How to Calculate and Optimize Click-to-Open Rate: The Complete Guide

Sick of Low Email Engagement? Learn the Secret Sauce to Skyrocketing CTR and Open Rates

Want recipients to devour your email content like hotcakes? You can, when you master click-to-open rate and open rate optimization.

This comprehensive guide teaches you the formulas, benchmarks, and pro tips to take your CTOR and open rates from meh 😑 to wow! 🤩

Page Contents

What is Click-to-Open Rate (CTR / CTOR)?

Click-to-open rate, commonly abbreviated as CTOR, is a crucial metric for understanding how your email marketing campaigns are performing. But what exactly does it measure and why does it matter? Let’s break it down.

CTR definition

Click-to-open rate represents the percentage of recipients who not only opened your email, but also clicked on one of the links within that email.

For example, say you send a promotional email to 100 subscribers. 65 people open the email, and of those 65 openers, 23 go on to click a link inside the email.

Your click-to-open rate would be:

CTOR = Unique clicks (23) / Unique opens (65) x 100  

= 35% CTOR

So in this case, 35% of the people who opened the email went on to engage further by clicking.

How CTR differs from open rate

CTR should not be confused with open rate, which simply measures how many recipients opened your email. Open rate indicates your email subject line and preview text were compelling enough for subscribers to open.

But CTOR takes it a step further by tracking what happens after they open – do they click and engage, or close out? CTOR provides insights into the actual email content.

For example, you could have a great open rate of 50%, but a low CTOR of just 15%. This would mean your content didn’t resonate with readers who opened and entice them to click further.

Why CTOR matters for email marketing

Monitoring your CTOR gives you insights such as:

  • How compelling and relevant your email copy and offers are
  • Whether your call-to-action placement or design should be tweaked
  • How your CTOR trends over time or for different segments

Essentially, CTOR represents the quality and effectiveness of your email content, unlike open rate which mainly reflects how intriguing your subject line and preview text are.

Some key benefits of tracking CTOR:

  • Identify low-quality leads: A low CTOR indicates subscribers who open but rarely convert. You can segment these out as “inactive” and stop wasting campaign budget on them.
  • Personalize your emails: If CTOR is low for a particular segment, tweak your messaging and offers to be more tailored to that subgroup.
  • Test and improve your CTAs: Try different designs, placements, and copy to see which CTAs perform best and drive higher click-to-open rates.
  • Benchmark performance: Compare your CTOR against industry averages, and against past campaign CTORs, to gauge how you’re improving.
  • Optimize email content: From copy to design to subject lines, monitoring CTOR helps you continuously enhance content to keep subscribers engaged.

The click-to-open rate metric provides invaluable insights into the real-world usefulness and impact of your email campaigns. Unlike vanity metrics such as open rate, CTOR measures true reader engagement and content effectiveness.

Here are a few scenarios where monitoring CTOR paid off:

  • An fashion retailer noticed CTOR tanking for their promotional emails. They switched from over-the-top salesy language to more lifestyle-focused copy with customer testimonials. This increased CTOR by 42% within 2 months.
  • A SaaS company saw CTOR vary widely depending on the day of their promotional emails. Focusing campaigns on lower-CTOR days of the week improved overall CTOR by 22%.
  • A non-profit tried three different email CTA colors – keep, donate, or volunteer. The “volunteer” CTOR was lowest at 7%, indicating content needed rework to compel readers to activate.

As you can see, keeping close tabs on click-to-open rates provides actionable data to send more relevant emails, write better copy, and design more effective CTAs. This drives more quality leads and customers over time.

CTOR is a valuable metric, but should never be analyzed alone. Combining it with open rate, click-through rate, and other metrics provides a 360-degree view of your email marketing performance. But focusing on CTOR ensures you don’t just get opens – you get engagement.

How to Calculate Your Click-to-Open Rate

Now that you know what click-to-open rate is and why it’s useful, let’s walk through how to actually measure this metric for your email campaigns.

Calculating your CTOR involves just a simple formula. But first, make sure you understand what numbers go into the formula and how tracking works.

CTOR Formula Step-by-Step

The click-to-open rate formula is:

CTOR = (Unique Clicks / Unique Opens) x 100

Let’s break down what each component means:

  • Unique Clicks – The number of individual recipients who clicked on any link within your email. This excludes repeat clicks from the same person.
  • Unique Opens – The number of individual recipients who opened your email. This excludes multiple opens from the same person.
  • 100 – Converts the ratio into a percentage for readability.

For example, if your email campaign had:

  • 356 unique clicks
  • 982 unique opens

Your CTOR would be:

CTOR = (356 / 982) x 100 = 36%

That means 36% of recipients who opened the email went on to click through on a link, engaging further with your content and offer.

