Everything you need to know about click-through rate

Click-through rate is an indispensable metric for all marketers around the world. More so for email marketers as it allows them to gauge the success of their email campaigns. Of course, you can hire an email marketing consultant and let them deal with indicators. Nonetheless, a working knowledge about CTR will help you better understand the likes and dislikes of your customers and help you create effective email campaigns. 

What is a click-through rate?

Click-through rate, also known as email click rate, is used to measure how many subscribers interacted with your email template. You can measure this rate when readers click on an image, CTA, or hyperlink in the email. For email marketers, the click-through rate indicates the engagement level of their emails. Essentially, they can know how well their email copy is performing. If they notice a drop in the click-through rate, they can locate the problem and quickly make the necessary changes. 

How to calculate the click-through rate?

The formula used to calculate the click-through rate is pretty simple. It is the total number of links clicked in your email divided by the total number of emails sent. Some email marketers will also reduce the number of email bounces to make this figure more accurate. You do not have to measure it manually as all the email service providers and email clients will provide CTR measurement tools in their dashboard. 

How many types of click-through rates are there?

The click-through rate can be divided into two types. 

  • Total click-through rate 

Total click-through rate, or TCTR, measures the total number of clicks on the links, CTA, and images. More clicks implies that the email copy is popular and is generating traction. However, there are a few downsides of using this as the sole metric to measure the success rate of your email campaigns. To begin with, opening the links on your mobile phones and then on the desktops, or vice versa adds to the tally of TCTR. Multiple clicks on the same link are also counted separately. Sometimes, the firewall checker can increase the count of TCTR. All these duplicate clicks create noise and make it difficult for email marketers to understand the performance of their campaigns. 

  • Unique click-through rate

A unique click-through rate, or UCTR, generates a more transparent result for the marketers. This means multiple clicks from the same recipient will be registered as one. Clicks on different devices are also registered as one click. UCTR removes all the noise from the TCTR and paints a clearer picture of individual clicks. 

Which is better: TCTR or UCTR?

While UCTR shows how many unique individuals have clicked on the link, it disregards all the repeat interactions. TCTR, on the other hand, shows the traffic that your campaign is generating using repeat engagement and sharing with their social circles. Email marketers can also use TCTR to extrapolate how many users they are retaining. Therefore, you have to use the results of both TCTR and UCTR to create effective email campaigns. 

4 ways to increase your click-through rates 

  • Double opt-ins

To ensure higher click-through rates, you must send emails to subscribers that actually want to interact with your emails. One way to bring in more willing subscribers is to use double opt-ins. In the double-opt-in method, the prospect gets a second verification email after they sign up to your email list. This process removes all the passive prospects and people that misclicked on the link. An email list made of double opt-in subscribers will be smaller but will have higher click-through rates since all the email recipients will be eager to interact with your brand.

  • Email subject line

For the subscribers to click through your emails, they need to open the email first. Research shows that 69% of the subscribers will mark the email as spam if the subject line looks sketchy. Therefore, it is imperative that you create a subject line that is eye-catching and establishes the identity of your brand. You can also use curiosity-inducing statements in your subject line to draw the attention of your subscribers. However, never use controversial or provocative subject lines to increase your click-through rates. They will do more harm than good. In addition to that, try avoiding words that might trigger the spam filter. 

  • Email content

A compelling email copy will keep the readers engaged and encourage them to interact with the images, links, and CTA buttons. No subscriber wants to go through a wall of text. To make your email copy more effective, you can insert images, GIFs, and videos. You can also enter interactive elements like countdown timers and image carousels to make your emails stand out. Captivating the reader’s attention for a long time can drastically increase the click-through rate of your emails. 

  • Formatting

More and more people are using mobile devices and tablets to access their emails. Therefore, you need to increase the accessibility of your emails by making them mobile-friendly. Maintain a logical reading order with proper visual hierarchy. Use readable fonts and choose contrasting colors for your letters. A properly formatted email will look more appealing and professional. Add fallback fonts and images to safeguard the aesthetics of your emails. 


For newer brands, it might be difficult to track and change the email content based on the CTR rates. In such cases, it is better to hire an email marketing consultant to manage the email campaigns and measure their performance. They will also be well equipped to change the email content on the go to increase the CTR rates.

Author: Kevin George is the head of marketing at Email Uplers, that specializes in crafting Professional Email Templates, PSD to Email conversion, and Mailchimp Templates. Kevin loves gadgets, bikes & jazz, and he breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on email marketing blog.

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