Why Marketers Need to Shift Focus to Clicks for Intent


The already elusive email open metric will get another nail in its coffin when Apple begins caching ALL images in emails sent to Apple devices. The caching of images means that email service providers (ESPs) will no longer be able to track opens as they traditionally have for emails consumed on an Apple device. When I say elusive, it’s because of all the metrics to measure the success of an email, opens are the least precise, technically speaking. There will always be more opens than can be tracked.

ESPs track opens using an ESP tracking pixel (little invisible image in the email’s HTML code), and once the recipient sees the email with all the images, an ESP can track the open. If the recipient doesn’t see the images because they’re suppressed and even reads the whole thing, you can’t track the open unless they also click. It’s always been that way, so this is nothing new.

Opens are a measurement of trust in your brand and curiosity of the messaging. They aren’t really measuring or projecting buying intent like a click does. Therefore, a click and click rate is the best way to measure the success of your email campaign. It always has been, but many marketers still reported on opens even though it’s the least exact metric. With Apple’s shift to cache images, opens/open rates will trend down; therefore, it’s time to do away with the open and pivot to clicks as your main success measurement metric for future emails.

Don’t ignore the email marketing basics though before you could ever get a click:

  1. Reach the inbox vs. routing to SPAM/Junk folders. Recipients can’t open/click if they don’t know there is an email from you. Make sure the ESP you use for marketing emails and also your prospect emails are both using all forms of authentication to optimize your chances of reaching an inbox.
  2. Capitalize on brand recognition in the “from” name as no one opens an email from someone they’ve never heard of. If you are trying to create brand awareness with prospects, consider first serving impressions in the display channel before you spend money sending an email.
  3. Be sure that your email is responsive and renders well in a variety of reading environments, especially mobile, since it’s highly likely that a majority of recipients are consuming your email on a mobile device.
  4. Have a compelling enough offer that motivates a click to learn more or buy now. You also absolutely should be testing offers and/or creative to optimize getting clicks. Start with a baseline which will become your control and test new offers/creative against the control.

We are email experts and are the best at crafting the best email to your customers or prospects to get the best click rate. If you need help to increase your click rates, let’s talk.

Jenny Lassi • June 25, 2021

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