Click-to-Open Rate Calculation Examples

Let’s look at a few more examples to drive the CTOR formula home:

Example 1

  • Emails Sent: 250
  • Unique Opens: 127
  • Unique Clicks: 28

CTOR = (28 / 127) x 100 = 22%

Example 2

  • Emails Sent: 500
  • Unique Opens: 217
  • Unique Clicks: 92

CTOR = (92 / 217) x 100 = 42%

Example 3

  • Emails Sent: 1800
  • Unique Opens: 453
  • Unique Clicks: 118

CTOR = (118 / 453) x 100 = 26%

As you can see, the CTOR formula is straightforward and only requires two data points – unique opens and unique clicks.

Most email service providers will calculate this automatically for you. But knowing the math behind it helps you better analyze the results.

Accuracy of Click-to-Open Tracking

When looking at your CTOR, it’s important to understand tracking has some limitations. CTOR relies on pixels that load when an email is opened and links are clicked. But some factors can impede accuracy:

  • Image blocking – Recipients who disable images won’t load tracking pixels, so opens/clicks go undetected.
  • Intermittent connectivity – Opens or clicks may not register for recipients with spotty internet service.
  • Private email clients – Providers like Apple Mail have additional privacy, preventing accurate tracking.
  • Shared devices – Public computers can lead to repeat opens/clicks from different users showing as one person.

So take your email tracking metrics with a grain of salt. But even with minor discrepancies, the general trends will emerge, so you can still glean valuable insights.

A few ways to help increase tracking accuracy:

  • Ask recipients to add you as a contact and enable images.
  • Send a dedicated tracking email to gauge accuracy before a big campaign.
  • Compare metrics across different email providers.

The most important thing is consistently using the same tracking methods over time, rather than focusing on micro-precision. Look at the big picture CTOR trends month-over-month or campaign-over-campaign.

Tracking limitations aside, calculating your click-to-open rate is simple. With a spreadsheet and the CTOR formula, you can quickly quantify how compelling your email content and links are for subscribers who open your messages.

Let’s look at some tips for a good CTOR benchmark to aim for.

What is a Good Click-to-Open Rate?

Once you’ve calculated your email campaign CTOR, how do you know if it’s a “good” result or not? CTOR benchmarks vary across industries, so what’s great for one business may be average or poor for another.

In this section, we’ll explore CTOR benchmarks, acceptable ranges, and what different click-to-open rates signify.

Average CTOR Benchmarks by Industry

Marketing and analytics platform Mailchimp analyzed billions of emails across industries to provide CTOR benchmarks.

Here are the current average CTOR rates by industry sector according to Mailchimp:

  • Arts & Entertainment – 7.32%
  • Automotive – 4.67%
  • Business Services – 9.51%
  • Consumer Packaged Goods – 6.19%
  • Education – 7.55%
  • Fashion & Apparel – 5.32%
  • Financial Services – 10.61%
  • Food & Beverage – 4.48%
  • Government – 9.69%
  • Healthcare – 7.95%
  • Non-Profit – 8.75%
  • Publishing – 8.90%
  • Real Estate – 4.72%
  • Software & Tech – 7.06%
  • Travel & Hospitality – 4.09%

So for instance, if you’re in software, aiming for above 7.06% CTOR puts you ahead of industry average. But for automotive, a CTOR of 4.67% is typical.

These benchmarks help you set targets and evaluate your performance. But always focus on improving campaign-over-campaign rather than competing with other businesses.

Acceptable CTOR Range by Business Type

The “acceptable” CTOR range depends heavily on your business model and audience. But here are some general guidelines based on business type:

  • B2C/Retail – 5-15%+ CTOR is decent, with 10-20% considered good
  • SaaS/Tech – 10-25% is an OK range, with 15-30% good
  • Lead Gen/Agencies – 15-35% acceptable, with 25-50% great
  • Non-Profits – 15-25% acceptable, 20-40% good
  • Ecommerce – 10-20% decent, 15-30% good

Again, these are rough ranges to give you an idea of good, average, and low performance. Track your own historical CTOR to establish your expected range.

What Do Different CTORs Indicate?

As a general rule of thumb:

  • CTORS below 5% – Very poor. Email content is not compelling recipients to click-through.
  • CTORS of 5-15% – Below average in most cases. There is room to improve email content and CTAs.
  • CTORS of 15-25% – Average or decent for most businesses. Content generates some engagement.
  • CTORS above 25% – Good or excellent for many business types. Well-optimized content and CTAs.
  • CTORS above 50% – Exceptional performance. You have nearly perfected your email content approach.

