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How many people really read your emails?

Home > Resources > How many people really read your emails?

How do you measure the success of your email marketing campaigns?

Very often, the first thing people want to know is how many people have actually seen their message. So, they (quite understandably) look directly to the open rate.

But, did you know that your open rate only tells part of the story?

As useful as it is, it’s important to understand that your open rate doesn’t give the full picture of how many people have seen your message…

First up, how is an 'open' measured?

When you send your message through an email sending platform, the system plants a tiny, single pixel image in it. If this image is downloaded after delivery, it will trigger the platform to record an ‘open’.

This is currently the only way to detect if an email has been opened, but it has some limitations – particularly when it comes to marketing to schools.

‘Invisible opens’

The first challenge is understanding how many people have read your email without triggering an ‘open’. This happens more in schools than in many other industries, because digital security and safeguarding is often tighter in educational establishments.

Some inboxes are set to automatically download images when an email is delivered. More often than not though, settings dictate that a recipient has to actively choose to download images. And many don’t – either through personal choice, or because they are following school policies. There is currently no way to track those readers.

That doesn’t mean they won’t read your message, though. If you’ve followed best practice when designing your email, it should still be perfectly readable in an ‘image off’ state.

Additionally, many schools (and sometimes local authorities) will restrict incoming emails to their ‘text only’ form. This version won’t contain that all-important tracking pixel, and so your report will never show opens from these schools.

In our 2019 schools survey, we found out that a massive 54.46% of recipients in schools either can’t or don’t download images in their emails.

That means we are only able to track the behaviour of 45.54% of teachers and school decision makers across the UK.


Does that mean reported open rates are completely inaccurate?

Not at all!

The reported figure provides an important piece of the puzzle, which we can use to help us build up the bigger picture.  Armed with accurate figures from actual teachers, we can use your trackable open rate to estimate your ‘real’ open rate, which will give you a better understanding of how well your email has performed.

So why don’t we just report that ‘real’ number then?

Here at Buzz Education, we strive to be as straightforward and transparent as possible with our clients. We won’t give out numbers that we can’t back up and explain.

When we run an email campaign on your behalf, your report will give you both the reportable open rate from our trackable analytics, and also the estimated open rate. That figure will always be calculated using our most recent data, which has been given directly to us by teachers and school staff.

Our friendly team will be happy to help you create an amazing email marketing campaign for schools

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Our friendly team will be happy to help you create an amazing email marketing campaign for schools