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Yesterday we talked about why it’s important to monitor your open rate.

Today we’re going to talk about something that is closely related to your open rate, and to monitoring your open rate. And that is monitoring your click-through rate.

Your click-through rate is, quite simply (in the context of email), a measure of how many people click on your links in a given mailing, expressed as a percentage. It is the number of people who click a link in your email divided by the number of total emails you sent. So if you send 100 pieces of email, and 10 people click on a link in the email, then your click-through rate (“CTR”) is 10%. (And, clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ link doesn’t count.)

If you aren’t tracking your click-through rate, you may be thinking right about now “Shyeah – way more people than 10% click on my mailings.”

Are you sure? I wouldn’t bet on it, and if you don’t know for certain, neither should you. It’s too important a metric to take for granted, and too easily determined to take a chance on just guessing.

And while ISPs may not be monitoring (or able to monitor) your CTR as closely as they do or can your open rate, and may not care as much about your CTR as they do about your open rate, it’s still a very important number, and a very good indicator of the future of your deliverability.

So, if you don’t have a sense of your click-through rate, well, you should. It’s one way to have your finger on the pulse of the success of your email campaigns.

Why is that, you may wonder.

Well, you see – if people are not clicking through the links in your email, that means one of two things – either they are not even opening your email (see, again, why your open rates are important), or it means that they are opening your email (whew!) but they find nothing in it compelling enough for them to click on your links.

The good news is that if your CTR is low, but your open rate is not (yet) low, then the low CTR is a wake-up call – one you should appreciate, and one you should heed.

Because a low CTR almost certainly means that your email deliverability is going to head south. But you have had a warning, and you can do something about it.

Now, that ‘something’ that you need to do about it will be very fact and context specific. It may be that you need more enticing creative. It may be that you need better offers. Or a fatter incentive. That’s something that only you can determine.

Similarly, “what is a good click-through rate” will depend greatly on what you are sending, to whom, and about what.

But the one thing that is universal is this: if your CTR isn’t where you think it should be – and especially if it’s falling – listen to that wakeup call, and be thankful for it.

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