Again, these ranges are guidelines. A 15% CTOR may be amazing or awful depending on your business. Focus on improving over past performance.

Some factors that influence what “good” CTOR is for you:

  • Industry – Some sectors like finance and agencies drive more clicks than retail/ecommerce on average.
  • Business model – Lead gen emails often aim for higher CTOR than promotional newsletters would.
  • Email segment – CTOR expectations likely vary between your engaged subscriber list vs. cold leads list.
  • Email length – Shorter emails often have higher CTOR, so adjust expectations accordingly.
  • Purpose – Awareness-focused branding email would differ from a hard-sell promo.

Technical issues like tracking pixels blocking or disabled images can also slightly deflate your CTOR. If your CTOR takes an unexpected dive, investigate for any technical glitches first.

Benchmark your CTOR, then test new content, segments, timing, email types, and creative to systematically increase it over time. Even minor improvements add up, elongating your emails’ lifecycle.

Tips to Increase Your Email Click-to-Open Rate

Now that you know how to track click-to-open rate and have an idea of good benchmarks, let’s get into actionable tips to improve your CTOR.

Small tweaks to your email personalization, subject lines, CTAs, segmentation, and design can have a noticeable impact on your click-to-open rate over time.

Here are some of the most effective ways to boost CTOR for your email campaigns:

Personalize Email Content

Generic, spammy email copy has little chance of driving clicks once opened. To compel recipients to click your links, you need relevant, personalized content.

Personalized email typically has CTOR rates 4-10x higher than batch-and-blast campaigns.

Here are some personalization tactics to incorporate:

  • Name personalization – Addressing recipients by their first name hugely boosts relevance. But don’t stop there…
  • Behavioral personalization – Reference recent actions they took, content viewed, items purchased, etc.
  • Segment-based personalization – Tailor content to specific demographics and interests.
  • Subject line personalization – Including subscribers’ names or attributes gets more opens.

For example, an ecommerce abandoned cart recovery email could include:

Subject: Sarah, your items are still waiting for you!

Hi Sarah, 

Notice anything missing? You left some great items in your cart recently.

We saved your size 10 Nike running shoes and Lululemon tank top for you! We know you're training for that marathon, so fuel up with 20% off your cart.

This offer ends tomorrow, so grab your gear now before it sells out!

Shop Your Cart

This hyper-personalized approach makes it extremely likely Sarah will click through and complete her purchase.

Improve Email Subject Lines

Your subject line is the first touchpoint with subscribers, so it needs to grab their attention and stop them from instantly deleting.

Some best practices for compelling email subject lines that drive higher open rates:

  • Optimal length is 30-60 characters – Long enough to intrigue, but short enough to prevent truncation on mobile.
  • Leverage emotional triggers – Urgency, exclusivity, curiosity, humor, social proof work well.
  • Speak to reader benefits – Focus on what’s in it for them rather than features.
  • Use power words – Examples: “Announcing”, “New”, “Introducing”, “Breaking:”
  • Add emojis and brackets – 😊 [] Breaks up text and catches the eye.
  • Test different options – A/B test 10+ variants to discover your ideal subject line formula.

For instance, an A/B test may reveal that using recipients’ names and an emoji performs best:

📰 Sarah, check out the new newsletter for runners!
vs. 
New Monthly Newsletter for Running Enthusiasts

Keep a swipe file of high-performing subject line formulas you can replicate in future campaigns.

Use Clear Calls-to-Action

Once a recipient opens your email, your CTA is key for guiding them to click through to your landing page or offer.

To boost click-to-open rates:

  • Place CTAs strategically – Having one CTA at the top and bottom works well to capture attention.
  • Make CTAs visually stand out – Contrasting color, size, and whitespace help.
  • Simplify CTA copy – “Shop New Arrivals” beats a vague “Learn More”.
  • Use urgency and scarcity – “Register by Friday” or “Limited spots available”.

This CTA stands out with the contrasting button and urgent, benefit-focused copy:

Reserve Your Spot  

Always track CTA-specific click-through rates to find your optimal placemement and styles.

Email List Segmentation

Mass blasting the same email to your entire subscriber list is unlikely to resonate with everyone.

Segment your list into distinct buckets, such as:

  • Demographic data – age, gender, location
  • Interests and preferences
  • Past purchase history and behaviors
  • Engagement level – inactive, moderately active, highly engaged

Then tailor your email content, offers, timing and creative to align with each segment.

For example, with the running shoe company:

  • Send new product updates to highly engaged recent purchasers.
  • Send training tips and guides to moderately engaged subscribers.
  • Send exclusive discounts to inactive subscribers to re-engage them.

