When it comes to your business or your job, being able to monitor as many factors as possible is typically a good thing.
Email tracking is a great example of a tool that can give you great insight into an important part of your business.
While social media marketing is growing in importance and popularity as a medium to distribute information to users, email is a crucial form of both information distribution and personal contact on a variety of business levels (and for a variety of business models).
There are a ton of tools accessible online, some free and some paid for, and these are the most reliable and best email tracking tools available, so you don’t have to leave this important part of your business to guesswork.
We all use Google Analytics , it allows you to track how many visitors are coming to your site, for example, enabling you to know which channels are sending the most traffic to you and what content is performing best.
Email tracking tools add to those important insights a whole new wide range of features, including letting you know when your sent emails were opened and if any links were clicked.
Whether you’re an SMB tracking newsletter opens, or a freelancer tracking invoices (cough, cough), email tracking tools can benefit your business.
Why Should I Track My Email Opens?
All businesses can benefit from tracking email opens, especially businesses who use email marketing campaigns. By tracking information like which emails are being opened and which are converting, you can see how effective your marketing materials actually are. You can use this information to identify what types of offers and campaigns work best for your
By tracking information like which emails are being opened and which are converting, you can see how effective your marketing materials actually are. You can use this information to identify what types of offers and campaigns work best for your business, and focus on creating more like it in the future.
Email tracking software is also a valuable lead nurturing tool. Imagine being able to know exactly when a customer opens your email and then being able to time a follow-up call or email based on that information. Now you can. You can contact users at the exact right time to increase the likelihood that they’ll convert; some software even automates this for you.
It also doesn’t hurt to see when your clients have received contracts, digital files, or invoices; small businesses may need to use the tracking feature if customers start to pull the “oh, I never got the invoice so I can’t pay you.”
How Does Email Tracking Work?
Whether you’re using paid email tracking software or free email tracking software, it almost all works in a similar way. Many will place small invisible images that contain pixels in the actual email, and when it loads, the information is sent back to the database—and to you.
There are limitations to email tracking software. Your software won’t be able to track emails if:
The reader uses ad blockers
The image isn’t loaded; many users don’t have images set to load on default, and they may not click to see further content that would contain the images
The reader uses a security system that prevents the image from being loaded
Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do if something blocks the ability of our email tracking software. Overall, though, it will be a helpful tool for the vast majority of the audience you’re trying to reach.
Yesware is and probably will always be a personal favorite when it comes to email tracking tools. It’s a great tool for SMBs, letting you do everything from track emails from clients to optimize for sales.
Their software is outstandingly user-friendly. Just download the extension, and allow it to connect to your email account. When creating a message, you can choose to track—or not track—each email. You can even choose to have it automatically loaded into the CRM software that you use.
Yesware doesn’t just tell you that your email has been opened; it tells you who opened it, what links they’ve clicked, and which attachments they’ve downloaded. This is extremely useful; you can see which leads are warm, and which have actually gotten the invoice they said they never got (even though you can see that they opened it three times). The software works pretty close to real-time, and you can access all the information through the dashboard on your email account.
As an added bonus, Yesware has other great features worth mentioning, including their email templates to speed up your outbound efforts, automatic follow up for sales automation, and scheduling tools so your emails can be distributed at any time.
Yesware is available for Gmail on Chrome and Firefox browsers (not Safari) and for Microsoft Outlook. They offer a 28-day free trial and have a variety of pricing plans once that trial is over. Their starter plan costs $12 per month.
Contact Monkey works in real-time, so you’ll never miss an opportunity to nurture a lead who is interested in your business. They’ll not only show you who opened the email, but also where from, when, and on what type of device. You can even get desktop notifications when your email is opened.
The dashboard lets you prioritize users by the number of times they’ve opened your email; this can be used to gauge interest and find the warmest leads. They’ll also provide you with analytics, helping you to see the big picture of what’s working and what isn’t.
Like Yesware, you can use Contact Monkey right from your inbox, making the ease of use overwhelmingly convenient.
This tool has a 14-day free trial and is available for Gmail on Chrome, and on Outlook. Pricing starts at $10 per user per month when billed annually.
ToutApp is another great email tracking tool that’s structured itself around driving sales and nurturing leads.
