The 1x1 pixel image was introduced in Email newsletter Campaign Services during a time when Email clients like MS Outlook downloaded images by default. But since MS Outlook 2007, images are disabled by default. The open rate that you see in your Email Campaign Analytic Dashboard might not be entirely accurate.
How Does Email Marketing Service track Open Rate?
The Open Rate in HTML Email is tracked by embedding a 1x1 pixel image, mostly GIF file at the bottom of the message. The images, linked to a tracker code will record an open when the image is downloaded by your email client.
What are the problems of tracking Open Rate using Pixel Download?
1) MS Outlook: According to June 2011 Email Stats Report from Constant Contact, Outlook has 27% market share. Outlook by default doesn't download the 1 x 1 pixel tracking image. So it is important that you track the Email clients used by your readers.
1) In Mail Chimp, visit List Dashboard
2) Scroll Down and you will see Top Email Clients
2) Apple IPad and other iOS Clients: Email clients in Apple iPad and iOS will download the tracking image by default so if the percentage of iOS users opening your email is high for your newsletter, then it might be because of that.
3) Text Only
If you have given the reader an option to subscribe to Text Only version of the Newsletter, then measuring the open rate accurately would again be a problem.
4) Tablet Devices
Tablets by default will download the tracking image. If majority of your core demographic use Tablet devices to read your newsletter then the open rate shown in Email analytics would be closer to the actual open rate.
What is the workaround?
The workaround that Email Marketing Services like Mailchimp are suggesting is
“It’s true that only HTML email can have embedded tracking images. But you can track "opens" from a plain-text email too. MailChimp lets you enable click-tracking in your plain-text emails. Whenever someone clicks a link in their plain-text email (or if they leave images turned off while viewing your HTML email) we can track that as an "open."
The Click Through Rate in your email is actually the only reliable metric to measure the effectiveness of your message. A better strategy, which is less dependent on the Email Marketing service, is to divide your newsletter to useful links (above the fold) and Main Email Topic (below the fold). If targeted to all segments, the useful links above the fold cannot be ignored. Your readers will click the link and you can measure the effective open rate.
If you want expert help for your Email Campaigns, contact us or you can call us at: India (Ph): +91 9497189032, UK (Ph): +44 (0)20-3371-9976 or US (Ph): +1 650-491-0004
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