The Open Rate is the total count of individual recipients with at least one confirmed open for the email sent. A confirmed open occurs when an individual recipient displays the content (downloads pictures) of your email message, as measured using standard web page image tracking. The Open Rate is ratio of the count of unique (individual) recipients who have opened your message (at least once) to the total email delivered.

An open confirms the fact that the recipient definitely received and displayed your email message content (text, pictures and links). Email pictures are only displayed (instead of gray boxes with the red-X) when the recipient clicks download pictures or display content at the top of the message, or when they have your address or domain in their address book or safe-senders list.

An open doesn’t tell you if your recipient actually read your email or not. What it does tell you is your recipient displayed the pictures within the email. Because the majority of email programs (including Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail) block images by default and show a gray box with a red-X instead of the image, you will unfortunately not receive an open notification for the majority of messages you send. The email industry average open rate is between 15-20%, although most PoliteMail users see open rates in the 25-45% range, primarily because they are sending authentic, individual messages from Outlook.

Recipients using Outlook may see pictures when cut and pasted into the message or placed using Outlook’s Insert Picture command–as both methods embed the pictures within the email (other email programs will not display those embedded pictures, but instead will treat them as attachments). When embedded images are displayed by Outlook an image reference is not generated, and PoliteMail will not track an open unless they display all content, including referenced/downloadable pictures.

Opens are not an accurate measure of who read your email, as people may read the email without displaying the images (ensuring their privacy).  Opens do indicate those people who definitely saw your email content, and multiple opens may indicate a higher level of engagement with your message(s). In corporate environments using Microsoft Exchange Server, settings and group policies can be set to automatically download content for all internal company email—providing corporate communication senders significantly more accurate open tracking.

New Opens is the count of recipients whose first-ever open occurred for an email sent to this list.  Multiple Opens is the count of recipients on this list who have opened the same email at least twice.