What is Email Tracking?

Email tracking is a powerful tool that involves monitoring metrics on sent emails and using the insights to inform business decisions. With email tracking tools, businesses can gather information such as who opened your emails, when they opened them, where they were opened from, and other details.

This information helps you gain a deeper understanding of your customers and their habits so you can improve engagement, retention, and customer satisfaction.

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How does email tracking work?

Email tracking is a feature that allows senders to track the delivery of their emails, as well as the recipients’ engagement with them. You can track many different actions taken on an email, including bounce rates, opens, link clicks, and more. Tracking open rates involves using a special tracking code embedded within the body of an email that can be used to monitor when and how often an email was opened and other information about interactions with the email. 

This data is then presented to the sender in easy-to-read reports, giving them insight into whether or not their messages are being received and read by their intended audience.

Here’s a more detailed explanation of how email tracking works:

Step 1: A sender composes an email message and includes a tracking pixel or code in the message.

Step 2: When the recipient receives the email, the tracking pixel or code is loaded automatically, usually from a remote server owned by the sender or a third-party tracking service.

Step 3: The tracking pixel sends a signal back to the sender’s server or tracking service, indicating that the email has been opened.

Step 4: Depending on the tracking service, the sender may be able to collect additional data, such as the recipient’s IP address, location, and device information.

Step 5: If the email includes any links, the tracking pixel code may also track when and if the recipient clicks on those links.

Step 6: Some email tracking services can also track if the recipient forwards the email to another person.

Step 7: The tracking data is then compiled and presented to the sender in a dashboard or report, allowing them to analyze the performance of their email campaigns and make adjustments as needed.

Benefits of email tracking

Analyze Email metrics

Email metrics make it easier to analyze the success of an email campaign. This data can be used to determine which methods work best and how much value each message contributes towards a given goal. Email metrics can also be used to determine the ROI on any given campaign or for AB testing. 

Optimize your time 

With an automated email tracking system, marketers can save valuable time by immediately understanding which messages are successful and which aren’t worth pursuing. 

This helps ensure that only messages with the highest potential for success are pursued while those with minimal impact are discarded.

Prune your email lists

Email tracking enables marketers to keep their lists clean and up-to-date by letting them identify and remove as many unresponsive leads as possible. This helps improve engagement rates as well as reduce spam complaints which could lead to unwanted consequences such as blacklisting or other penalties from ISPs or regulators.

Access Customer insight

Customer insight is improved substantially when using an email tracking system, allowing marketers to gain valuable insights into their current customers and prospective leads. 

This data can be used to better understand their target market, segment audiences more effectively, customize emails for higher conversion rates, and build stronger relationships with existing customers.

 Types of email tracking metrics

Here are some of the most common email tracking types and metrics:

  • Open rates: The open rate measures the number of recipients who opened an email. Open rates are calculated by dividing the number of opened emails by the number of delivered emails.
  • Reply rate: The Reply rate is a metric that measures the percentage of recipients who respond to emails. This metric is particularly important for sales and customer service emails, as it indicates the effectiveness of initiating a conversation with recipients.
  • Click-through rates (CTR): The click-through rate measures the number of recipients who click on a link within an email. CTRs are calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of delivered emails.
  • Conversion rates: The conversion rate measures the number of recipients who took a desired action after clicking on a link within an email, such as completing a purchase or filling out a form. 
  • Bounce rates: The bounce rate measures the number of emails that were undelivered and returned to the sender. Bounce rates can be classified into two categories: hard bounces, which occur when an email address is invalid, and soft bounces, which occur when the recipient’s mailbox is full, or the email server is temporarily down.
  • Unsubscribe rates: The unsubscribe rate measures the number of recipients who opted out of receiving future emails from the sender. 
  • Forward rates: The forward rate measures the number of recipients who forwarded an email to another person. 
  • Time of open: This metric tells you when the email was opened, which can help you identify the best times to send emails to your audience.
  • Device and location: These metrics provide information on the devices and locations from which recipients are opening emails. This can help you optimize your email campaigns for different devices and regions.

Who uses email tracking?

The ability to track the delivery of your emails as well as how your recipient engaged with them are crucial across all business functions. Email tracking provides valuable insight into our everyday communication with customers, allowing us to improve our understanding of market segments, narrow down leads, and ultimately build stronger relationships with customers. Keep on reading to see how email tracking can benefit your team.

Sales Teams

Email tracking can be an influential tool sales representatives can use to measure the efficacy of their outreach and to plan follow-up contacts. Email tracking software can provide insight into who’s engaging with the email and how they are engaging (what links they’re clicking on, for instance). This data can be used to tailor content to better meet each potential customer’s needs.

Recruiting Teams

Email tracking tools offer recruiters a window into how their candidates interact with the job opportunity being offered. Companies can track whether an applicant has opened an email containing job details and application instructions as well as determine if they have clicked through any associated links. 