This targeted approach results in higher open rates and CTOR across every segment compared to blanket emailing.

Email Design Best Practices

With 183.9 billion emails sent daily, your design needs to make an impact. Some key elements that enhance CTOR:

  • Scannable layout – Break up text, use whitespace, add section headers.
  • Effective visual hierarchy – Draw attention towards CTAs and vital info.
  • Relevant images – Showcase products, infographics, or customer stories.
  • Mobile optimization – Single column, big CTAs, short paragraphs, large text.
  • Clear brand identity – Use colors, logos, fonts that are recognizably you.

Boosting click-to-open rate takes continuous testing and optimization. But the payoff is a longer email lifecycle, more re-engaged subscribers, and higher conversions. Give these tips a try in your next campaign.

Related Metrics to Track with CTOR

While click-to-open rate is hugely valuable, analyzing it alone doesn’t give you the full picture. To holistically gauge campaign performance, CTOR needs to be assessed in conjunction with other email metrics.

Here are some key metrics that provide context and additional insights when tracked alongside CTOR:

Unique Clicks

This metric represents the number of individual recipients who clicked on one or more links within your email campaign.

Unique clicks help you identify absolute engagement levels, while CTOR shows you engagement as a percentage. If unique clicks rise but CTOR drops, it indicates more people are opening but a smaller proportion are clicking.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Click-through rate measures the percentage of total recipients who clicked on a link, out of all who received the email.

CTR = Unique Clicks / Total Emails Sent

CTR differs from CTOR in that it looks at clicks based on everyone you emailed, rather than just unique opens.

For example, if you sent 500 emails, and 100 people clicked through, your CTR is 20%. However, if 250 people opened the email, the CTOR would be 40%.

Together, CTR and CTOR indicate how compelling your subject line and preview text are (CTR) compared to your actual email copy and content (CTOR).

Open Rate

Open rate shows the percentage of recipients who opened your email out of the total you sent it to.

Open Rate = Unique Opens / Total Emails Sent 

A high open rate but low CTOR can mean your subject line or preview text got them to open, but your content didn’t convince them to click further.

Ideally, you want both a strong open rate and CTOR. Open rate provides context on who opened the email and had the opportunity to click through.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate measures what percentage of recipients completed your desired goal after clicking your email link. This varies by campaign goal:

  • Registered for a webinar
  • Purchased a product
  • Downloaded content

A high CTOR but low conversion rate may indicate your landing page didn’t effectively continue leading readers towards converting.

Together, conversion rate and CTOR give insights into your entire marketing funnel – from email open to landing page.

Other Notable Email Metrics

Some other metrics provide important context:

  • Bounce rate – What percentage of emails failed to be delivered?
  • Unsubscribe rate – How many recipients opted out from future emails?
  • Spam rate – What portion were marked as spam by recipients?
  • List growth rate – How rapidly is your subscriber list expanding from new signups?

A full view combines your CTOR, CTR, open rate, conversion rate, and other factors.

You can create an email dashboard to conveniently monitor all metrics in one place. For example:

Metric Jan Feb Mar Goal
Open Rate18%22%26%25%
CTR 8%10%12%15%
CTOR 31%34%38%40%
Conversion Rate14%18%22%20%

Regularly analyzing CTOR alongside these additional metrics gives you a 360-degree view of email campaign performance. You can connect how changes to subject lines impact open rate and CTOR, whether better CTOR is translating to more conversions, etc.

This holistic approach helps you make data-driven decisions to continuously enhance your email marketing over time.

Increase Opens to Boost CTOR

As we’ve discussed, your click-to-open rate is calculated based on unique opens. So to directly boost CTOR, you need to get more opens.

Here are some key ways to increase email opens and in turn raise your click-to-open rate:

Improve Deliverability

If your emails never make it to subscribers’ inboxes, you have no chance for them to open and click through.

Deliverability refers to your emails successfully arriving rather than being blocked as spam or bounced as invalid.

Some deliverability tips:

  • Properly set up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC – These authentication protocols verify you as a legitimate sender.
  • Use a dedicated IP – This builds your sender reputation and avoids flags from shared IPs.
  • Keep emailing activity consistent – Don’t send nothing for months then blast a huge campaign. Gradual ramp-up is better.
  • Monitor blocked domains – If certain email providers block you, focus on ones with better delivery.
  • Keep lead data updated – Bounced or spammed emails damage sender score. Keep your list clean.
  • Warm up new domains – When launching a new domain or IP address, warm it up slowly first.

Deliverability varies by your subscribers’ email providers and domains. Yahoo and Gmail tend to be fairly reliable, while corporate domains often have strict filtering resulting in lower inbox rates.

Test and optimize deliverability before expecting higher opens.

