you how well the email subject line is performing, the CTR can then be diluted if that Open Rate is low due to other factors such as a poor choice of delivery time. Therefore the CTR isn’t then giving you an accurate measurement on the effectiveness of your email content.

With email marketing always evolving and adapting along with the rest of the digital channels, a new metric has now surfaced – Click-To-Open Rate (CTOR). This insightful metric allows you to better monitor the engagement of your readers by comparing the number of people who opened your email to the number who actually clicked on the link. It’s a simple calculation of the number of unique clicks divided by the number of unique opens.

So what does this actually mean for you when you’re studying the results of your latest email campaign? Let’s say that you sent out two separate email campaigns at exactly the same time, Email A and Email B each to 100 people. And, because you have the best maintained mailing list you have no hard or soft bounces, so all 200 emails were delivered. Well done!

You check your reports after a couple of days to see how they did and find that only 10 people opened Email A, and of them only 5 people clicked the link to your website. Over on Email B you see that 50 people had opened the email (congratulations on the great subject line), but still only 10 people clicked on the link to your website. By looking at the CTR, you may think that Email B was a more successful email with a CTR metric of 10% as opposed to Email A’s 5%. But if you look at the CTOR, you’ll find that Email B only has 20% whereas Email A is 50%.

As you can see by this simple example, CTOR can be a more accurate test of the effectiveness in your email content without the results being skewed by timing, subject lines, from fields and the like.

So back to our original question, is CTR dead?

Because CTOR is only measuring the actions of people who have actually seen the message, it’s certainly a more accurate way of measuring how well your message content is performing with your target audience. But having said that, CTR shows the email’s overall performance – a culmination of many different factors such as subject line, delivery time and from field. And then don’t forget to also keep watching those old favorites, delivery and open rates.

By focusing on all the numbers in each of your email campaigns, and looking at your own averages, you can ultimately find out how effective your content marketing is and where you can make improvements.