Incorrect open rates - what they depend on

Anastasia_Alpee
Level 1

Incorrect open rates - what they depend on

Hi!

We send content newsletter on a regular basis. Previously we always used several templates for different audiences, and because of that flow of our campaigns was quite difficult and with a lot of wait steps, and Marketo proccessed it slowly.

Since all the templates differ from each by one block only, we decided to update it and create one template with a velocity script for that block. Of course it allowed us to simplify the flow of our campaigns as well.

And then something strange happened. When we used 5 templates our open rates were very low. And then they increased several times (in average from 5% to 15%) when we switched to one template with velocity. Nothing else chnaged: it's the same audience, similar content, similar subject lines, more or less the same time of sending. Different template and flow, and now Marketo processes the flow much faster. The other interesting thing is that it didn't influence click rates. Open rate didn't change for any other campaigns either.

All that makes me wonder if this change of open rates is because people really started to open the newsletter more for some reason or simply because Marketo didn't count all the opens correctly before. I know that open rate is not 100%-accurate for all the sendings, but this time I cannot think of any logical explanatition to what I see.

Have anyone had any similar situations? Do you know why that might happen? Is it possible that Marketo doesn't count open rates correcly if the campaign flow is long and has many choices and wait steps?

I'd appreciate any ideas

Thanks

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4 REPLIES 4
Josh_Pickles
Level 7 - Community Advisor

Re: Incorrect open rates - what they depend on

Hi Anastasia,

I've yet to encounter an error with Marketo incorrectly reporting open rates - but there are a few reasons why your open rates have previously been reported as low.

My initial focus would be to look at language used within your subject line - has the language changed? Have you customised the subject line and preheader text differently? What might have changed that's driven the open rates up all of a sudden? Perhaps consider running some AB test hypothesis to help work out what has changed and how you can improve on that going forward.

If nothing has dramatically changed from a subject line/preheader text point of view, it might be worth digging into your email deliverability rates. It's not something Marketo reports on natively very well, but tools such as 250ok and senderscore.org can help give you a relatively good idea of whether you were previously hitting issues with your email not necessarily being delivered. You want to make sure your emails aren't going straight to the junk box (something 250ok can potentially help highlight) and that you're not being impacted by spam traps, blacklists, complaints etc (something both 250ok and senderscore.org can assist with highlighting).

It's worth ensuring that your emails are properly authenticated as well - Marketo has some easy-to-follow documentation that covers this (Set up SPF and DKIM for your Email Deliverability - Marketo Docs - Product Documentation ).

Open rates (as well as other engagement metrics) are used quite frequently by email platforms like Gmail to determine whether or not to junk an email or fire it through to the inbox. You may want to seriously consider a series of AB testing strategies alongside a re-engagement program that focuses on driving those engagement rates up - otherwise you might start to encounter some serious email deliverability issues.

Cheers,

JP

SanfordWhiteman
Level 10 - Community Moderator

Re: Incorrect open rates - what they depend on

I've yet to encounter an error with Marketo incorrectly reporting open rates - but there are a few reasons why your open rates have previously been reported as low.

It's possible for email HTML to be broken in such a way as to prevent the tracking pixel from being rendered (i.e. accidentally commented out or wrapped in an element that can't contain images).

Doesn't constitute an error per se on the tracking side, but means that an email that is thought to be open-tracked is not. Perhaps in the process of redoing HTML content to be output from Velocity, such a problem was coincidentally fixed.

Josh_Pickles
Level 7 - Community Advisor

Re: Incorrect open rates - what they depend on

Good point - that's something my stuck-at-home-sick brain neglected to think about. Thanks for raising that!

Anastasia_Alpee
Level 1

Re: Incorrect open rates - what they depend on

Thank you both!

We discussed it again with the team and did some tests, and we figured that it might be because the team always used the same email in Marketo, just updated it with the new content. I believe opens won't be counted in case a person opened the email before (any of its previous versions I mean). So most probably we created the problem ourselves

But I will ask our developers to review the code one more time, just to be 100% sure.

Thanks!