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CTOR: Email Marketers' Sleeper Metric

Click-to-open rate, or CTOR, is an essential email marketing metric that many marketers overlook, writes Cara Olson for Marketing Land. Olson is director of Digital Direct/eCRM at Digital Evolution Group,  a full-service digital consultancy based in Kansas City.

CTOR takes the number of unique clicks and divides it by the number of unique opens and then multiples that number by 100 to translate it into a percentage, Olson explains, thus providing more data to a marketer than the standard metrics such as deliverability, open rate, click-through, conversion, and unsubscribe. "What it tells you is simply this," she writes. "Of the subscribers who opened the email, how many clicked."

Lyris Also Lauds CTOR

Lyris makes a similar point in this post.  It notes that CTOR measures:

  • Relevance of the message content
  • Effectiveness of offers
  • Effectiveness of the copy
  • Effectiveness of the message design and layout
  • Timeliness and immediacy of the content or offer
  • Effectiveness of the number and location of text and image links
  • And to some extent, the level of trust recipients place in a brand and value proposition.

Diagnostic Tool

However, Lyris goes on to say, CTOR's greatest value may be as a diagnostic tool for email messages. "For example, if you compare the CTOR across ISPs, key domains or customer segments you might uncover potential issues or trends that need to be addressed."

1 in 4 Commercial Emails Did Not Reach Inbox in H2 '11

Something is clearly not working, or stopped working, for email marketers, whether it is the metrics they use or other strategies. According to a ReturnPath March 2012 study, globally, only 76.5% of commercial emails reached their intended inbox in the second half of 2011, down from 81% in the first half of the year.

The remaining roughly 1 in 4 emails that did not reach the inbox wound up either in a spam/junk folder (8.7%) or were blocked by ISP-level filtering (15.1%).

Three Reasons Why

ReturnPath pointed to three reasons for what it believes is behind the drop. ISPs are being much more stringent with filtering and blocking. Some marketers’ sender reputations are deteriorating and consumers are suffering from email overload and taking actions that negatively impact sender’s reputations. "There is however tremendous opportunity here for smart marketers to beat their competitors by monitoring their reputation, digging into and really understanding deliverability data and staying ahead of the deliverability curve," it concluded.

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