Inflated email open rates should make marketers seek new metrics

For the past several years, email marketers have been running into a problem that has no solution: Spam filters and firewalls are opening emails and test-clicking links before the emails reach their intended targets.

Spam filters are just doing their job, stopping inbound viruses, trojan horses, and spam before it gets a chance to start.

But for email marketers, the results have been game changing: Chronically overinflated open rates and CTR – the two most cherished metrics for email performance.

Email Marketing Image

3 things you can do to understand if email is actually working

1. Look at when email links were clicked. If multiple links were clicked in the span of a few seconds, it was probably a spam filter. You can ignore these clicks and get a clearer view of your data. Plus, you can segregate these email recipients and put them on a separate list.

2. Reevaluate your email scoring. Since there’s no immediate solution to this problem, you can put more weight on other criteria, such as website conversion and form completion (more on this to come).

3. Use fake links. These are also referred to as “bait links,” which spam filters will locate when scanning your email. If a bait link is clicked, you can probably ignore any other actions taken in that email.

Are open rates overrated?

We think so.

Marketers desperately want to believe that open rates reflect human action, but the truth is that open rates have always been compromised – by auto response tools, anti-tracking tools, and spam filters.

Regardless of whether you agree that open rates are a suboptimal metric, it’s time to shift focus to other areas of email performance. Examples: Unsubscribe rates. Conversion rates. Spam complaints. Downloads.

In 2021, Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection signaled a decisive shift toward email opacity and subsequent trends all confirm the same conclusion: It’s time for open rates to move over and make room for other metrics.

When you’re ready to start using information and creativity to solve marketing problems, contact us!