Historically, email open rates have been one of the primary metrics companies use to measure lead engagement and attention. But recent changes in how privacy controls work, combined with ongoing issues of deliverability and SPAM filtering, have made email open rates increasingly inaccurate.

This may leave you, or your sales and marketing teams, scrambling to figure out how to measure email performance, and feeling increasingly frustrated about the lack of visibility into the behavior of email recipients.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why email open rates are now an inaccurate and insufficient engagement metric, and explore some other ways you can track success while continuing to build your relationship with leads through email.

Why Email Open Rates Are No Longer Accurate

Email automation software measures open rates by embedding a tiny, transparent tracking pixel within each email message. When mailbox providers like Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo load the images in an opened email, the pixel also gets loaded, and that action triggers the email automation software to mark that email as “opened” by that lead.

This system used to work fairly well, making open rates a decent benchmark for email engagement. Now new technologies and restrictions are reducing the effectiveness of that pixel trigger and returning highly inaccurate email open rate numbers.

In June 2021, Apple announced that the company would include Mail Privacy Protection in the iOS 15 release. Apple released a statement saying:

“Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. [It prevents] senders from knowing when they open an email, and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.”

With this release, which went into effect in September 2021, companies could no longer fully trust the open rates they were seeing from their email automation service providers, because large portions of their users who use Apple iOS devices would no longer be accurately represented in that data.

Anti-spam filters, firewalls, automatic image loading, out-of-office autoresponders, and other factors can also significantly decrease the accuracy of open rates.

Because of these issues, your sales and marketing teams can no longer link “opens” to actual human interaction with emails.

In addition to not recording all email opens, sometimes email automation software and CRMs record opens that didn’t happen. In some campaigns, analytics might indicate that specific leads have opened an email hundreds of times (which, let’s face it, is highly unlikely, no matter how awesome your content is!).

Overall, email opens don’t correlate with engagement. The metrics themselves can’t be trusted, and an opened email doesn’t indicate the customer engaged with the content. Your sales and marketing teams are better off tracking other metrics (like clicks) to indicate the effectiveness of email campaigns — or using other tools entirely for sharing content.

A Better Way to Measure Content Engagement

One of the problems of using only email open rates to measure engagement is that you can potentially miss a lot of nuance. Some leads who open your emails aren’t interested in your message at all — other prospects who are interested in your product or service are headed straight to your website, circumventing the links in your email entirely.

Email is still a powerful tool in your arsenal, but there are better ways to track engagement to make more sales than looking at email opens. Other metrics — like clicks, conversions, spam complaints, and unsubscribes — can more accurately reveal whether your email campaign is successful or not.

With Showcase Workshop, you have more options for sharing content and measuring performance. Instead of relying solely on email open rates, you can track activity and engagement far more effectively.

  • You can share sales presentations and other content using email (either directly through Showcase, or you can create a unique link to share through your work email).
  • You can also share a customized VIP Pass link to your content with a personalized message via Slack, text, email, social media, or other channels.
    The Showcase Sharing History feature gives you a summary of how your leads and sales reps are actually engaging with your presentations and shared content, showing you a far more accurate view of actual engagement than email open rates.

The Modern Way to Monitor Email Performance

Given the latest privacy control changes, email open rates should no longer be your primary indicator of the effectiveness of your email campaigns. But that doesn’t mean you should stop sharing content through email!

Showcase Workshop offers you more options for sharing content, and our powerful analytics deliver engagement data you can trust — no matter what shifts continue to happen in the tech industry.

Find out more about how Showcase Workshop can free you from inaccurate email open rates, and see whether people are really connecting with your content.