3 min read

What are we measuring.

In the end, what does this tell us? Clearly that the web is broken. At least the aging of links and references is broken. And isn't that what the web is based on?

This passage intrigued me...

Pop Quiz: Interactive content increases the click-to-open rate by...

1. 52%
2. 73%
3. 79%

Scroll to the bottom for the answer.

I was intrigued by the use of click-to-open rate as a measurement tool.

This is a fool's measurement being used in more circles today to prove that marketing folks are indeed geniuses. Open rates are no longer a valid, reliable measurement to graph engagement.

Instead, let's show how great our click-to-open rates are!

Bosses have asked us to shift the conversation from engagement to conversion for years. And now that we've been forced into it, let's make sure our measurements and resulting numbers are extraordinary!

Anyway, here's a Google Trends report of the search usage between click to open rates and open rates.


Google Trends
Google Trends

Nice job everyone. Really.

Yet, apparently I wasn't done. (I'm dieting. I'm cranky.)

It further intrigued me when I went down the rabbit hole to find the original source of that quiz.

I initially found the stats in a June 9, 2022 email newsletter from Litmus.

(Strangely, or not, I can't link to their email newsletter as their view online link is a .php-generated file. Nice. Image as reference below.)


Litmus email newsletter: Quiz
Litmus email newsletter: Quiz

Within that Litmus email newsletter, there's a link at the bottom to the results of the Pop Quiz:


Litmus email newsletter: Quiz
Litmus email newsletter: Quiz

That links to a May 31, 2022 article titled:

7 Interactive Emails for Inspiration (link)

Within that May 31, 2022 article is the following passage:

According to Martech Advisor, “interactive email content increases the rate of click-to-open by 73%.”

That passage is linked to an article that was updated on December 16, 2021 (with no reference to what was updated) titled:

Personalization and Optimization Will Be the Focus for Email Marketers in 2017 (link)

And here's the piece that's being referenced:

Reports state that adding videos to your email content can boost click rates up to 300%, while interactive email content increases the rate of click-to-open by 73%.

Let's take a quick break for a recap (we're not done yet)...

  • I read an email on June 12, 2022
  • The email references a stat that's pulled from a May 31, 2022 article
  • The May 31, 2022 article sources the stat from an article focused on the future (of 2017)
  • The 2017-referenced article was updated in 2021 with no note to what was referenced

Ok, back to it...

That 2017-referenced article is from a site called Toolbox, with a toolbox.com domain, which is apparently a trademark of Ziff Davis, LLC with a copyright of 1995-2000.

(For giggles, I threw that URL into the Wayback Machine. Nothing.)


The Wayback Machine
The Wayback Machine

I found another reference to that stat from a May 14, 2020 article titled:

Engage customers during COVID-19 and beyond with interactive email (link)

Here's that reference:

Martech Advisor reports that “interactive email content increases the click-to-open rate by 73% and adding videos to email can boost click rates up to 300%.”

So, where is the original source of that stat?

I'm assuming it's from that Toolbox site, even though every link references Martech Advisor.

Let's go one more step for fun...

  • I whois martechadvisor.com and...
  • Drumroll...
  • martechadvisor.com is owned by Ziff Davis...
  • And martechadvisor.com is forwarded to toolbox.com

Whois.sc
Whois.sc

Host.io: Redirect
Host.io: Redirect

In the end, what does this tell us? Clearly that the web is broken. At least the aging of links and references is broken. And isn't that what the web is based on?

(Also, how does a 2022 article reference a 2016 article that talks about the future?)

Maybe web3 will fix this.


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