When campaigns are sent through MailChimp, we embed a tiny invisible graphic in the bottom of your HTML email. This open tracker graphic, or web beacon, is unique to each campaign you send. Each time someone opens your email and views the images within it, that open-tracker graphic is downloaded from our server. Each time that graphic is downloaded, we'll count that as an open on your campaign report. Open tracking, along with click tracking, is an easy way to measure subscriber engagement.

In this article:

Open reports

MailChimp reports provide a few different ways to measure open activity on a campaign report. Detailed open results for your campaign can be found on the Report Overview as well as the Opened and Didn't open sections of the campaign report. You can also see a quick peek of both open and click stats from the Campaigns, Reports, and Autoresponders pages in your account. Just hover over the open or click percentage next to the View report button for a sent campaign or active autoresponder to see the number of clicks and opens for that campaign. If you're on a tablet, just tap the open or click percentages to see the effect.

Open results from Report Overview

To view the Report Overview for a campaign, just head to the Reports page in your account and click the title of any sent campaign. Clicking the campaign title will bring your to the overview page that looks like this:

The open related terms on this page are defined below:


  • Open rate: Percentage of total recipients (successful deliveries) who opened the campaign.
  • Opened: Number of recipients that opened the campaign any number of times.
  • Total opens: Total number of times the campaign was opened by recipients. This count includes multiple opens from individual recipients.
  • Forward opens: How many times the campaign was opened by a recipient who was forwarded the campaign using a Forward to a Friend link. Note that only campaigns forwarded using the Forward to a Friend link can be tracked. Campaigns forwarded using an email provider's forward button cannot be tracked and will not be counted as opens.
  • Last opened:The most recent instance of a recipient opening the campaign.
  • Subscribers with most opens: Subscribers that opened the campaign the most times.

Open results on the Opened and Didn't open pages

Some marketers like to know who did and didn't open a campaign. To see a list of folks that either did or did not register as an open, click the Activity drop down menu on the Report Overviewscreen then select either Opened or Didn't open.

These screens will display a full list of campaign recipients that either did or did not open your campaign and also allow you to export those subscribers into a .csv file should you need to.

You can do more than just see who did or didn't open your campaign. Gathering this info also allows you to segment your list based on recipient's actions in your campaign. Lots of marketers like to use this information to target these subscribers to send a follow up email to them with a modified offer. Keep in mind due to to the way web beacon open tracking works, sometimes subscribers that read your email may not register as an open on the campaign report if they didn't choose to display images in their email program when they viewed your campaign. So if you do choose to send a campaign to folks that are reporting as didn't open there is a small risk that some subscribers will be included in that segment that did actually view your email.

Open tracking accuracy

Web beacon based open tracking only works in HTML email and we can only track opens if your recipients have chosen to show or load images when they view your newsletter in their email program. Some email applications automatically block images from displaying by default, especially if it's from someone that's not in their address book. So unless the recipient clicks their button to "display images in this message", we won't be able to track their open this way. When someone signs up for your list, you should ask them to add your email address to their address book. That way, your images will more likely be "on" by default and generate opens for your campaigns more consistently.

Open tracking in plain-text campaigns

Since open tracking relies on an invisible graphic to report opens, there isn't a way to track opens using this method with plain-text emails. Check out our click tracking article for an alternative tracking method.

Disable open tracking

Open tracking is enabled by default for all non plain-text campaigns. However some industries do not allow for open tracking due to privacy concerns, so we allow this option to be disabled if needed. If you ever need to disable or reenable open tracking for a campaign, this option can be found in the Tracking section on the Setup step of the Campaign Builder.

Troubleshoot open tracking

If you've checked a campaign report and are noticing low or zero opens being reported, try these suggestions to see if anything stands out:

  • Make sure that open tracking was enabled for that campaign. If open tracking was not enabled for a campaign there will be a notification of this at the top of the campaign report overview. To view the campaign report overview navigate to the Reports page and click the View Report button for that campaign.
  • Check to see if the campaign was plain-text only. Since we cannot add the web beacon image to plain-text emails (we send only text for that version - not any images), we track the number of clicks in your campaign to determine opens. If you selected to track clicks on your plain-text campaign and there were no links for your recipients to click on, there would be no way to track opens for your plain-text campaign.
  • We are not able to track links generated through system tags like *|UNSUB|* or *|UPDATE_PROFILE|*.
  • In rare cases, something in your incoming filters will block our tracking image. Check out this link for more info www.answers.com/topic/web-bug-1

Was this article helpful?
What can we do to improve your experience with articles like this?
Thanks for submitting your feedback!
At this time, we are unable to reply to any responses, but we'll use this information to keep the site up-to-date.
Sorry, we were unable to submit your feedback. Please try again later. Thank you for your patience.

Related Articles