What is Click To Open Rate (CTOR)? Is It Important in Email Marketing?

While email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing methods with an impressive 3600% ROI, achieving top results is only possible with the right approach to metrics. Click to Open Rate (CTOR) is one of the most important indications of the quality of your email campaign.

This rate demonstrates how well you design your messages, how good your customer segmentation is, how you maintain email list hygiene, and much more. Calculating this rate can help evaluate the digital marketing campaign and make important adjustments.

Let’s take a closer look at what CTOR is all about.

What Is CTOR?

Click to Open Rate is the percentage of email recipients who click on a link inside your email related to the number of people who opened it. For example, if you send 100 of emails, 50 recipients open it, and 5 people click the link, your CTOR is 10%.

Unlike email open rate which gives you an idea of how well your subject lines and segmentation are working, CTOR also shows how engaging your email message is.

Let’s say you send out 100 unique emails. Subscribers open 50 of them so your open rate is 50%. Sounds great, right? Not always. If all of these emails end up in the trash folder, you aren’t achieving your marketing goals.

Now let’s say that 5 people out of these 50 clicked the link. It means your CTOR is 10%. These five people are genuinely interested in your offer and have a high potential of converting. Accordingly, in this case, CTOR is an important indication of your email quality.

Defining Key Email Marketing Metric

When you design an email marketing campaign, you have many tools available. To measure the success of your tactics, you look at:

  •   Open rate – how many recipients open your emails.
  •   Clickthrough rate – how many recipients clicked the link inside your email.
  •   Unsubscribe rate – how many people unsubscribe after successfully receiving an email.

All of these metrics mean different things. Some of them help you understand how well you design your emails. Others evaluate your ability to create high-quality offers. By combining the information you receive from these rates, you can get a better idea of the quality of your campaign.

CTOR differs from all the other metrics by its ability to provide a quick insight into the health of your email marketing campaign. You can immediately see the potential of your emails and the possibilities for improvement.

The Importance of CTOR

Measuring CTOR at different stages of your marketing campaign is integral to the cost-effectiveness and success of your tactics. CTOR can help you evaluate several parameters:

Email Design

If recipients open your emails but don’t take action, you may need to reconsider your email design. Things to pay attention to include the quality of content, placement of buttons, clarity of CTAs, and offer relevancy.

Just one issue with the email design can turn a customer away. If they don’t understand the CTA or can’t digest the content, you can’t expect them to take action.


Proper email list segmentation is key to increasing your CTOR. If you are designing stellar offers for the wrong audience, you can’t expect them to take action. Before sending an email, you need to pay close attention to the recipients’ needs and requirements.

High open rates and low CTOR could mean that you managed to grab the person’s attention with the subject line but immediately lost it at the next step. The recipient opened the email, figured out that they don’t relate to it, and sent the message to the trash bin.

Email List Hygiene

If you are struggling to increase your CTOR, you should take a closer look at your email list hygiene. Marketers who have plenty of invalid or incorrect addresses on their list can’t get a clear picture of their campaign results.

For example, you send 100 emails. Ten of them have been opened. Only one recipient clicks the link. You may think that you have a 10% open rate.

Now imagine that 50 email addresses on the list are invalid. This means that only 50 emails reached the intended recipients. Accordingly, your open rate is 20%. That’s a significant difference.

6 Tips to Improve Your CTOR

If your CTOR is low, you need to reevaluate several aspects of your promotional campaigns, including email design and email list hygiene. Here are a few ways to do it.

1. Validate Your Email List

Invalid addresses on your email recipient list can interfere with the integrity of your metrics. In addition, they can give you the wrong idea about the results of your email marketing efforts. By making sure that all of the addresses on the list are valid, you can ensure the correctness of your open and click-to-open rates.

You can either check your list manually or use an email verifier. Automating the email validation process can prevent a variety of problems, including a poor sender’s reputation.

2. Work on Your Call to Action

If you want the subscriber to click the link in your email, it must be easy to find. If you have several calls to action, you can confuse the reader and push their attention away from the button.

Ideally, you should have a clear CTA that points directly to the link. If the reader has to make an effort to search for a clickable link, they aren’t likely to try.  

3. Use Dynamic Content

Dynamic email content makes it easier to personalize emails and make them more engaging. Boring, general emails end up in trash folders. Meanwhile, dynamic images can be highly attractive.

Make it easy to interact with the email content and take action. To do that, you need to work on the button design.

Personalization is an integral part of successful email marketing campaigns. Dynamic content makes it easy to create a personalized message.

4. Use Bare Links

Many internet users know about the importance of cybersecurity. They know that clicking unknown links in emails is a bad idea. When you hide the link inside a button or embed it in an anchor phrase, readers may be afraid of clicking it.

If you include a bare link (www.helloworld.com), the recipient can see where they are going instead of worrying that a link could send them to a phishing site.

Make sure your links look polished and informative (e.g. www.helloworld.com/topproducts instead of www.hellloworld.com/gjhgldg3847dgw)

5. Create High-Quality Content

When it comes to digital marketing, content has a direct effect on all of your metrics, including CTOR. If your content is boring, irrelevant, or carries little value, recipients aren’t likely to feel engaged.

Poor-quality content sends email messages to the trash folder. That’s why you should pay special attention to how informative and valuable your content is. Don’t stuff too much information into an email. Make it quick, engaging, and highly digestible.

 6. Improve Email Accessibility

Did you know that 26% of adults in the United States live with a disability? Some of these disabilities prevent people from interacting with your email messages, thus affecting your click-to-open rate. When designing your emails, evaluate their accessibility:

  •   Provide image descriptions
  •   Avoid using tiny fonts
  •   Leave spaces between paragraphs
  •   Make links tappable

These simple tactics can help people with disabilities to understand your emails and click links if they are interested.

The Takeaway

CTOR is one of the key email campaign metrics that help you evaluate the quality of your email marketing tactics. By monitoring click to open rates, you can understand when and how to make changes to email design, audience segmentation, message accessibility, and much more.

While many other important email marketing metrics exist, CTOR deserves special attention. By adding it to your metrics arsenal, you can improve your digital marketing results and achieve impressive ROI.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the click-to-open rate calculated?

 To calculate click to open rate, you need to divide the number of unique clicks inside your messages by the number of open emails and multiply it by 100. For example, if 10 people opened your message and 2 clicked the link, CTOR is 2%.

What’s the difference between the open rate and the click-to-open rate?

The open rate measures the percentage of emails that your recipients open. Click-to-open rate (CTOR) measures the percentage of people who click a link inside the email after opening it. For example, you send 100 emails, and 10 of them are opened. This means your open rate is 10%. If 5 out of these 10 emails result in a click, your CTOR is 50%.

What is a Good CTOR?

A good click-to-open rate for your business can depend on many different factors, including your target audience, marketing goals, and email marketing tactics. On average, a good CTOR is between 10% and 15%.

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