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Everything You Need to Know About Email Marketing Click Through Rates



3 min read · Oct 3

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Embarc Collective

Email marketing is here to stay, and your startup should be leveraging this channel to drive conversions. In this post, we will review click-through rates as a core email performance metric.

There are so many marketing channels that come and go in the digital age, but in fact, email marketing consistently outperforms other channels like social media, SEO, and affiliate marketing and can generate a ROI of up to $38 per $1 spent. It’s ubiquitous, cost-effective, and easy to roll out, making it a perfect tactic for startups and small businesses. But how do you measure email marketing performance and gauge whether an email reader is ready to learn more about your brand?

Click-through rate is one of the core email marketing performance metrics that gives the clearest sense of engagement. Let’s dive deep to better understand this metric and how to send it soaring.

What is a click-through rate, really?

Click-Through Rate, abbreviated frequently as CTR, refers to the number of times users click on an element in your email including images, links and buttons. This metric gives an overall picture of how users are engaging with your email content.

While this might seem straightforward, there are several additional factors to consider when it comes to your click-through rate:

  • CTR can be broken down by individual clickable items in your email. Looking at these individual CTRs shows not only how frequently your users are clicking, but also what elements appeal to them most.
  • Unique clicks refer to the number of individuals who have clicked through, indicating how many people opened and clicked on your email. This differs from overall CTR, which includes repeat clicks. If there’s a large disparity between these two metrics, it indicates that users have come back and clicked on your email more than once.
  • Click-to-open ratio measures your click-through rate against your open rate. A low click-to-open ratio indicates that users are opening your email, but not clicking through on any of your links.

What’s a good click-through rate?

Like most other marketing metrics, a “good” email CTR is totally dependent upon your industry, message, and individual business goals. A study conducted by Campaign Monitor found that the average click-through rate across all industries was 2.69%. When setting your email marketing goals, be sure to benchmark against your own marketing performance in addition to industry standards to ensure that you’re improving over time.

What factors impact click-through rate, and how can you improve it?


There are a wide variety of factors that impact email marketing metrics. Content is the first consideration when planning out an email marketing strategy—if your email doesn’t communicate clearly and lead your reader to action, it isn’t doing the job it needs to do. Make sure your subject line and CTAs are clear and concise, and let users know what to expect when opening your email and when clicking on your CTA.


Your design should support your content and follow user experience best practices. If your email is difficult to read, visually cluttered, or otherwise doesn’t offer a good impression of your brand, users aren’t going to click-through to continue a less-than-excellent experience. Be sure to use responsive email layouts that look just as stunning on mobile devices as they do on desktop.

Send Times & Dates

Once you’ve nailed down your content and layout, consider experimenting with send times and dates to determine when you get the highest open and click-through rates. Be sure to consider the type of content you’re sending and when you’re sending—for example, a Friday afternoon likely isn’t the best time to send a B2B sales-focused email, while a Tuesday morning likely won’t get great rates for a B2C consumer product.

Email marketing can be an extremely powerful tool for startups looking to grow their customer pool. With a clear understanding of some basic email marketing best practices, you can turn click-throughs to conversions and generate more leads. Be sure to look at all the facets of this metric and set clear, realistic goals for your marketing to amplify your brand voice.

Our partners at Bayshore Solutions contributed this guest post.

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