How to Calculate CTR in Email Marketing

And why you should read this if you send & are asking this question late!

One of the biggest threats to your email marketing campaign is spam. More to the point, those emails can’t be considered spam. To be clear, spam emails are defined as unsolicited emails. And although most email marketing campaigns have voluntary subscribers, email newsletters run the risk of being treated as spam. For example, sometimes subscribing to one newsletter automatically opts a subscriber into more newsletters. Thus, if you signed up for a discount at a retail store, you could get newsletters from other websites affiliated with that store. Yes, you can unsubscribe. However, many put that newsletter into the spam folder and those clickable links inside the email never mean anything.

If you want your subscribers to visit your website, you must persuade them to open the email and click a link. To maximize the number of times someone clicks your links, you should analyze the effectiveness of the persuasion. This is where click-through-rate (CTR) matters. CTR measures email message engagement. If your potential customer does not open and then click on a link inside that message, your marketing campaign did not do its job. It stands to reason, then, that you should know your target CTR and how to calculate your actual CTR so you can take action to improve it.

Know Your CTR Benchmark

You need to know where you are going before you get there. Your CTR will vary based on the level of reader engagement, and this varies according to your industry or niche. Consequently, if you’re asking these questions after sending your email, you are not doing proper market research. Finding your CTR benchmark is as simple as a web search. A retail CTR has a lower CTR than that of a hobby, or a government website CTR. Knowing the industry/niche average sets a mark to work toward. Setting a goal of a higher than average CTR is one thing. Not reaching the benchmark is another.

Calculate Your CTR

You determine CTR by identifying the number of clicks your email received and divide it by the number of times the email was successfully delivered. There is always a “bounce” number or an unsuccessful delivery. Thus, the equation is, then multiply this number by 100 to get the percentage.

“Unique Clicks” and “All Clicks”

The type of click matters. With your CTR, you find the number of unique clicks associated with an email, and all clicks, including someone who clicks the link more than once. The latter gives you a ratio of emails “sent” to the number of visits to your website. Another thing to consider is “sent” versus “delivered” emails. The number of “sent” emails will always be larger than “delivered” because of bounced emails. As such, many email marketers use “delivered” as the denominator to keep CTR separate from delivery. Deliverability issues are an entirely different problem that needs to be understood separately.

In closing, knowing your CTR and how it leads to website visits builds leads and, ultimately, sales. Incentivize subscribers to open emails. Use email newsletters strategically to avoid them being considered spam. 


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