Click-through Rate (CTR)


Click-through Rates (CTR)  are between 0% and 100%; once you finish the equation, turn your answer to a percentage by multiplying by 100. Unlike Open Rates, CTR is an absolute metric — if someone clicks, it is counted here; there is no way to click and not have it recorded. 

A higher CTR is usually better, but since it is a diagnostic, not a business, metric, CTR is rarely, if ever, a key performance indicator (KPI). 

Tips for Interpreting Click-through Rates

Even if a reader clicks on more than one link in an email message, the CTR will count them only once. This is because CTR measures the number of unique email addresses (read: people) who clicked on an email, not the total number of clicks on the email. 

Most email messages require the reader to click to take the action the marketer wants them to take; usually, that click sends the reader to a website. In these cases, a click-through rate illustrates how well an email motivates readers to take the next step. 

See our other articles for examples of other metrics based on clicks like Click-to-open Rate and Click Reach Rate. 

Click-through rates show you how readers are interacting with your email messages. It’s important to look at not just how many people click but also what they click on. This type of click-by-link analysis can help you develop hypotheses for tests to boost performance. While the click isn’t the end goal, it’s a step toward the end goal — and by boosting CTR, you can often see a lift in Return-on-Investment (ROI), Revenue-per-Email (RPE), and other business metrics. 

Related Links

Prefer to watch instead of read? Check out this video, “What’s a good click rate?

Want to learn more about CTR and other click-related metrics? “Understanding Marketing Metrics: Email Click Rates” is a good place to begin; you can also check out a piece I wrote for the OI blog called “Click, click, click… which click rate is most important for your email campaign?

Looking to boost your click-through rate? Check out “5 Ways to Increase Email Click Rates by Up to 378%.”

While click-through rate is an absolute metric, in recent years, some marketers have been concerned about whether there are humans behind those clicks. In my experience, the impact is minimal, but check out “What if Your Email Metrics Are Off: Who’s Really Clicking on Your Emails?” to learn more about spambots.