Email open tracking

Sidemail features privacy-friendly email open tracking. It's available for emails sent by:

Our solution

We know email opens are an important metric when it comes to email. But, traditional email open tracking interferes with the recipient's privacy. So, we developed a solution that provides you – the sender – with the opens metric and respects the recipient's privacy.

How does it work? Anonymity. We use a completely anonymous open tracking pixel that cannot be backtracked to the recipient — not by the sender, nor by us. The only thing the tracking pixel tells us is the origin of the email in Sidemail — either Messenger, Automation, or email template sent via API. We can only achieve the recipient's anonymity if there are many recipients. For that reason, Sidemail displays the opens metric only if there were more than 10 deliveries.

Because the opens metric is completely anonymous in Sidemail, you can't target your subscribers based on whether they read the previous email — that's a good thing.

What's traditional email tracking?

Email open tracking is a privacy-concerning technique to learn if a recipient opened an email. Not only the sender detects the exact time when the recipient opened the email but also gets access to data like the type of device, the type of email client, timezone, geolocation, and IP address.

"During the 2016 election, we sent a tracked email out to the US senators, and the people running for the presidency," Seroussi says. "We wanted to know, were they doing anything about tracking? Obviously, the answer was no. We typically got the location of their devices, the IP addresses; you could pinpoint almost exactly where they were, which hotels they were staying at." - Florian Seroussi, founder of OMC (source, Wired)

What's tracking pixel?

When you open a webpage, your browser talks to the server where the page is hosted and attempts to download all images automatically. Now, the owner of the server can see your IP address, the user-agent string, and guess your geolocation. A tracking pixel in email works the same way. Commonly, it's a 1x1 image in size, hence the name pixel, though, it could be an image in any size. The term email open tracking is just a specific name for the same pixel tracking technique.

What about emails sent via Sidemail API?

The anonymous opens metric is available in Sidemail for email templates sent via API. We don't provide the opens metric for custom emails sent via API as we have no way of grouping them by a common origin (like an email template) to achieve anonymity.