CTOR vs CTR – Which Metric You Should Track

ByNupur Mittal


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As an email marketer, you must know 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 confuse 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 contents

What is click-through rate (CTR) and click-to-open rate (CTOR)?

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

CTOR is the percentage of subscribers who clicked on at least one link in an email out of the total opened emails.

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

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:

Email A 10% 50%
Email B 20% 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.

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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.

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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 which helps you track the other metrics performance of your overall email campaign.

What you should do next

Hey there, thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:

  1. Talk to an email expert. Need someone to take your email marketing to the next level? Mailmodo’s experts are here for you. Schedule a 30-minute email consultation. Don’t worry, it’s on the house. Book a meet here.

  2. Send emails that bring higher conversions. Mailmodo is an ESP that helps you to create and send app-like interactive emails with forms, carts, calendars, games, and other widgets for higher conversions. Get started for free.

  3. Get smarter with our email resources. Explore all our knowledge base here and learn about email marketing, marketing strategies, best practices, growth hacks, case studies, templates, and more. Access guides here.

What should you do next?

Thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:


Get smarter with our email resources

Explore our email marketing guides, ebooks and other resources to master email marketing.


Do better email marketing with Mailmodo

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Talk to an email expert

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