Open tracking is the basic measure of recipient engagement. You know that, but do you know what that means? Let's cover a few basics.
How it works
Often the question is asked: "How does open tracking work?"
The only way to track opens is to place an invisible 1x1 pixel image at the bottom of a campaign. This image is then loaded when the recipient opens the email and allows the images to be displayed. When loading the image, it pings JangoMail's server and we record that in real-time as an "Open" in the Reports for your account.
JangoMail distinguishes in Reports between the first "Unique" open and additional opens that count towards your "Total" opens. Only Unique opens are recorded on the Report Dashboard as Opens. Click on the number of Opens to view Total opens for that campaign or transactional group.
Why so many?
There are a few cases where you'd see multiple opens from the same recipient.
- Preview pane causes additional opens
Depending on whether or not the recipient's email client has a preview pane (like Outlook), their opens can be counted multiple times. For example, if a recipient is using an email client with this type of preview pane, and clicks on an email once, it will appear in their preview pane, which counts as one open. If they double-click on the email to open it in its own window, that can count as an additional open. Every time the recipient is browsing through their email and clicks on that email, it will count as an open because the invisible image is loaded multiple times.
- Viewing on desktop and mobile device
In some cases, recipients will load the email on their desktop AND on their mobile device. Each time a recipient views the email on a new device, it counts as an open.
- Forwarding (most likely for very large numbers of opens)
If a recipient uses their email client to forward an email to other email addresses, the tracking links in your campaign will remain the same (as we have no way to change it). Every time a recipient of the forwarded email opens the email, it will be counted for the original recipient that received it. For example, if you send Bob an email and Bob opens it once then forwards it to 5 friends, and they all open it, it will show up as 6 opens for Bob's email address.
- Email scanning/security filters
Some email scanning programs or security filters can trigger an open. Basically, if anything attempts to load the tracking image in your email, it will be counted as an open, so it is possible for something like this to trigger an additional open (or many!).
Why so few?
Since opens are only counted if a recipient enables images, then it stands to reason that some recipients may be perusing your campaigns anonymously. If the recipient simply reads the message, without allowing the images to be displayed, the message is not tracked as opened and is never reported back to JangoMail.
You will sometimes see that some of your messages are really delivered and read, but never "opened." When measuring your engagement, always take into account all reported clicks since a recipient can easily read and click without ever viewing images.
A few suggestions
If your emails don't have any images, there's no real incentive for a recipient to enable images. Moreover, when there are no images they can see as part of your message but they still get an alert that the email has images to display, you'll raise a red flag of suspicion. Avoid this! Give them a reason to enable images by including your logo, social media buttons, or images relevant to your content.