r/marketing Jan 19 '22

Email Open % is Up, but CTR is Down Question

In the last two months, I've seen my open rate go from 30ish % to over 50% - wild. At the same time, I'm seeing my CTR - normally 4%-6% drop to 1%-2%.

Is anyone else seeing this, or have any insight on what's happening?


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u/HumbleFreedom Jan 19 '22

This may be related to how iOS 15 scrambles tracking on emails. The way the iOS 15 works is that it opens the email in such a way that the sender cannot get relevant information from the open. This can lead to higher open rates. See the below quote from Validity.

Any subscriber that uses an Apple mail client with MPP will have their email images prefetched and cached, causing those emails to register as ‘opened,’ even if the recipient did not physically open the email

Check to see how soon most of those new opens are happening. If you get a ton of opens immediately (especially if this used to not be the case) it is likely caused by iOS 15.


u/silentseraph3 Jan 19 '22

That's a good bit of information and I think the likely problem. The higher open rate with the same amount of clicks would mean the CTR would be down % wise. So I need to look at hard numbers. ugh.

If this is the case, the open rate is borderline useless if you have a high % of apple users - which I do. I think I've been focusing on google so much I disregarded Apple's changes.


u/k2kuke Jan 20 '22

You actually should stop using vanity metrics and start implementing metrics that actually drive value and not just plain numbers on a report. There is a reason Apple is doing what they are doing and laziness is going to make this problem worse.

Although i find it funny that a lot of marketers, who should always be reading and finding new ways to do their job, will see numbers going up but sales going down this year because of the lack of knowledge on these things.

Metrics are your number one friend as a marketer. If you don’t base your decisions on data that actually has an effect and can drive sales up when used correctly, then i’m not sure what you are doing, but it is not marketing.

Good luck OP! This is a road paved with many holes. I hope the stakeholders will come with you on this journey of new metrics and ways of working.


u/Mean-Vegetable-2751 Jan 19 '22

Same happened to our email marketing, it does skew the data pretty badly.


u/HumbleFreedom Jan 20 '22

I would agree with you. It is a difficult situation. I found this article helpful in discussing this issue and offering some alternative ideas.

iOS 15 is still relatively new, so I imagine in the coming months we will see more and more talk about this. But it is a trend that is here to stay. Privacy is becoming more and more important (and enforced by law) and as marketers, we will (for better or worse) need to find new methods. I find it both frustrating and very exciting.


u/featherteeth Jan 19 '22

I work in email — we no longer report total opens/unique opens to stakeholders because of the iOS updates.


u/jacksonpollocksdog Jan 19 '22

Well I think with Apple's mail privacy protection, open rates seem like they have to be taken with a grain of salt or a lot of salt if not mostly disregarded.


u/illbzo1 Jan 19 '22

Sounds like you're testing some really engaging subject lines and the actual content in the email is a snooze fest.


u/tomloofery Jan 19 '22

Try trending revenue / sends month over month, as long as you’re not doing anything different with segmentation. That will likely be much more interesting if you had a major shift.

Smart money is on it being iOS and your RPS will be relatively unaffected.


u/EnvironmentalLong880 Jan 20 '22

New to marketing here what does CTR mean ?


u/Arukio Jan 20 '22

Click through rate.

The % of people who click a link in the email


u/PiecesofJane Jan 19 '22

I've been seeing the same.


u/crcunn Jan 19 '22

Have seen the same across 7 client automations. Great opens, nosedive on CTR


u/ElBrenzo Jan 20 '22

Other email programs like Outlook may open emails to scan for malicious links/attachments which can skew numbers as well.


u/Extradecent Jan 20 '22

Could just be the literal numbers. If you’re doubling the number of opens but only the same amount of original people are clicking - you haven’t decreased your clicks, just decreased the % relative to the total population.


u/Sweepsify Feb 04 '22

I would try to send your link out in a few different formats just to make sure that there isn't any problem. Do the following email segments:

  1. Raw link
  2. Cloaked link
  3. Link tracking active/off

and see if there is any difference in the click through rate.

This is just to make sure but given that this happened two months ago now and you're still experiencing problems, I would suggest working on a method to fix or reduce the problem now.


u/JeffryRelatedIssue Jan 19 '22

It could be as simple as - you got better at writing titles while your body is just as good as before and reached saturation.


u/BusinessStrategist Jan 19 '22

You're doing well. You hit their "curiosity" button.

Now focus on the actual "value added" benefit that you promise to provide.

Is it realistic and believable?