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Trends Does anyone even click those website-style nav bars in your email template?

photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

We’ve looked at various aspects of email templates before, but a very common question surrounds a very common element: navigation bars. Those rows of links in your template (usually in the header above or below the logo) that point to key parts of your website. But does anyone even click them or are they focused on the thing you emailed about in the first place? Here’s what we found.

The Goods
We found a dozen brands that used a full-width nav bar in their email template and gathered five recent campaigns from each. In total, these campaigns were sent to a total of 5,000,000 recipients. We then found the average click rate (based on opens) for each of the first three links in each nav bar.


For this sample, as you’d expect, the links in the first position saw the highest click rate at 0.9%, position two just over 0.5%, and position three saw a click rate of 0.3%.

What This Means
The initial response may be that 0.9% isn’t much, but keep in mind when we did the same analysis for social media icons in email templates the average click rate for the best performing icon (Facebook) was just 0.06%. For others like Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube it was 0.03%.

In other words, these website-style navigation bars work. They seem to provide a sort of backup action if the main topics isn’t quite relevant enough to act on or doesn’t take them where they want to go next. A well designed, concise, semi-prominent nav bar seems to be a nice addition to some email templates.

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