With this valuable information, recruiters can tailor their approach toward each applicant accordingly. It may indicate that a particular candidate is not interested in pursuing the role further and therefore, the recruiter won’t waste time sending additional follow-up emails.

Marketing Teams

Email tracking is invaluable for marketers looking to optimize their campaigns based on recipients’ email engagement. Marketers can gain insights into which elements of their campaigns are resonating most with customers by seeing which links are clicked most frequently. This allows marketers to focus on what works and adjust tactics accordingly to maximize ROI from campaigns. 

Email tracking also helps marketers identify which customers may need more personalized attention based on lack of engagement or non-response rate. They could send those customers more tailored messages that are more likely to result in conversion or purchase later down the line.

Customer Support Teams

Customer support teams use email tracking tools to gain visibility into customer interaction patterns and response times when assisting via email channels. By understanding which customers require faster resolution times due to urgency or other factors like prior interactions, customer service agents can prioritize accordingly and quickly resolve issues as they arise while still providing quality service overall. 

Furthermore, by monitoring customer behavior, such as the number of opens or clicks gained from marketing emails sent out by the same company, customer support teams can better understand what type of help or services would best suit each customer’s needs before even having them contact them directly for assistance.

Make Email Tracking Simple

The Nylas Email API is the fastest, easiest way to add email analysis capabilities. 

Learn More

What is email tracking software?

Email tracking software provides a user-friendly interface to send, receive, and organize emails. It often includes features such as built-in calendars and task management, which rely on email APIs. Email software applications can leverage these APIs to embed tracking pixels and gather email data such as tracking open rates and clicks. 

Email tracking software and email APIs form a powerful duo. While email software offers an intuitive user experience for managing emails and basic tracking, email APIs allow developers to build customized workflows and features within the same application.

How to track emails with an API

Email APIs are an efficient and accessible way to add email tracking capabilities. 

Step 1: Integrate the API into your website/app: To use the email tracking service’s API, you will need to integrate it into your application. This typically involves adding code to your application that connects to the API and sends email tracking data back and forth.

Step 2: Enable email tracking: This part typically involves adding a tracking pixel or code snippet to your emails that allows the email tracking service to track email activity and engagement.

Step 3: Analyze email metrics: After enabling email tracking, you can analyze email metrics directly from your application. This allows you to gain insights into how your emails are performing and make data-driven decisions to optimize your email campaigns.

Easily build email tracking across providers with the Nylas Email API

With the Nylas Email API, you can access comprehensive data on how recipients interact with your user’s emails, allowing developers to stand up powerful in-app communications experiences. With Nylas, you can build robust in-app capabilities for creating, sending, and monitoring email open rates, simplifying the process into a single solution.

The Nylas Email API does more than provide email tracking. It’s a powerful tool that allows developers to connect their applications with users’ inboxes easily and provides bi-directional email capabilities with unmatched deliverability (99.6%). It can connect to 100% of email service providers, such as Google and Microsoft Outlook in just minutes, expanding your addressable market.  

Companies can save thousands of hours that would otherwise be spent on developing and maintaining their own software and refocus on advancing their roadmap.  Plus, you can deliver engaging user experiences that improve retention and drive upsells.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is tracking emails legal?

Email tracking is generally legal, but it’s important to comply with applicable laws and regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the CAN-SPAM Act

These laws require businesses to obtain explicit consent from recipients before tracking their emails, provide an easy way to opt out of tracking, and ensure that personal data is handled appropriately. It is recommended to review the laws and regulations in your region and consult with legal counsel to ensure compliance.

How do you track emails for Gmail and Outlook?

To track email open rates in Outlook, first, set up an Azure App to connect an Outlook account, then use the Nylas Email API to retrieve messages and extract the “unread” property to determine the email open rate. After that, to track the email opens for all users, loop over a list of emails and check whether they opened the email.

To track email open rates in Gmail, set up a Google API Project to authenticate users, retrieve the messages using the Nylas Email API and extract the “unread” property to determine the email open rate.

Is there an email or inbox parsing API?

Yes, there are APIs available for email/inbox parsing. With access to real-time data and customer profiles, organizations can use the email parsing capabilities of the Nylas Email  API to understand consumer behavior and trends, display relevant content, products, and services, and build personalization models. 

This data-driven approach helps businesses identify their strengths and weaknesses, drive up retention, and prevent customer churn. 

What are the best ways to track emails?

  • There are several best practices to follow when tracking emails, including:
  • Use a reputable email tracking tool like Nylas that provides accurate and reliable metrics.
  • Set clear goals and metrics for your email campaigns and track them consistently over time.
  • Test different email strategies and content to see what resonates most with your audience.
  • Segment your email list and personalize your outreach to improve engagement and conversions.
  • Use the insights gained from email tracking to refine your email campaigns and optimize your outreach over time.
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