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What makes people click on your email links?

email click rate

You want clicks? You want the truth? You can’t han…, yes you can. It’s Thanksgiving, so let’s settle down.

The people (you) want to know how to get better click rates in your email campaigns. And since I’m waiting on my Turducken to reach 414 degrees, I’m here for you.

What’s in store in this edition of Inbox Hacking? The most readable, scannable, actionable list of click mentality, click facts, and ways to get better email click rates. 

I know you’re not at your best – sleepy, snacking, and slacking. Good for you. Me and the pups rose at 4:40 a.m. to patrol the town and now I’m putting in work for you. Let’s jump into it…

Psychology of Clicks

It’s not easy to find fresh data on email click rates. But I dug deep and gathered that, plus general findings on clicks. We’re starting with the psychology of it all. From Psychology Today:

  • 😆😒Without an emotional response, even a meme can’t get clicked & shared
  • ⭐People share things already popular 

So when you write an unemotional email, take a deep breath and reach for the delete key. 

Then start over. No Ric Flair rant, just add some 😆😒😭.

Also, reviews and testimonials move people to buy. So put a testimonial ⭐ next to your sales page link.

*Good post when you need tips for conversions.


Google Wisdom

Use Google wisdom to boost your click rates. Though I don’t think Google was that smart of an idea, but whatever. 

Look at this stat → 33% of clickers clicked on Google ads that directly answered their question.

People want answers fast. 

So if a link in your email campaign offers a quick solution to a reader’s problem – a specific problem – they’re more likely to click that link.

Example: My problem → No giblet gravy → “Click here for gravy recipe using 3 pantry items.” → They get my click.

More Click Facts from Forbes

Human behavior plays out through our devices:

  • On average, 45% of desktop users take under 10 seconds to make a decision after their main search. 
  • That number drops to 33% on mobile. 
  • Desktop users are more likely to visit a secondary page in their search than smartphone users.
  • Smartphone users are more likely to follow up their initial search with a video search related to that topic.

“Almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, don’t go to Google Maps or Search,” “They go to TikTok or Instagram.”

Improving your email click rate can start by recognizing differences in your mobile subscribers vs. those reading on desktop.

A mobile reader could be more likely to click a video link than a desktop dinosaur like me.

Email Click-Through Rate with Basics & Visuals

Are you sending one type of email? Have you tested emails with better visuals? Or worse visuals that are more authentic.

In the age of TikTok, don’t underestimate being real. Stick a stock video on TikTok and watch the views explode to like 12.😓  

Test what type of images, GIFs, and graphics resonate with your audience. What have they clicked on in past emails?

And if you’ve never tested a barebones email, time to test. 

No need to change your entire writing style. Just mix things up.

Got a fresh new offer? Send a 30-word email promoting that one link.

Or promote the link with one photo and a button link with a tidbit of text.

Where’s the Buzz

Do I despise Buzzfeed? Yes, and hope they owned a ton of FTX.

Anyway, Buzzfeed isn’t good for nothing like you judgmental folks think.

They are click artists! 

No matter how bitter you and I are about their business model, their headlines get clicks.

Because they give their readers what they want. The reader always thinks…

What’s in it for me? BF gives it and explains precisely what it is in the link.

So please study Buzzfeed headlines to learn why. Not a cursory browse either. 

I mean get out a pen and paper. And hand write some of the headlines that stand out to you. 

This gives you the feel for the meaning and psychology behind the words that boost their click rates.

It’s psychology, so it will help you with your email click rates. (Unless you’re writing to non-humans👽)

I know – data, data, data. I’m with you – more stats coming up.

But if you think humans are rational – why did you click on that Buzzfeed post titled: 32 pics of the ugly Christmas sweater that got Machine Gun Kelly arrested in Boise, Idaho?

Click Rate and Data on Emotional Causation

You can learn a lot from phishing scam clicks. Trust me, just trust me. Really, click here because I’m selling discounted FTX.

💥 That’s how they get ya. 

Seriously, check these survey results:

  1. Two-fifths (43%) of people admitted to making a mistake at work that had security repercussions.
  2. 47% of people working in the tech industry said they’ve clicked on a phishing email at work.
  3. 52% said stress causes them to make more phishing mistakes.   
  4. 57% said they feel more distracted when working from home.

