How does Email Analytics actually work?

We know our Email Analytics data sounds too good to be true. No-one’s collected this kind of data before, so it’s understandable that you’d be intrigued about how we’re doing it.

How it works

Naturally we can’t explain in complete detail—exactly how it works is our secret sauce. However, I can tell you that it’s building on the principle of image bug tracking. That’s the same technique that your email service provider uses to report your open rate. When a customer opens your email, the image bug is loaded. This counts as an open. What we’ve done is take that concept five steps further.

Using a couple of different image bugs, along with our deep knowledge of how email clients work (and some very clever server-side manipulation of data), we’re able to track a much wider range of actions that just the open. We can tell if someone read the message, deleted it, forwarded it, printed it, what email client they used, whether they were on a mobile device, and so on.

Could your tracking code negatively impact my campaign?

In short: no. We do not use any techniques that would make your email look suspicious. Our tracking code will not impact your delivery rates in any way, or affect the appearance of your email campaign. We do not use Javascript, or any other client side code that could be blocked or removed. We do not require the installation of any software on the recipient’s computer. It’s all based upon the innocuous loading of images, combined with our secret sauce.

We’ve tested our Email Analytics tracking across tens of thousands of recipients, and across every major email client. There is no way it will negatively affect your campaign.

Are there any limitations to this form of tracking?

Since we rely upon an image loading, we aren’t able to track recipients who do not enable images for your email. Email Analytics is a way to break down your open rate—to give you further insight into your recipients who did open your message.

Engagement tracking, or how long your email was open, is limited when recipients are behind a proxy server. We are able to collect recipients’ opens, but their engagement and behavior data will be limited by settings on the proxy server. This affects Gmail subscribers in particular.

Furthermore, there are a very small selection of email clients for which we can’t collect this advanced engagement and behavior data. However, since we can detect which email client a recipient is using, we’re able to accurately exclude these people from our reports. This way the data remains perfectly accurate, too.

Start tracking your campaigns

Now that you know how Email Analytics works, try it out for yourself! Start tracking your campaigns with Litmus Analytics.

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