It will track engagement on all of your emails, giving you information in real-time like the other tools on this list, and let you know as soon as the email has been opened and what’s been downloaded, clicked, or viewed. They’ll also show you which emails haven’t been delivered, and why; if you’re wondering if the email bounced or was marked at spam, now you can know.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one sales analyzer, this is a great tool to use. ToutApp will actually analyze all of your emails, client calls, calendar events, and CRM data to look for correlations and generate incredible reports and insights. If you’re looking to track your emails and see how it fits into the grand scheme, ToutApp is a good way to go.
Like the other tools on this list, ToutApp also integrates with a number of different CRMs, including Salesforce.
ToutApp is available on Gmail on Chrome, and on Microsoft Outlook. It’s also the most expensive tool on this list; after the 14-day free trial is over, their most affordable plan starts at $49 a month per user.
Looking for something really simple with no-fuss, and you just want to know when your email is opened? Mailtrack is a great tool for you. Some small businesses don’t need—or want—that extensive features other tools offer, especially at the price tag they come at, and Mailtrack does exactly what any email tracking tool promises to do.
Mailtrack’s basic, free version of the tool allows for unlimited tracking if you just want to watch for opened emails. It does attach a “Mailtrack” signature to your emails, which you have to upgrade to get rid of. You’ll see a checkmark next to emails that have been read, and if you hover over them, you’ll see the time they were opened.
For what it’s worth, even though it’s not technically “real-time tracking” (that comes with the upgrade), I got an email letting me know that my tracked email was opened pretty quickly.
If you do upgrade, you’ll also get real-time notifications, link tracking, reminders, and a dashboard to monitor the emails instead of checkmarks by the emails themselves. This plan is only $4.92 a month; if you upgrade to their $6 a month plan, you can track email opens from multiple recipients in one thread.
5. Newton Mail
Newton Mail is a great email tracking tool if you want to have a ton of excellent email features, including getting read receipts and seeing a profile of the email’s sender (which is created by pulling information from multiple sources). This software will mark emails as read by a blue tick mark next to the email you sent—even on smartphones.
Other great features include the ability to send emails later, un-send an email (within a very short time frame after it was sent, but we’ve all had those moments of “Oh God no I spelled their name wrong” immediately after sending), and integration with multiple third party tools like Evernote and Pocket.
Newton Mail attaches a “via Newton Mail” signature automatically to the emails, so users will know that the email is being tracked if they look it up. Sometimes, that can make the reader uncomfortable, so keep that in mind. It also isn’t available yet for Windows; it is available for Apple, iOS, and Android at the moment.
Newton has a 14-day free trial; after that, it’s $50 per year, which is one of the more affordable tools on this list.
Bananatag can be used for both sales teams and communication within your own internal team. You can use the tracking software through Bananatag’s own dashboard or through an extension in your email.
In addition to tracking email opens and attachment tracking, it will also give you analytics on the activity on your tracked emails.
Bananatag is available for Outlook, Gmail, Mac Mail, and any iOS or Android device. Plugins are available for Gmail and Outlook. It’s a free email tracking software if you need to track only 5 emails a day or less, but paid plans (which offer more) start at just $10 a month when paid annually.
7. Streak for Gmail
Streak has branded itself as giving you “CRM in your inbox,” and they deliver. The Streak plugin for Gmail in particular is exceptional; it lets gives you all the email tracking information you could need right in your Gmail inbox.
In addition to email tracking, this tool lets you schedule emails to send later, and gives you a visual history of the viewed message, including the total number of views and the number of unique message views. It also lets you filter your emails; there’s even an “awating replies” filter to make your job ridiculously easy.
This tool works for all Google apps. If you’re looking for email tracking software for Gmail, this is a great tool to consider, especially since Streak’s free plan lets users track up to 200 emails a month and gives you access to their basic CRM tools. It’s easily the best free email tracking software plan on this list.
GetNotify is a free email tracking software, but they request “donations” that are required to unlock additional features for a certain period of time. In other words, it basically has a “basic” version of the tool that’s free.
