Over time, I’ve heard many clients mention open rates (and increasing them) many many times as their primary goal.

Thus I decided to write this post… 

Whether you’re a founder, CEO, CMO, email marketer, etc. – stop obsessing over your open rates. Why?

Because all that we have to measure an email open is a small tracking image and whether it was loaded or not, and not much else!

Open rates are a useful metric for checking overall email health, and they should NOT be ignored, but we have to keep in mind that this data is, at best, an approximation. 

There can be lots of people opening and reading your emails that never trigger the loading of the pixel. On the flip side, some can show as an open but have never even looked at it.

And let’s also factor in negative engagement metrics. For example, a Gmail a subscriber can open your email, and then immediately mark it as spam. So we can also say that in some cases an open can hurt our sending reputation.

People always assume that every opener is a “positive” engager; this is not necessarily true.

To me, open rates are just another data point.

That is why the entire email funnel needs to be monitored (and ultimately the engagement, conversions, or revenue from an email):

Source: EmailMastery.org

So as you attempt to improve your entire email program and email performance, open rate is going to be one of your top metrics, but not the end-all-be-all goal.

Lastly, here are some key metrics you should be tracking.