What is Email Open Rate & Click-Thru Rate?

by | Nov 19, 2019

Email Marketing SeriesIf you’re going to market your business with email, you need to understand the two most important email marketing statistics: Open Rate and Click-Thru Rate.  Open Rate is the percentage of subscribers that actually opened your message.  Click-Thru Rate is the percentage of readers that click a link in your message.

Increasing Your Open Rate

Your Open Rate is impacted by 4 primary things: sender name, sender email, subject and history.

The sender name and email are typically the first things recipients look at to determined whether to save or delete the email. After that, they look at the subject line. If they recognize that and the subject line looks interesting, chances are they either save the message or open the message immediately.

The big thing is history though (for those recipients that this isn’t their first message). If past emails have been beneficial, they tend to open and read the message. If they haven’t, they either delete, mark as spam or unsubscribe.

In the end, your history with the recipient is the most important part in increasing open rates. And this starts from the very beginning (when they first subscribe).

You might be wondering about those that don’t open. Why don’t they just unsubscribe? Generally, email applications make it easier to delete than mark as spam or unsubscribe.

History & Your Click-Thru Rate

Once the recipient opens the message, click-thrus are generally the primary goal of email marketing.

Recipients click for a variety of reasons: they want more information, they want to buy/sign up for something or they’re curious about something in the message.

If you provide all of the information in your message, recipients have no need to click through. If the offer (call to action) isn’t compelling (to buy or sign up), they won’t click through. Sometimes it is as basic as the links don’t stand out or there aren’t enough links. Finally, the message content may be something they aren’t interested in so they don’t take further action.

Again, history is important in generating click-thrus. If past history tells the recipient that clicking the links doesn’t provide additional information, they generally won’t click. If past messages have few if any links, their mindset may be to just read the message.

If the goal is click-thrus, you have to give recipients a reason to click or take some action. If you don’t, they won’t. It really is that simple.

If the goal is to provide information, promote the brand, create awareness for an upcoming promotion, etc. (most TV commercials for example), then the copy should be geared toward doing that and not generating click-thrus.

What Else Matters?

Another thing is consistency in delivery times and the overall look and feel of the message. These two things impact opens and clicks. If recipients normally receive your message at 10 a.m. on Tuesday each week and you then send a message on Friday at 4 p.m., it is going to throw them off. Alternatively, if the message looks different every time, they may not know what they are looking at, not know where to find their favorite content or just not recognize the message and not read further or click.

Who Are Your Subscribers?

In general, open rates and click-thrus are directly related to your subscriber lists. Are the recipients in your target audience? If they aren’t in your target audience, no amount of changes in the messaging will improve the numbers.

Some Key Stats

Check out this article on Campaign Monitor on industry benchmarks

The bottom line? To improve the effectiveness of your email marketing, first look at your subscribers and then move on to improving open rates and click-thrus using the ideas outlined above.

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