I'm reading this documentation about MC and how it manages open tracking behaviour: https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=sf.mc_es_tracking_overview.htm&type=5

Essentially there is 1x1 transparent GIF image in the email that loads when the email is opened and MC records this image load as an "open" of the email. The page above details instances where this might be inaccurate (eg: where remote images are not allowed to be loaded, or a server process "opens" the email to check for viruses, etc).

However, I was thinking about my own email management and how this might play out with respect to the above. I use Outlook on the web and the Mail app on macos. The way I archive/delete emails that I don't want to read (therefore shouldn't count as an open) is that I first select the image to then hit the archive/delete button. Since both these mail apps have split views where there are separate sections for the message list and the email message, this essentially means that the email does "open" for a brief moment before I hit the button.

Since I many email apps work this way these days (ie: you select a message, and therefore open it, before archiving/deleting it), could this potentially substantially reduce the confidence in "open" data, which affects downstream things like segmenting based on engagement using the _Open data view.

I am trying to find some time to test this. But in the meantime does anyone know if that would technically register as an "open" as far as MC is concerned? For example, does the pixel have to be displayed for x seconds before it registers or is it instant? If not, would there be a way to introduce this to the pixel?

  • 1
    You can use Litmus to record engagement time, eg. for how long they had the email open, but it’s a paid feature
    – zuzannamj
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 8:23
  • Thanks zuzannamj I was aware of this and other tools that also do this (should have stated that in my question). I wonder why MC does not do this?
    – Ben
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 21:44

1 Answer 1


Think about it as simple as it gets: If the server gets the request to "display" the image, it knows it has been opened. Where this call comes from does not matter (if the server does not check for user agents etc). Since the user does not have an "active session" you will not be able to tell if a recipient opens the mail for a longer time.

  • Yep so as I thought we will be getting "open" registered that aren't what we mean when we talk about "open rates". As zuzannamj says above, Litmus has more advanced tracking where it can measure open time. I know other tools (such as Segment) also do this. I wonder why MC does not?
    – Ben
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 21:43

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