Email marketing metrics: Click through rate (CTR) relevant to email marketing measurement

Are you hot for marketing acronyms, or would you like to be able to understand the people who use two acronyms for every 20 words?

Here is a brief introduction to CTR – Click through rate – which is relevant to all email marketers regardless of your email marketing target audience.

Acronyms – email marketing

CTR – Click-through-rate definition
Click-through-rate (CTR) refers to the number of people who clicked one or more links in your email – expressed as a percentage. For example, if one out of 100 people clicked any link in your email, then your CTR is:  1/100, or 1%.

CTR is an important measurement to understand the attractiveness of your content or offering. Many novice email marketers as well as seasoned email marketers, use this email marketing metric along with open rate (OR) to understand the success of an email campaign, a newsletter send-out, a promotional message or any other type of electronics communication via email.

What’s a hot CTR and what’s not?
In the 90′s and early this century, marketers could easily reach above 20% click through rate. Even B2C email marketers. But these days it is rare to hear about marketers reaching above 20% click through rate. Even for B2B marketers. Although Michael Leander Company do have quite a bit of data about email marketing benchmark results in different demographics and for various industries, sadly the average email marketing metrics tend to decrease for every year.

How about a rule of thumb for email marketing metrics?
A question I often get. And if I were to guide you I would have to base the indication on a global average. And I will do that if you keep reading. But first, let me give you these details:

- in countries where there is no permission marketing legislation in place, the numbers are almost always very low. There are of course exceptions  – for example one bank in Egypt who showed me a campaign during an Email Marketing Masterclass in Cairo in February 2010. If memory serves me right, their CTR was above 20%.
- in countries where the government is having trouble enforcing the local legislation, numbers are always almost very low
- permission marketers whom have approached email marketing with respect for the recipient, and an ambition to provide relevant content in a timely fashion, click through rate numbers may be very good indeed and sometimes above the 20% CTR mark.
- some countries may have significantly higher numbers of spam reaching ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) and company servers. This will have an impact on deliverability rates which subsequently will have impact on your CTR. The reason, of course, is that if spam is a big problem, more companies will take measures to prevent spam from reaching email inboxes. This can in turn impact marketers in that country.

The minimum CTR you want to shoot for
If you are in the B2B market and have received an active consent (permission) to send email communication, I would say that your CTR should reach the threshold of above 9%. If you are marketing to consumers, your mark should be 7%. But please do bear in mind that these numbers may change from region to region. F.ex. in Scandinavia they should be higher, and in the Middle East or Asia, for example, a bit lower.

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