Subject Line Optimization

Even if your email lands in inboxes, recipients won’t open it without an enticing subject line.

We covered subject line best practices earlier, but here are a few additional tips:

  • Research top performers in your industry – Adapt what subject lines resonate best with your audience.
  • A/B test the sender name – Sometimes a personal name gets more opens than a brand name.
  • Try 2-3 subject line variants – Test in small batches before big sends to verify the winner.
  • Keep refreshing – The same subject line won’t work forever. Monitor open rates and rotate in new options.
  • Leverage trends and seasonality – Capitalize on interests around major events/holidays.
  • Use FOMO and urgency – “Last chance this month for 50% off!”

Keep an organized spreadsheet of subject line performance to continuously refine your approach.

Personalization

We touched on the power of personalized subject lines for increasing opens. But personalization works across the entire subscriber lifecycle:

  • Welcome series – “Thanks for joining, [First Name]!”
  • Cart abandonment – “Come back for the [Product Name], [First Name]!”
  • Anniversary – “Happy 1 year with us, [First Name]!”
  • Browsing behavior – “You viewed [Page], here’s a coupon!”
  • Purchase category – “New [Category] releases we think you’ll like”
  • Location – “Readers in [City] are loving this content”

Leveraging custom fields you collect or integrating with your CRM takes personalization even further.

The more relevant your emails feel, the more enticed recipients will be to open them.

Follow-Up with Non-Openers

Despite your best efforts, some subscribers simply won’t open certain email campaigns.

Rather than continuously blasting non-engaged contacts, follow up specifically with those who haven’t opened recently:

  • Segment non-openers and remove from main campaign list
  • Send a re-engagement campaign focusing on them
  • Ask for feedback on why they haven’t been opening
  • Offer an incentive to re-engage like a special discount
  • Provide an easy unsubscribe link within email

This outreach shows non-openers you noticed them, and gets insight into any issues losing their interest. Either they’ll re-engage or opt-out, cleaning your list.

The Open-Click Connection

CTOR rises when more relevant recipients open your emails. But compelling email content and CTAs are still required to convert those opens into clicks.

So focus both on driving more opens through optimization like above – as well as crafting engaging content covered earlier to boost conversions once opened.

More opens provide more raw materials for your CTOR. Making the most of those materials is up to strong email copy, offers, and design.

How to Calculate and Optimize Your Open Rate

While click-to-open rate represents engagement once an email is opened, you first need recipients to actually open your messages. So let’s discuss how to measure, benchmark, and enhance your all-important email open rate.

Open Rate Definition

Your open rate is the percentage of total recipients who opened your email out of all the addresses you sent it to.

For example, if you emailed 1000 subscribers and 300 opened it, your open rate is 30%.

This metric indicates whether your subject line and preview text are intriguing enough for subscribers to open and read your full content.

Open Rate vs. Click-Through Rate

Open rate differs from click-through rate (CTR) in two key ways:

  1. CTR measures clicks, while open rate measures opens.
  2. CTR looks at clicks compared to total emails sent. Open rate compares opens to emails sent.

For example:

  • You send 1000 emails
  • 500 are opened
  • 300 people click a link

Your open rate is 500/1000 = 50%

Your CTR is 300/1000 = 30%

Together, these metrics indicate how well your subject line intrigues subscribers to open, and then how well your content and CTAs convince them to click-through.

Open Rate Formula

Here is the basic formula for calculating your open rate as a percentage:

Open Rate = (Unique Opens / Total Emails Sent) x 100

Where:

  • Unique Opens – The number of individual recipients who opened your email
  • Total Emails Sent – The total number of emails you sent for that campaign

You’ll notice this is very similar to the CTR formula, just with opens instead of clicks as the numerator.

Let’s walk through an open rate example:

  • You send an email campaign to 2500 subscribers
  • 985 people open the email

Open rate is:

(985 Unique Opens / 2500 Total Sent) x 100 = 39.4% open rate

So about 39% of recipients opened your email, indicating decent interest in your subject line/preview.

Good Benchmark Open Rates by Industry

Open rate varies widely by industry, audience segment, email type, and other factors.

According to Mailchimp’s research, here are some typical open rates by sector:

  • Arts & Entertainment – 18.17%
  • Health & Fitness – 17.95%
  • Home & Garden – 20.24%
  • Non-Profit – 20.51%
  • Food & Beverage – 19.35%
  • Technology – 19.16%
  • Financial Services – 20.41%

Anywhere from 15-30% open rate is fairly typical, but always compare to your own historical averages rather than industry data alone.

Deliverability also impacts open rate. If half your emails hit the spam folder, then a 10% open rate from the remainder would be decent.

