Accuracy of open-rate tracking

by 7 comments
Hi Guys and Gals

I thought it would be worthwhile to conduct a quick poll to try to get a feel for the accuracy of our open rates.

As you may know, open-rate tracking works by inserting an HTML image tag into an HTML email. It calls a remote script that does the counting.

But the big problem is this. If a subscriber's email software is set not to display images or their computer is offline then that 'open' won't be counted.

So... your email software set to automatically display images or not?


#internet marketing #accuracy #openrate #tracking
  • Profile picture of the author Harvey Segal

    I use Pegasus where the normal mode (I believe) is to read
    messages as text, you need to click on a separate message
    option to read the html version if present.

    However isn't there the additional inaccuracy problem in
    that you need to be online for the tracking to register ?

    • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
      I use Outlook with images, but I filter everything through MailWasher and quite often just read emails in there before deleting. I suspect I won't be the only one who's messing up the stats! (With particular apologies to Paul Myers b/c I'm so keen to read TalkBiz News that it rarely makes it out of MailWasher)

  • Profile picture of the author Colin Evans
    The niche you're in could have a bearing on the results...

    Everybody I know who is not in the internet marketing niche has their email clients set to not display images... My Dad sells computers and the email client default installation settings are not to display images, and he leaves them at that (it cuts down on his support calls for fixing infected machines).

    Those people who are savy enough to turn the image display on are (mostly) savy enough to protect their machines.
    • Profile picture of the author Neil Morgan
      However isn't there the additional inaccuracy problem in
      that you need to be online for the tracking to register?
      Yes Harvey, you do. And that's just another reason why absolute open-rate numbers are meaningless.

      You can still get useful information when comparing the open-rate of one message versus another.

      And Colin, yes, I agree that's true about the niche making a difference. I realised when I posted the poll that it's a just a poll of those who take the poll (if you see what I mean).


  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    Neil, I've been pondering this myself for a long time. I've always wondered how many email recipients have their images turned off, skewing the open-rate count. Admittedly, I'm one of those.

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