Have you recently switched from Constant Contact to MailChimp? Were you alarmed because new MailChimp campaigns showed a significantly lower click rate than your old Constant Contact campaigns? Keep reading to learn why this happens.

Spoiler alert: The two email marketing giants calculate "click rate" differently. 

Email Marketing Terms Defined

First let's cover some basic email marketing terms to make sure we are on the same page! 

  • Email Delivery Rate: the percentage of emails you sent that successfully made it to recipients’ inboxes as compared to the total number of emails sent

  • Email Open Rate: the percentage of unique opens as compared to the total number of emails delivered successfully

  • Email Click-Through-Rate (CTR): the percentage of subscribers who clicked on a link as compared to the total number of emails delivered

  • Email Click-to-Open-Rate (CTOR): the percentage of subscribers who clicked on a link as compared to the total number of emails opened

It is easy to see that CTR will be a lower percentage than CTOR, probably significantly lower. See below for an actual email campaign example.

How MailChimp and Constant Contact define Click Rate

The confusion between Constant Contact and MailChimp stems from what is called "click rate" in email campaign reports.

The percentage MailChimp displays as click rate is defined as: "a percentage that tells you how many successfully delivered campaigns registered at least one click," otherwise known as CTR.

The percentage Constant Contact displays as click rate is defined as: "the percentage of click-throughs for a particular email based on the number of contacts who actually opened the email," otherwise known as CTOR (remember CTOR will always be a higher number than CTR). And to confuse things even further, Constant Contact actually refers to their "click rate" as "click-through rate" in their support literature. 

An Email Campaign Example: MailChimp vs. Constant Contact

Another email marketing agency reached out to us about the click rate discrepancy between MailChimp and Constant Contact campaigns. They were alarmed because their client's "click rates" had fallen dramatically after switching to MailChimp, but it was actually just a case of different reporting methods and terminology. As you can see below, two similar email campaigns did report vastly different "click rates", but the actual CTR and CTOR are comparable. 

MailChimp Email Campaign

  • Successful Deliveries: 18617

  • Opened: 1776

  • Open Rate: 9.5%

  • Clicks: 104

  • MailChimp's reported "Click Rate": 0.6% (104 Clicks / 18617 Delivered)

To clarify:

  • CTR = 104 Clicks / 18617 Delivered = 0.6% (MailChimp reports this figure as "click rate")

  • CTOR = 104 Clicks / 1776 Opens = 5.9% (MailChimp reports this as "clicks per unique open")


Constant Contact Email Campaign

  • Successful Deliveries: 20745 (not reported directly, but equals sent minus bounces)

  • Opened: 1729

  • Open Rate: 8%

  • Clicks: 94

  • Constant Contact's reported "Click Rate": 5% (94 Clicks / 1729 Opens)

To clarify:

  • CTR = 94 Clicks / 20745 Delivered = 0.5% (Constant Contact does not report this figure)

  • CTOR = 94 Clicks / 1729 Opens = 5.4% (Constant Contact reports this figure as "click rate")

If you were to compare a "click rate" of .6% to 5% without understanding what the numbers mean, then it would seem that the CC campaign outperformed the MC campaign. But in reality, the two campaigns performed similarly, with the MailChimp stats being a tad better. 

Which email metric is better? CTOR or CTR?

Which email metric is better? Well, that's like trying to compare apples to oranges because they represent two totally different things. The CTR demonstrates an email’s overall performance (which is a culmination of many different factors), while the CTOR more closely examines the success of the content within the email. Both metrics along with delivery and open rates are useful tools for evaluating your email marketing campaigns.

Which email marketing service is better? MailChimp or Constant Contact? 

With more robust and straightforward reporting features, MailChimp is the clear winner in our book. MailChimp offers pre-built marketing automations, integrations with e-commerce platforms, and built-in advertising with Facebook, Instagram, and Google. If you want to use MailChimp for your business, we can help you get started

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