Tips to Improve Your Open Rate

Here are some proven strategies to enhance your open rates over time:

  • Send at optimal times – Track when your audience opens (days, hours). Promotional emails tend to see higher weekend open rates.
  • Keep subject lines short – Shoot for 30-60 characters so they don’t truncate on mobile.
  • Personalize – Add first names, location, interests. This boosts relevance.
  • Use urgency – Convey scarcity or a deadline to prompt action.
  • Test different sender names – Sometimes a person’s name does better than the brand.
  • Verify your domain – This enhances deliverability and inboxing rates.
  • Ensure mobile optimization – Over 65% of emails are opened on mobile. Is your layout mobile-friendly?
  • Send to engaged segments – Target subscribers who’ve opened and clicked past emails.
  • Offer exclusivity – Give subscribers early access and VIP treatment.
  • Leverage FOMO – Tease the amazing benefits they’d miss by not opening.

Improving open rates then allows you to capitalize by having higher click-to-open rates on those incremental opens. The two metrics build on each other for email success.

Step-by-Step Guide to Calculating Your Email Open Rate

Now that we’ve covered what open rate is and how to optimize it, let’s walk through step-by-step how to actually measure this metric for your email campaigns.

Follow along with these instructions to calculate your open rates like a pro.

What Open Rate Measures and Why It Matters

As a refresher, open rate shows the percentage of your email recipients who opened your message out of all the addresses you sent it to.

This metric provides valuable insights like:

  • How intriguing your subject lines and preview text are
  • Which days/times get the most opens
  • How your open rates trend over time
  • Which segments of your list engage best

Striving for higher open rates results in more people seeing your content and offers. It’s a key benchmark for email success.

Open Rate Calculation Walkthrough

Let’s calculate open rate with a simple example:

Imagine you send a promotional email campaign to 2000 subscribers.

When you check your email analytics, you see:

  • Total emails sent: 2000
  • Unique opens: 765

To calculate your open rate, follow these steps:

  1. Take the number of unique opens (765).
  2. Divide it by the total emails sent (2000).

This gives you 765 / 2000 = 0.3825

  1. Multiply this number by 100 to convert to a percentage.

0.3825 x 100 = 38.25%

Therefore, your open rate is 38.25%

Pretty straightforward! Now let’s try a few more scenarios so you can get the hang of calculating this yourself.

Example 1

You send 8500 emails and have 2786 unique opens.

The math is:

2788 / 8500 = 0.327 x 100 = 32.7% open rate

Example 2

You have 12,345 emails sent and 4,219 unique opens.

The calculation is:

4219 / 12345 = 0.342 x 100 = 34.2% open rate

Example 3

For a smaller campaign with 582 emails sent and 289 opens, the math is:

289 / 582 = 0.496 x 100 = 49.6% open rate

As you can see, dividing unique opens by total sent, then converting to a percentage gives you the standard open rate formula used by all email marketers and tools.

Accuracy Factors and Limitations

When looking at open rates, be aware of certain accuracy considerations:

  • Recipients who block images won’t be tracked as opens.
  • Mobile apps that pre-fetch content can falsely count as opens.
  • Privacy features on iOS/Mac prevent tracking pixels from working.

So take the results as directional rather than absolute numbers. The most important thing is watching trends over time and optimizing to increase your rates.

Ideal Open Rate Range

There are no universally “good” open rates, but here are some ballpark ranges:

  • B2C retail – Around 15-30% is decent
  • SaaS & tech – 20-40% is a good target
  • Agencies – Strive for 25-50%
  • Non-profits – 30-60% open rate performs well

Compare to your own historical averages and aim to increase over time.

And remember – open rate means little without compelling content and CTAs to move readers down the funnel. But it’s an important starting point.

Calculate and boost your open rates using this step-by-step guide!

FAQs About CTOR and Open Rates

We’ve covered a ton of ground on calculating, benchmarking, and optimizing your click-to-open rate and open rates.

To wrap up, let’s tackle some of the most common questions people have around these important email metrics.

What is a good CTOR?

There is no universal “good” CTOR. It varies by industry, business model, email type, list segment, and other factors.

Some rough benchmarks by sector:

  • B2C Retail – 10-20%
  • SaaS/Tech – 15-30%
  • Lead Gen – 25-50%+

Aiming to exceed your historical CTOR averages is better than chasing arbitrary targets.

What is a bad CTOR?

Again, “bad” is relative. But in most cases:

  • Below 5% CTOR indicates poor email content and CTA failure
  • 5-15% is underperforming for many business types
  • Over 25%+ is strong for some niches

If your CTOR drops significantly campaign-over-campaign, investigate why via tests.

