Opens, Clicks, and Forwards

Opens, Clicks, and Forwards are important metrics to understand when you look at your mailing reports. They give you a quick and easy baseline about your mailings and let you know, on the surface, how you are doing. Let’s look at how these metrics are gathered.


Opens register when subscribers receive a mailing and either (a) view it in the preview pane or (b) click to open the mailing.

The mechanics of tracking opens are quite simple and follow a common practice – a 0x0 pixel image, when downloaded, registers back to an ASP page, letting Informz know that a subscriber has opened the mailing. Note that if the pixel is not downloaded, Informz cannot register the open unless it can be inferred another way (such as a forward or click). Additionally, note that if a subscriber receives the text-only version, Informz cannot track the open directly (the 0x0 pixel image does not download to a text-only recipient).


When a subscriber opens a mailing, there is a connection established between the server and the email itself. Informz will check to see if the connection remains open after specific intervals and will in turn assign a status based on those connection intervals:

  • Open: Fewer than three seconds.
  • Skim: Between three and ten seconds.
  • Read: Greater than ten seconds.

Informz will check the connection after the initial open, again after three seconds and then one more time after ten seconds. This will determine the status. Informz will stop counting time after the mailing is registered as Read. For example, if subscribers click a mailing in an email client, and this causes the mailing to remain open in a preview pane, the mailing connection will be counted as Read as soon as ten seconds have passed.

There are additional considerations that you must account for when analyzing these statuses. For example, downloading images could affect the difference between a mailing being Opened versus a mailing being Read. If subscribers click download images in a mailing, they may spend additional time maintaining the connection, recording the mailing as Read. Additionally, Informz will track the email client where the mailing was opened and can tell if it was opened on a mobile device or a desktop/laptop.


When subscribers click on a link in a mailing, Informz registers a click for the mailing (this excludes “bookmarks” within a mailing). When Informz registers a click, it automatically registers an open as well because you need to open a mailing to click inside!


Forwards register when subscribers forward a mailing to their colleagues or friends. Informz registers a forward when a single mailing ID is detected as an open or click from a second IP address. Like clicks, Informz infers an open from the original recipient because most email clients require users to open a mailing before forwarding it.

Inflated Metrics

Keep in mind that it is common to see inflated opens/clicks/forwards metrics for a recipient or recipient domain because many spam filters (proofpoint, mimecast, symantec, etc) may automatically scan incoming messages and load images or follow links in the process. If messages are scanned by more than 1 IP address, they will also be classified as a forward. 

Understanding Your Metrics

Remember that metrics remain an important checkpoint for you and your organization. Without a sense of how you are doing, you might find yourself in the dark about where you can improve! No worries – Informz has many resources at your disposal. For advice about how you can learn more and how you can take advantage of these resources, reach out to your Advisor.