11 Replies Latest reply on Nov 30, 2017 12:23 PM by Dan Stevens

    Outlook Preview Pane - Counts as Open?

    Ayan Talukder

      Not entirely a Marketo question, but was curious how Marketo reads emails that are "read" when viewed in the Preview Pane in Outlook.

       

      Does an "Open" count when an someone has an email marked as read / viewed in the Preview Pane? Couldn't find an answer online that verified this, so I wanted to see how Marketo handles this.

       

      I assume links clicked from the Preview Pane get counted, but does that skew the Click to Open % if the Preview Pane does not count? I read somewhere inputting a 1 x 1 tracking pixel / web  beacon inserted into an email can help verify the true open number. Any validity to this?

       

      Thanks in advance!

        • Re: Outlook Preview Pane - Counts as Open?
          Jamie Lewis

          Preview pane is not counted as an open

          • Re: Outlook Preview Pane - Counts as Open?
            Justin Cooperman

            Are you referring to the "reading pane"?

             

            If so, this absolutely will count as an open if the email is rendered in the reading pane. There is no correlation to Outlook's "mark read after x seconds" feature. All that matters is whether the email itself was ever rendered.

              • Re: Outlook Preview Pane - Counts as Open?
                Kristina Campos

                Hi, Justin -

                 

                I'm getting lots of questions about this lately. Folks are dismissing our open rates because many people use the reading page to "scan" emails.

                Just to I'm clear - will emails rendered in the reading pane ALWAYS trigger an open? Or is it only emails that download images? At our firm, lots of people have images set to not download automatically.We use Outlook 2010 .

                 

                Thank you.

                k

                  • Re: Outlook Preview Pane - Counts as Open?
                    Dan Stevens

                    For the email to trigger an "open" in the Outlook preview pane, images must be turned on.  Now if someone clicks a trackable link in an email (where images are turned off), that too will trigger an "open".  Which is the behavior for all plain-text mails.  The reasoning is, if someone clicks a link in an email, they also opened it.  Now of course this too is unreliable given the number of link scanners we're seeing on our emails.  These have become very problematic for some time now and add to the difficulty in providing accurate email results.

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • Re: Outlook Preview Pane - Counts as Open?
                        Casey Dingman

                        Hi Dan,

                         

                        The link scanners you are talking about is this what is skewing the "clicks" vs. "people" in the email link performance report. I am getting reports that say link "X" was clicked 220 times by 25 unique people, this cant be right.

                          • Re: Outlook Preview Pane - Counts as Open?
                            Sanford Whiteman

                            The link scanners you are talking about is this what is skewing the "clicks" vs. "people" in the email link performance report.

                            Yes, that's what Dan means.

                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                            • Re: Outlook Preview Pane - Counts as Open?
                              Justin Cooperman

                              Ok, a few things here:

                               

                              First, Kristina Campos Dan is correct that an open will be show in our email reporting if the email is viewed in the reading pane of outlook in rich HTML (meaning images are shown). The open will not be shown in reporting if images are off and the user clicks no links.

                               

                              Second, while Dan's right that an open will be shown for an email in our reports if any link in the email is clicked, it will not trigger an open activity to be created on the lead record. That is a very important distinction, as Smart Lists on "Opened Email" will not work for those people. We just have business logic in our reporting to handle situations like this...

                               

                              Finally, Casey Dingman That is absolutely possible in the real world through a combination of two things. The human user may have actually clicked on the same link a few times (we definitely see that happen frequently, even in our Marketo marketing emails that go out) and, more importantly, the recipient may have forwarded the email to 25 colleagues who, in turn, clicked the link. In that case, Marketo cannot differentiate that it was a different person and tons of clicks will show for one lead in the database.

                               

                              Hope some of this info is helpful!

                               

                              Justin 

                              3 of 3 people found this helpful
                              • Re: Outlook Preview Pane - Counts as Open?
                                Dan Stevens

                                Yes, this can definitely be contributing to this.  But the other thing to keep in mind - and why the numbers look skewed - is that the "email link performance report" includes ALL clicks - not unique ones (such as the numbers that you see in an "email performance report"). 

                                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                        • Re: Outlook Preview Pane - Counts as Open?
                          Dan Stevens

                          Any time an email - when images are turned on in an email client - contains a hidden tracking pixel and has the opportunity to ping the originating server (Marketo), it will be tracked as an open.  So yes, viewing the email in a preview pane will count as an open.  Which is why "opens" aren't a very reliable metric.  An email that someone deletes - but still has time to render quickly in the preview pane - will be counted as an open.  Which is why I would love to see a report like this available in Marketo someday - where it breaks down the types of opens by the length the email is being viewed:

                           

                          2 of 2 people found this helpful
                            • Re: Outlook Preview Pane - Counts as Open?
                              Sanford Whiteman

                              FYI, if you guys are interested in how such solutions usually work, it's pretty simple to build your own version of this in-house (though it's a huge infrastructure undertaking for a general analytics provider -- Marketo in this case -- to add this functionality for everyone).

                               

                              The concept is simple: rather than accepting requests for the tracking pixel, sending the tiny 1x1 GIF back as quickly as possible, and closing the HTTP and TCP connections to free up those resources, instead the server "trickles" meaningless bytes of additional data back to the email client until the client decides to close (sometimes not cleanly) the HTTP/TCP connection.  The server will have a maximum wait time (like 2m maximum logged open time) after which it decides to stop measuring, but until that time it waits for the client to disconnect.

                               

                              Once the server realizes the client has gone away (that's actually a sort-of technical term!), it counts how long it was able to successfully send bits of the never-completed "superpixel" and that's they derive how long the email was open.

                               

                              The problem is that this architecture flies in the face of best practices for building high-traffic servers.  You normally need to end connections immediately after sending data to preserve the availability of your infrastructure (in the case of Munchkin, the servers sometimes forcibly disconnect even before sending data, since the response is not important to the browser, just the logging of the click/hit). Every open connection takes up critical resources.  If you serve images, you normally make them as small (compressed) as possible to get them out as fast as you can and close the connection.  So... the idea of leaving the connection open as long as the client wants it to be open can be catastrophic at scale.  Most webservers would get destroyed if every connection were allowed to linger for 2 minutes!

                               

                              Anyway, for a single company's email load, you might be able to put something like this up on its own server.  It could be a single-page web app, probably in NodeJS or any other platform designed to maintain a high connection count. Then you could log the results to Marketo using some mkt_tok fun (it wouldn't be part of the click/open dashboard, of course, but you'd be able to action it).