In an article at EmailLabs, Loren McDonald writes on the email click-to-open rate (CTOR) as a better and more meaningful process metric than either the email open rate or the email click-through rate.
McDonald defines the click-to-open rate as a combination of the email open rate and the email click-through rate by measuring the ratio of unique clicks as a percentage of unique opens instead of based on the number of unique clicks against the total number of emails delivered. In other words, it measures how effective the email message was in motivating recipients who already opened it to click a link.
McDonald points out that the CTOR eliminates the relationship of click-throughs to unopened messages since it is self-evident that unopened messages, of course, do not lead to any click-throughs. The click-through rate based on total delievered email can only be relevant to text messages, she says, because there is no way to track them for opens.
In fact, she says, the open rates and click-through rates of an email newsletter could vary widely but the CTOR could remain fairly consistent, meaning the email motivated its readers to click at fairly the same rate.
The author says the CTOR is a better tool for analyzing and benchmarking the value and effectiveness of email message content, messaging and layout because it measures:
- the relevance of the message content,
- the effectiveness of offers,
- the effectiveness of the copy,
- the effectiveness of the message design and layout,
- the timeliness and immediacy of the content or offer,
- the effectiveness of the number and location of text and image links, and
- the level of trust recipients place in the brand or company and its value proposition since recipients will not open email from sources they do not trust.
McDonald suggests that the CTOR be measured and analyzed across ISPs, key domains or customer segments. The results of the analysis should lead to the formulation of hypotheses that would, in turn, be the basis for the modification and optimization of future messages.
A significantly higher or lower value in a particular area, she says, could be due to:
- having a higher number of text versions opened since the opens are not tracked but the clicks are;
- having a high use of the preview pane function among recipients, thus, not necessitating the actual opening of the email, or having the email reported as opened even if the recipient just scrolled through it without actually reading;
- having emails blocked by spam filters and black lists and put in the junk folder; or
- having significant demographic or behavioral differences for that segment.
The author recommends establishing your current average benchmark CTOR and then setting a target goal to reach.
This looks like a good plan to follow.