It's pretty incredible to send out an email campaign and to watch %Read number start to climb. This article discusses how that figure is calculated and what you can do to increase it. 

The Tracking Pixel:

Email Marketing platforms make use of a tracking pixel to estimate Email Opens. Every email sent by the platforms includes a very small image (the tracking pixel) which is served by the platform. Unlike text, images are not sent with the body of an email - rather, the email includes the location of the images. When a person opens an email, the client (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, etc) fetches the images from the Marketing Platform. This interaction between the email client and the platform is what triggers an "Email Opened" event. 

The important takeaway here is that if the End-User does not show images, the Marketing Platform does not know whether the email has been opened. 

In recent years, email vendors have been more reluctant to show images by default. While this does provide some security and cost-savings, it has caused the Open Rate numbers for most organizations to appear lower.

This does not necessarily mean that people are truly not viewing your emails, but simply that they have not clicked the 'show images' button.

How to Improve Open Rates:

1. Include Compelling Images

Your marketing emails should include images. You'll need to find the right balance, but you want to include at least some pictures so that users are compelled to click "Show Images".

Some marketers take the approach of including their entire content as a single picture. Others use images to hold important elements like a coupon code.

We believe that the best approach is to use pictures to support your content and to highlight your brand and products. If your content is well structured and the images are relevant you'll have the best chance at getting Opens.

2. Use Alt-text

The Alternate Text is displayed in the place of unloaded images.

The purpose is to describe what the image will contain. This can be used by screen-reading software (for the visually impaired), but it can also provide another 'teaser' that will help convince users to show the images.

Flywheel's Email builders both provide a simple way to fill out the Alternate Text

Visual Builder:

Advanced Builder:


Like other Marketing Platforms, Flywheel MA tracks Open rates based on images displayed. In order to track email opens, it is important to convince end-users to click the "Show Images" button.
This can be accomplished by including compelling images, utilizing alt-text, and, ultimately, by inspiring trust with your brand.

The Email Opens number is not the final say. This number is an estimate and does not account for Users who read an email without images displayed. 

Flywheel MA also helps to track other interactions with your customers and prospects. Our Link tracking and Page tracking help to notify you when a person clicks a link from an email or visits your webpage.  Reach out to your Customer Success Manager to discuss the myriad ways that Flywheel MA can help you engage and respond to your audience.