FAQ Friday: What counts as an ‘open’?

We have all heard about open rates and how important they are to determining email marketing’s success. However, how many of us really know what counts as an open? Today we fill you in on what we mean when we say your email was opened.

The following scenarios show as an Open in your reports:

  1. If someone opens an email and views the images within a Swiftpage Connect email. In many email programs, the recipient will have to choose to view the images or have added you to their safe sender list.
    – Swiftpage places a 1×1 pixel image in the template to allow for tracking.
    – With some email systems, if you log out and then log back in (i.e. start a new email session) and open the message again, subsequent opens will be counted.

  2. If there are no viewable images and a recipient clicks on a link.
  3. Viewing a Swiftpage Connect email from within the viewing pane of Microsoft Outlook. (Again, viewing images must be enabled and another open may be counted if the person double-clicks to open the message in Outlook.)
  4. If a recipient receives a Swiftpage Email and then forwards it to other people the original recipient is scored for any opens or clicks of the forwarded email.
    – All of these opens are assigned to the original recipient.
    – These opens can be tracked whether the recipient uses the Swiftpage “Forward to a Friend” link or the “Forward” button in their email system, as long as the person who receives the forward views the images in the email.

The following scenarios don’t count as opens in your reporting:

  1. Viewing a plain text email.
  2. Viewing a Swiftpage Connect email with images disabled and no links clicked.
  3. Viewing a Swiftpage Connect email from a PDA (such as a Blackberry or other smart phone) or phone that does not allow images and/or html.

So you wonder, what percentage of your subscribers are reading your emails without images turned on? There’s no way of knowing simply by looking at the metrics. In order to make this determination accurately, you’d need to survey your subscribers and ask them.

The good news: there isn’t any email service provider that functions differently. No one has figured out how to track opens more accurately than with an image load, so if you’re switching from one email service provider to another, how they track opens should be the same as your previous vendor.

Happy Emailing!

About Audrey Howes

Audrey has been an active member of the Swiftpage team since September 2009. Audrey manages Social Media and special projects with her marketing know-how and design expertise. When she’s not working you are likely to find her enjoying time with her family in the mountains near Steamboat, going for a run, reading a good book, being goofy with her kids, or savoring a latte in a local coffee shop.

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