As marketers, we understand that the email we’re sending must be intriguing, relevant, and desirable. And as the holidays approach, consumers expect to receive more emails and brands sure plan to send it (woo!). But we have to remember that email is supposed to be a win-win—brands send more email, and consumers get to see more offers/info relevant to their wants, needs, and actions they’ve taken.

So how can you judge your performance during your email campaigns? One easy metric to monitor and that give you some solid insight if you’re sending relevant email is Click to Open Rate (CTOR).

The best way to think about CTOR is to imagine, of those who opened your email, what percent found the content inside valuable/relevant enough to click.

Although metrics like open rates are equally important to track, CTOR helps paints a more complete picture of how your content is performing.

CTOR is different than CTR (click through rate), as the CTO is based on people who opened the email rather than the entire recipient list.

Keeping a close eye on your CTOR ensures that you can determine if your content is actually resonating with your recipients (once they were convinced to open your email).

How to increase your click to open rate (CTOR)

In order to optimize your CTOR, ensure you are considering the following elements:

Know your industry – As with any metric, it’s important to know how you compare with your industry averages. Analyze and compare how much your organization rank with your industry averages.

Find your baseline – If you’re tracking your emails on a campaign level, find your norm for each of your different campaign types. Campaigns with personalized offers will have a consistently higher CTOR, so make sure you’re comparing apples to apples.

Giving customers something relevant and personalized to them will undoubtedly cause more clicks once your customers have opened your email. Use whatever data you have such as pages, products viewed, or products favorited, etc. to serve them something specific to their tastes.

Perfect your subject line – Every email marketer shoots for a subject line that will get them the highest possible open rate. I definitely get a feeling of excitement when I think of a clever, or funny subject line, but subject lines serve a bigger purpose than just a “wow” factor.

Opens are great, but only as great as how close it gets you to the final goal: Conversion.

If your subject lines are getting opens because they’re funny or abstract, but not because they are representing the copy appropriately, and they cause your email to bounce, consider providing a more clear and direct subject line.

Provide a persuasive CTA – Focus on including clear and concise calls to action. Make sure your openers know exactly what you’re asking of them.


The holiday season is the busiest time of year for many companies and with that comes more email. So while there are many things to juggle during this busy time, make sure you’re keeping your user in mind.

Email marketing revenue is not a volume-based metric; it’s a value-based metric.

This type of thinking is important when fostering a strong relationship with your customer. How can you deliver your customer value through email? Once campaigns go out, tracking your CTOR is a great way to see how you’re doing.

For more on how to optimize your email sending for the holidays, check out our tips for a successful holiday program blog which is full of knowledge based tips to make sure you finish out the year with your best email campaigns to date!