Now, think about how you can improve your email click-through rate by considering those dangerous clicks above.

  • Are your readers at work when you send?
  • Does the subscriber’s industry impact when and where they read your campaigns?
  • Do you want people reading your emails when they are stressed or more likely to be relaxed?
  • Distracted readers may click your links but are they gonna make a purchase in busy moments like that? 

Local Services and Shopping

Moving on – look at the facts about why shoppers click on links. This study was on ads – but the point is the reasons for the click. Not the medium.

See the photo below as you float into turkey intoxication. But focus on these 3 keys:

26% – Ad promoted a product they had recently browsed

23% – They liked the retailer

17% – Ad reminded them to reorder a product

email click rates

Also in another report, reviews were again a key driver of clicks and better click rates than the competition.

51% of clicks went to the search result with higher review ratings. 

So put important links in your emails next to your reviews when possible.

Great reviews, if that wasn’t clear.🤐

email click rates

Easy Scans can Boost Click Rates

Besides being the greatest thing you ever read scanned, what else do you notice about today’s newsletter?

No clutter. Lots of spacing. Extra spacing, since it’s National Food Coma Day.

Drip reports that 79% of people scan instead of read word for word (19%).

School’s over. Forget about paragraphs and formatting they teach in Harvard and sketchy places like that. 

Reading is hard for a TikTok population.

Make it as painless as possible. 

Short sentences. Boundless bullets. Beware chunks of text. Flow will help too.

Like this section – would it fit better elsewhere? No backseat writers, thank you.🙂 

Compare Your Email Click-Through Rates?

The folks at OptinMonster posted some comparison click rates:

  • Delivra gives an average email click-through rate of 3.57% across all sectors
  • Within that, legal emails have the lowest CTR at 1.04%
  • Sports emails have a whopping 7.49% CTR

Litmus reported 42% of people check out the sender name when deciding whether to open an email. No open, no click (boost your deliverability with these 5 best practices).

Make sure your subscribers know and recognize your emails. Suggestions:

  1. The “from address” should be, not
  2. Use a consistent emoji in subject lines
  3. Preview text should be written, not automated – write it so the reader recognizes you / your brand
  4. BIMI is another branding option 

Turkey Wrap

No doubt you fell asleep after your feast. 

But if you scanned this far, here is a tool that gauges your headlines for emotional impact.

You have to use all the tools and tips I laid out to improve your email click rates. 

There’s no one magic pill.

I encourage you to learn bits and pieces of psychology beyond what I broke down.

Also, make clicking an easy decision for your subscribers.

Meet and speak to them where they are – and drop a link there.

In the form of a button (test), which boosted my clicks by over 40 percent recently.

The Knowledge Base 

(Yes, that was a peacock emoji in today’s subj. line🙂)

Can AMP email take the place of some landing pages?

Canva’s AI image / art generator can freshen up your email visuals.

Get more eyes on your products at the starting point for 66% of online shopping searches.

Getting good press takes time (and may require a side-mission).

Self  Help 

#1 Thanksgiving recipe?

Ingredients: You. Leftovers. Tupperware plate. Car. 

Mix then drop off to a neighbor.

*Shout-out to Inbox Hacking Subscriber → Incomar Creative Services

Facts & Stats  

In 70% of cases, mobile emails that don’t display correctly, are likely to be deleted in 3 seconds

52% of B2C brands’ emails & websites aren’t both mobile-friendly

The ideal size for buttons for easy clicking on mobile devices: 42px and 72px 

*Pre Inbox Mailers Quote Circa 1975…“The perfect time to hang Christmas lights is Thanksgiving afternoon since a tall / expendable cousin is there to climb that ladder for you.” ~ John “Safeway” McCray

Marketing Musings

Why’s anecdotal evidence always downplayed?

Studies are just anecdotal evidence… in big organized piles.

Today’s Hack

Data helps you figure out what is generating email clicks. Awesome! Unless you’re data-illiterate. In that case, you need a way to clear things up.

Visualization tools are available. Use them and your email click-through rate can rise. That’s today’s hack, or tomorrow during Black Friday. Check out the tools below to help you understand your email analytics faster and easier so you can use the intel for upcoming campaigns.


🔨Tableau Public

*Alternate hack. Review your 5 lowest clicked emails. Can you find a common denominator?

📝Please click on the quick survey below. No pencil required.