Track email open rates

In order to track whether an email has been opened, a transparent 1x1 pixel image is embedded inside each message. This is the standard method for tracking open rate that all email services use. An "open" is recorded each time  that image is displayed to a recipient, so the open-email tracking relies on images working in the email client.

Note: Images can't be included in a plain-text email, so open tracking doesn't work when you use the Plain Text eNotify option. Similarly, the tracking tags added to hyperlinks for click-through tracking can't be added to URLs you put in a plain-text email.

An "open" registering in the reporting does not prove that the recipient actually read your email. For example, the tracking image may display in the recipient's reading pane just before the recipient deletes it.

Even when the recipient reads the email, an "open" will NOT be logged if:

  • The recipient's email reader cannot receive or display images (text-only email client).

  • The recipient's email reader is set to display "text only" (some people do this to improve email downloading performance).

  • The recipient has configured the email reader to suppress images and does not elect to display them (many email readers, such as Yahoo! and Outlook, do this by default).

  • The recipient reads the email only in a viewing pane that does not display images.

  • The recipient downloads the email and reads while offline (as images are referenced in the HTML message and displayed dynamically, reading the email offline does not allow the tracking image to be called upon to display).

  • The recipient clicks a "View online" link (if present) from a preview pane and reads the web page version in a web browser.

  • The recipient is using privacy software that blocks tracking images from displaying.

  • Some miscellaneous connection blip or server hiccup causes the tracking image to be unavailable at the moment it is called upon to display (this would be rare, but possible).

Generally, you will find the reported open rate to be lower than the actual open rate. Including links in a message will increase the accuracy of your estimates of how many people read your eNotice, because even though a user may block images, a click on a link within the eNotice will register as an "open."

Also worth noting is that open-rate reporting happens in real time, so the open rate will likely increase over several days following the mailing.

Unfortunately, due to the way opens are tracked and the ways many people view their emails, the opens report will never be 100% accurate. It's better used as a relative measure you might use to compare two mailings to the same list, rather than as an absolute measure.

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