This tool is pretty simple, but has plenty of great features, including email tracking and delivery confirmation. They’ll also tell you:
The amount of time the email was read
The date and time it was opened (and reopened)
The general geographic location it was opened in
My favorite feature of GetNotify, which lands them on this list, is the ability for users to use their own image file as a tracking image. This is fantastic- you could choose an image like your email signature, or an image central to the email itself, to increase the odds users will click to load it.
Here’s the catch (aside from the whole donations thing): you need to manually add “.getnotify.com” at the end of every email address of the emails you want to track. So instead of “email@example.com,” you’d enter in “firstname.lastname@example.org.” GetNotify will work with all modern email companies, including Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, Eudora, and even AOL.
9. Cirrus Insight
Cirrus Insight is an incredible paid email tracking software that will be particularly helpful for small and medium businesses with full calendars. This software not only lets you track emails, but sync your emails with your calendar and Salesforce, allowing you to book meetings and schedule follow-ups.
This email tracking tool will send you open alerts almost immediately, enables reply tracking, and makes it incredible easy to schedule follow-ups thanks to the complete Salesforce integration. You can completely track all engagement on your emails, and see how the links attached within them are opened.
Cirrus Insight is available for Gmail, Outlook, Office 365, and mobile devices. There’s a 14 day free trial before the basic monthly plan starts at $28 a month (or $19 a month when paid annually).
DidTheyReadIt is a free email tool for up to ten emails a month. If you want to track more than ten emails a month, pricing starts at $24.99 for three months. It also allows you to purchase additional features, like a PDF tracker (which tracks PDF downloads).
Like GetNotify, users have to add “.didtheyreadit.com” to the end of the recipient’s email address. Like GetNotify, this will not be displayed to the recipient at any point. This tool does, however, give you the ability to track only the first email the recipient opens in the thread, or all the emails they open in the thread. You can also see how long the email was read and when it was opened.
DidTheyReadIt’s email tracking software has browser plugins available for Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. They have desktop browsers available for Outlook and Thunderbird, and it works on both Windows and Apple devices.
SalesHandy, according to their creators, is a “sales enablement platform designed around email and attachment analytics and automation for individuals as well as teams”.
As other email tracking tools, SalesHandy gives you the volume of opened emails, the history of each of them, it lets you track replies, link-clicks, and get real-time desktop notifications. On top of that, it also provides details on the kind of browser and device used by your recipient and the location from which the email was opened.
This in-depth and real-time engagement analytics, help you gauge your prospects’ interest level and nurture leads effectively.
It supports all email service providers and has plugins for both Gmail and Outlook.
Plugins allow you to use SalesHandy directly from your inbox, making it very easy and convenient to use.
With SalesHandy’s free plan you can track and schedule unlimited emails (no daily or monthly limit), altho it does attach a “Powered by SalesHandy” signature to your emails, which you have to upgrade to remove.
Its paid subscriptions start at just $7 a month (when paid annually) and provide other great features like personalized email merge campaign with automated follow-ups, email templates and document management and tracking, making it a very cost-effective option.
There’s a 14-day free trial where you get to use all the features mentioned above, after which you can go for a paid subscription or move to their free plan.
Do These Tools Really Need to be “Nosy”?
A lot of these tools (I think every single one on this list) requires access that includes the ability to “Send, Read, and Delete emails.” That sounds pretty darn terrifying, but in reality, that’s a necessary ability to give these tools; they are literally sending your emails, and the ability to track means they need to be able to read them.
Because of this access, though, you should choose your tools carefully. I’ve used and I trust each tool on this list, and most major brand name tools with tons of reviews and users will be fine; I wouldn’t trust brand new tools that don’t have a ton of users yet. When in doubt, contact customer service of the tool you’re interested in and ask about their privacy policies.
While a lot of people aren’t big fans of email tracking personally (I get it—I turned the “read” receipts off on my iMessaging, and like all technology, I’m sure this can be abused somehow), I think it does have a place professionally so long as it’s not abused.
As a freelance writer, I’ve started using an email tracking service with new clients to ensure that they’re receiving the work I’m providing, and I’ll know that they received invoices that some will pretend to never get. I also use it when distributing newsletters for a site I manage, to see what content performs best so that I can better provide relevant content in the future.
There are a ton of great reasons to use email tracking tools, no matter what job position or industry you’re in, and these 10 are among the best.