The technology behind the email open rate statistic has always been pretty straightforward: an image, usually a single pixel, is placed inside the email. With this, the number of times that image is accessed by each unique user is counted.
However, this simplicity will soon change due to the need for the industry to comply with the increasing privacy demands of users.
Gmail has been generating fake opens in emails for some time now
Several years ago, Gmail started downloading email’s images not directly from senders servers, but through a proxy operated by Google. The whole concept of “open email” in email campaigns that relates to downloading a single one-pixel image is starting to get a bit misleading.
Fortunately, by analyzing all the IP addresses that downloaded our open tracking pixel we can find out which ones from Google Image Proxy are false openings.
Unfortunately, Google’s curious bot will not be the only source of fake openings.
Apple is going to kill the open rate statistic
Last June (2021) Apple made several announcements about privacy in its new operating systems.
One aspect of this announcement in particular has rocked the email industry: In the iOS 15 update, by the end of this year, Apple Mail will prevent senders from knowing if the recipient opened the email and will hide their IP address.
What metrics can we use instead of the open rate?
CTR is another metric that can help you determine the performance of your emails. The CTR measures how many people clicked on the links in your email. For example, if you included a link for an article or an offer, the CTR would measure what percentage of readers did click on your links.
Click-through rates are usually much lower than open rates. The average click-through rate for most campaigns is slightly above 4%.
Ultimately, what will happen when the open rate completely disappears is that the industry benchmark will totally shift from open rate to CTR, as well as the effort put in the content to increase those clicks.