The Evolution of Email Click-Thru Rates

Email marketing click-thru
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With the emergence of email (seems like forever ago), marketers had found yet another way to gain exposure for their target market. But distinguishing how effective an email message really is and how it affects the emotions of the target has always seemed to be a challenge for marketers alike. Let’s be honest here, most of us hate receiving spammy, ad-heavy emails. No, I will not give you my bank account information, and no, I did not win a large sum of money from some random country overseas. Most of us are even annoyed with the emails that we are voluntarily subscribed to. Nevertheless, marketers have vastly relied on the design of emails to enhance their click-through rate.

Simply put, the click-through rate is the amount of users in a given time frame that actually click the link or image provided in the email message to take them to the sender’s website or landing page. This number is analyzed to determine how effective the email is in getting the target to take action – clicking on the link.

Extensive research by marketing experts and consumer behaviorists go into designing emails with the proper colors and effective wording. Whether you notice it or not, a lot of deliberation has been put into many emails that we merely glance at.

But the traditional email marketing scene has been flip-turned upside-down with the introduction of mobile email. With over half of the American population now adopting smartphones, email is subsequently now widely used on the go. Jordan Cohen of emailInsider points out, “Just four short years ago, only 9% of email marketing messages were opened on mobile devices.” Today, he points out that the number has changed to a whopping 66% of users opening email on mobile devices (19% via tablet and 47% via smartphone).

You might be wondering at this point how all of that is relevant to the click-through rate in email. The major difference lies in the optimization of emails that are being received on different platforms. The majority of emails are only optimized to measure the click-through rate for emails opened on desktop and laptop computers, but with the presence of tablets and smartphones, new metrics have become available to marketers that are even more promising.

As Jordan Cohen puts it, consumers don’t interact with emails the way they used to. In the past users would merely click an image or a link, but “Now, they are tapping, scanning, and glancing.” Along with these new actions, there are new metrics.

The tap-through rate analyzes how click-through rates differ across the use of different devices.  It allows marketers to understand if their emails are more effective on computers versus mobile devices.

The scan-through rate applies mainly to shoppers. It drives point-of-sales conversions by physically allowing a user to have a QR/barcode within an email scanned from their mobile device at the register. These scan-code emails are highly beneficial because they are a call to action. It is also easy to determine the effectiveness of the call to action by monitoring how many users had their email scanned.

The glance-through rate measures the impressions made by consumers reading email on multiple devices. Conversion-tracking technology allows metrics to be gauged for a person who might have opened an email on one device and taken action on the email by opening it through another device.

These metrics might seem a bit intrusive, but the data can do wonders for understanding consumer behavior. Despite the major transition of consumers using mobile devices to open email, the click through rate isn’t quite ready to be tossed off the map. Cohen says the click-through rate will be retired soon, but he believes that email marketers should already be optimizing for the “next steps” rather than clicks. As technology becomes more immersed in our lives, look for more new metrics to eventually assist and even replace the click-through rate.

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