What Is CTOR and CTR and How Can You Use These Metrics to Boost Your Campaigns


As an email marketer, you must be aware of the importance of audience engagement with your emails. The open rates and deliverability rates are essential metrics, but they do not show the entire picture. To understand how your audience engages with your content, you must look at CTR and CTOR.

Many email marketers may get confused between these two metrics as they seem similar. However, they are different and provide valuable insight into your audience engagement. And that's what this article is about. So, let's get started.

Table of Content

What is click-through rate or CTR?

CTR tells you the percentage of subscribers who clicked on at least one link in your email out of the total emails delivered. This metric is also known as an email click rate.

CTR = (Number of clicks / Number of total emails delivered) X 100

What is click-to-open rate or CTOR?

CTOR tells you the percentage of subscribers who clicked on at least one link in your email out of the total opened emails.

CTOR = (Number of clicks / Number of total emails opened) X 100


Both metrics may seem similar, but there is a big difference. For example, suppose you send two emails - email A and email B. Hundred recipients get email A, and 100 get email B. Let's see how they performed.

Email A - Out of 100 delivered emails, only 20 people opened the email, and 10 clicked on a link.

Email B - Out of 100 emails delivered, 50 people opened the email, and 20 of them clicked on the link in the email.

Which email did better? Here's the calculated CTR and CTOR:

EmailClick-through rate or CTRClick to open rate or CTOR
Email A10%50%
Email B20%40%

The above table shows that both the emails have lower CTR but a higher CTOR.

  • Generally, a lower CTR but a higher CTOR could mean that emails are well designed, but you send emails to subscribers who don’t want that kind of email.

  • In contrast, a low click-to-open rate or CTOR indicates that your emails aren’t well crafted to engage your subscribers. Thus, people are not clicking much once they open your emails.

The importance of CTR or CTOR in email marketing

Both these metrics provide different insights into an email marketing campaign. Here they are:

Click-Through Rate or CTR

  • It helps maintain email list hygiene as you can get to know what percentage of your subscribers are interested in your emails over time.

  • It gives a high-level understanding of the overall performance of your emails.

Click to open rate or CTOR

  • Helps in identifying the effectiveness of your email’s body - design, content, and link placement, as higher click-through means the content is more compelling and engaging.

  • It helps in boosting your email ROI as by tracking the performance of your email content, you can focus on creating content that resonates with your audience.

Which metric is more useful - CTR or CTOR?

It isn't easy to decide which is a better metric. While CTR gives you a complete view of your emails, CTOR tells you valuable information about your email content. Let's look at what experts are saying about CTR and CTOR.

According to Jordan Pritikin, the Email and Growth Marketing Manager at HubSpot, CTR provides a holistic view of email performance as it accounts for deliverability and subject line performance.

However, Echt-Wilson argues that CTOR is the best metric to measure how well your email resonated with your audience. This is because it measures the value of your email content, layout, and CTA provides to your subscribers.


In the end, it all comes down to your email marketing objectives. Without these goals, you will not be able to decide which metric to track. Use these metrics with other metrics such as open rate, bounce rate, and conversion rates to get the best result.

You can sign up for Mailmodo that helps you track the other metrics performance of your overall email campaign.

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