What is the average CTOR?

According to Mailchimp, the overall average CTOR across industries is around 11%.

But keep in mind your business model and audience play a big role. Don’t stress over matching the global average.

How do you increase low CTOR?

Some tactics to boost consistently low CTOR include:

  • Improving subject lines to increase opens
  • Crafting more compelling content
  • Personalizing emails based on interests
  • Experimenting with different CTA placements/copy

Creating sense of urgency and scarcity in your copy can also lift CTOR.

What is a good email open rate?

Typical open rate benchmarks by sector are:

  • B2C Retail – 15-30%
  • SaaS/Tech – 20-40%
  • Non-Profits – 25-40%
  • Financial Services – 20-30%
  • Agencies – 30-50%

Again, compare to your own past averages rather than arbitrary targets.

What is an average open rate?

The overall global average open rate is around 20% currently. But niche industries like real estate see over 25%, while retail is sub-20%.

How do you increase a low open rate?

Some proven tactics to boost open rates include:

  • Improving subject lines with personalization and urgency
  • Sending from a person’s name, not just brand name
  • Following up with non-openers to re-engage
  • Confirming your domain and IP are not blocked
  • Targeting the most engaged segments

Does open rate matter if CTR is high?

Yes, because open rate still provides incremental opportunities for clicks/conversions.

Even with excellent CTR, more opens equals more Total clicks and revenue. Always track and optimize open rate.

Can someone read an email without you tracking its open?

Absolutely. Privacy features, anti-tracking tools, and image blocking prevent open pixel tracking.

So take open rates as directional. The exact % matters less than how it trends over time.

What are some alternatives to open rate?

A few metrics that provide similar insights:

  • Inbox placement rate – Percent of emails landing in the inbox vs. spam or other folders
  • Render rate – Percentage of messages that fully rendered with images in the user’s email client.

What is a good click-to-open rate?

A good CTOR varies widely by industry and email type. As a general benchmark, 10-20% is decent for retail, 15-30% for SaaS, and 25%+ for lead gen. Focus on improving your own historical CTORs.

How do you increase low click-to-open rates?

Optimizing subject lines, personalizing content, testing CTAs, sending to engaged segments, and following up with non-openers can help lift poor CTOR.

What is the average email open rate?

The overall global average open rate is around 20%. Rates vary from 15-30% for B2C and retail, 20-40% for SaaS and tech, and 25-50% for agencies and non-profits.

What does a high open rate but low CTOR mean?

This indicates your subject line or preview text is compelling, but your email copy/content is not encouraging clicks once opened. Improve content quality.

How do you calculate open rate?

Use the formula: Open Rate = (Unique Email Opens / Total Emails Sent) x 100. Most email service providers will calculate this automatically.

Can someone read an email without it counting as open?

Yes, many factors like privacy features and image blocking prevent open tracking pixels from registering. Consider open rates directional.

Should you track open rates if click-through rate is high?

Yes, because more opens still provide more opportunities for clicks and conversions. The two metrics work together to boost email performance.

What are some alternatives to open rate?

Inbox placement rate and render rate help address potential open tracking inaccuracies. But open rate remains the standard email benchmark.

How often should you check CTOR and open rates?

Review these metrics each time you send a campaign to spot trends. Checking weekly/monthly reports helps you optimize over time.

These can help address open tracking accuracy issues. But for simplicity, open rate is still the predominant benchmark used by most email marketers.

We’ve covered a lot of ground on both CTOR and open rates. Use these FAQs as a reference anytime you have questions around calculating, reporting, or improving these metrics.

Tools to Track and Increase Your Click-to-Open and Open Rates

Now that you’re a pro at calculating and optimizing CTOR and open rates, let’s discuss some software tools that make it easy to monitor these metrics and act on the insights.

Here are some top platforms for tracking open and click-to-open rates, as well as tools dedicated specifically to optimizing these email performance indicators.

Leading Email Marketing and Analytics Platforms

Most email service providers and marketing platforms include robust analytics for monitoring open rates, click rates, and other key performance indicators.

Here are some popular options:

Mystrika

Mystrika is an advanced cold email platform focused on maximizing deliverability and automating personalized outreach workflows.

