One of the features that comes with Email Marketing Pro, when used with your ProMail service, is open tracking. Open Tracking tells you who opened your email campaign and at what time of day.
In this article we’ll look at a few ways to interpret and use the data from your open-tracking reports.
How Does Open Tracking Work?
First, it’s important to understand how open tracking works, so that you can keep in mind the nature of the data. Our open-tracking system works like many others. We embed an invisible 1×1 pixel image in the email, which is actually a script on our email server. When the email attempts to access the image, a script runs that records the recipient’s email address, time of day, and a few other variables.
So when looking at the data, think of it as a sample set. Keep in mind that results will not show if the recipient chooses not to download pictures in their email client or if the recipient is viewing your email in plain text. One way to improve results is to include images in your email’s banner, which will entice the recipient to view images.
Open Rates By Email Recipient (The Life of an Email)
Try downloading an open-tracking report within 10-20 minutes after you send your campaign. Inevitably, there are those recipients who read your email within minutes of receiving it. What can you do with this information?
Then, download the same report maybe a week later. You’ll see that some recipients open your email perhaps a couple of days after you send your campaign.
Then, download the report a month later. You’ll see recipients who check their email once in a blue moon, and then there are those who never opened your campaign.
So, this is interesting and valuable data. Maybe you’re the type of marketer who doesn’t want to “bother” recipients by sending too frequently, so you decide to send out a newsletter only once a month.
Well, the data shows that there are those people on your list who don’t see your email amongst all the others because they’re only checking it once a week. By the time they get to their email, you’re lost in the crowd and a good candidate for bulk deletion.
If we have the knowledge of those recipients who aren’t viewing our campaign immediately, then we can take a different approach with them. Why not send your newsletter every month, and then follow-up articles or offers to those recipeints once a week; that way, you’ll know you stand a good chance of being somewhere near the top of the list when they get around to checking their email.
Perhaps, recipients who usually answer your email immediately would respond better to a limited-time offer…
These metrics will give you a feel, over time, for the lifespan of your email by recipient group.
Open Rates By Campaign (Brings out the scientist in you)
Seeing how many recipients open your campaign can tell you a lot about your campaign strategy, when compared to previous campaigns. These topics have received a alot of attention in the email marketing world: What’s the best way to form a subject line? What’s the best time of day to send an email? What’s the best day to send an email?
Well, you can find what works best for your audience by using open-tracking with your ProMail account.
The open-tracking data can give you a feel for what time of day recipients are viewing your email. If you notice that most open email around 12:00 PM, it may be preferable to schedule your campaign for that time of day.
Or, perhaps you notice that campaigns have better open rates when you include your brand name in the subject line, or have a short subject line. Maybe you’ve read that two-word subject lines always get better open rates and want to give it a try.
You can guage your new strategy with open rates. Experiment!
Open Rates By Device Type (Maybe Atlantic Software Doesn’t Look Like Much, But We Are The Future)
At the present, we are also able to tell what type of device a recipient is using to view your email and are working hard on using this data to compile a list of device types by time of day. In our opinion, this is the future of email marketing that will separate the sharks from the little fish.
Why will this be important information? Statistics show that more and more people use their mobile devices for email. It may be a good idea to keep frequent mobile email checkers in a separate group because they would be a good candidate for a text-only campaign and a link to a mobile-friendly web page.
Also, the statistics we’ve found show that 20% of your audience will view your campaign on a mobile device if your send it on the weekend. 20% is a rather large number of people who will respond to mobile-specific strategies. Perhaps during peak mobile times, you can engage your mobile users in liking you on Facebook, or some other simple task that’s easy to do on a mobile. Or, maybe it’s time to have a more mobile-friendly eCommerce interface for an impulse buy or two.
Open Rates By Domain
We’re also working on a report that will tell you the number of emails you have sent by domain, and the number who opened them on that domain. These are similar to reports generated by expensive consultants who’s job it is to help you stay out of the spam folder.
What the data would tell you be, for example: I sent 500 emails to Yahoo users and 75 of them opened it. Good result. Then, I sent 800 emails to GMail and 0 users opened them. Red flag. (But not time to compain to your email service provider, because it’s beyond our control.)
If, over time, you find that none of your GMail recipients open your emails, then perhaps you have an issue. Is it possible that the GMail spam filter is blocking your web address? Is it possible that the GMail postmaster thinks that you are not following his guidelines correctly?
It may be time to read the postmaster’s guideline more carefully, in regards to bulk email sending. And, also time to use your own GMail account to test what kinds of emails go into the Spam folder and what kinds do not.
As an example, we were not able to send an email to Godaddy’s inboxes when our “From” name was “Email Marketing Tips.” After much trial and error we realized that Godaddy wanted our “From” name to be two words without the word marketing in it.
Over time, you’ll begin to understand how to use open-tracking to develop better campaigns and better strategies. You can use this information to develop better subject lines, send at better times of days. You can segment your recipients to determine the best frequency to send to them. And, you can count on the fact that we’re studying what devices and what domains your recipients are on, so that we can better understand the future of email marketing.