Highlights:

  • Only Cold Email tool that allow pre-header / teaser text for best Email Open rate. Demo Video.
  • Personalized email sequence: Mystrika allows you to send add complete personalization to email sequences. You can personalize your email by adding First & Last names, Designation, City, and even have your own dynamic variables based on your need.
  • Sender rotation (Beta): Mystrika lets you connect multiple (almost unlimited) email accounts to send your outreach, saving your reputation and increase your email deliverability.
  • IP rotation
  • “Success %” : Mystrika is one of the only cold email tool that allows you to see how many emails are landing in Inbox (and not in spam) via metrics called Success %.
  • Email Warmup
  • Unibox
  • A-Z testing

Key Features:

  • Comprehensive email warmup capabilities including new domain, new email address and dormant domain reactivation.
  • Full deliverability toolkit: spam testing, blacklist monitoring, bounce handling and more.
  • Dynamic personalization using merge tags, snippets and conditional content.
  • Campaign analytics plus contact history and activity timeline.
  • Unified inbox to manage all incoming emails and prioritize replies.
  • Integrates seamlessly with every major email platform and CRM via webhooks.

Benefits:

  • Achieve inbox placement rates exceeding 95% with proactive deliverability.
  • Hyper-personalize content to resonate with each individual prospect.
  • Monitor campaign performance and pivot strategies to improve results.
  • Streamline workflow with a centralized interface to manage campaigns and conversations.
  • Quickly launch remarkably effective cold email campaigns with minimal setup.

Pricing:

Mystrika offers a free forever plan with basic features, a Growth plan at $19/month, a Dominate plan at $79/month and custom plans for enterprise customers. 20% annual discounts are also available.

Thousands of sales professionals trust Mystrika as their secret weapon to book more qualified meetings and close more deals through cold email outreach.

Mailchimp

The leading email marketing platform, Mailchimp offers detailed reports on opens, clicks, geolocation, device breakdowns, unsubscribes, and more.

Easy-to-read graphs and visuals help you spot trends. And you can integrate your ESP data with platforms like Salesforce and Shopify.

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is another long-standing email service known for its strong analytics.

Their reports feature open rate benchmarking against your industry averages. A heatmap lets you play back individual user engagement.

Sendinblue

Sendinblue stands out with its A/B testing capabilities, ideal for subject line and content optimization.

Stats can be filtered by timeframe, campaign, country, device, and other parameters to pull key insights.

Klaviyo

The premium ecommerce email platform Klaviyo enables deep customer segmentation powered by its analytics.

Metrics are fully customizable, so you can add CTOR or other advanced email KPIs.

For the most flexibility, consider integrating your ESP with a dedicated business intelligence platform like Klipfolio to build fully custom email dashboards and leverage 600+ other app integrations in one analytics environment.

Tools Dedicated to CTOR and Open Rate Optimization

If you want to go beyond basic email reporting and tackle optimization, here are some standalone tools purpose-built for the task:

Mystrika

Mystrika specializes in cold email outreach. Their platform is designed to A/B test subject lines and content to maximize open and click-to-open rates.

Automations streamline personalizing outreach while still being human.

Reply

Reply focuses on automating personalized email and social media outreach campaigns.

Machine learning enables you to define ideal leads, and then automatically craft compelling messages designed to optimize open rate.

Mailmeteor

While primarily an email sequencing tool, Mailmeteor provides real-time open and click tracking to monitor engagement across your drip campaigns.

You can then tweak messages or timing mid-campaign based on performance.

Expandi

Expandi’s LinkedIn automation leverages sequence email campaigns, enabling you to experiment with various touchpoints and personalization options and see the open and CTOR impact.

Expandi also offers handy comparison reports to gauge which messages and strategies are lifting KPIs.

Optimizing your open rate, CTOR, and other metrics takes experimentation. The right tools give you the insights, automation, and customization needed to iterate and improve continuously.

Key Takeaways

Calculating and optimizing your click-to-open rate and open rates is crucial for email marketing success. Here are the key takeaways:

  • CTOR measures engagement – It reveals how compelling your email content and CTAs are to subscribers who open your messages.
  • Use the CTOR formula – Simply divide unique clicks by unique opens and multiply by 100 to get your click-to-open percentage.
  • Leverage CTOR benchmarks – Review industry CTOR averages, but focus on improving your own historical rates.
  • Optimize CTOR with testing – Experiment with subject lines, copy, personalization, segmentation, timing and design.
  • Calculate open rates – Opens divided by total emails sent gives you this foundational metric.
  • Benchmark open rates – Typical ranges are 15-30% for retail, 20-40% for SaaS, but track your trends.
  • Boost opens – Drive more opens to increase the potential universe for CTOR. Focus on deliverability, compelling subject lines and personalization.
  • Track holistically – Consider open rate, CTOR, CTR and other metrics together to gauge campaign health.
  • Leverage email analytics tools – Platforms like Mailchimp and Sendinblue make it easy to monitor and act on the data.

Start making data-driven decisions to optimize your CTOR, open rates and the overall impact of your email marketing.

Here are some frequently asked questions about click-to-open rate and open rates: