You know that feeling when an email has been sent and you’re just waiting for a reply?
You start to wonder if the email even got to the recipient. Did it somehow end up in spam?
Then you start to wonder whether you should send a follow-up. Is it too soon? When is it too soon? Are they just busy?
All of these things run through your head. But how do you know if someone read your email on Gmail?
We want people to know when someone has read their email in Gmail, so we’ve decided to add 5 email tracking credits to every free account with Right Inbox.
Thankfully, there are ways to alleviate that worry so you can get on with your workday.
In this article, we’ll look at read receipts, delivery receipts, and image email tracking. We’ll also look at the most elegant solution to this problem.
*** Find out if someone read your email with this FREE chrome extension ***
Method 1. A Read Receipt
Step 1. As you might expect, you need to be in your Gmail account to start.
Step 2. Then, open the Compose window – just as you would if you were sending a standard email.
Step 3. Pop in your recipient, subject line, and the email that you want to send.
Step 4.Don’t click Send yet.
Step 5. If you look to the bottom right you’ll see a More options button. Click that. You then need to choose Request read receipt.
Step 6. Press Send.
Quick note: You will see the read receipts in your inbox, but it does rely on the recipient to approve the read receipt for you to be able to see it.
What is a Read Receipt?
If you are a paid user of Gmail, you can request read receipts. Navigating the settings, you can turn it on or off fairly easily. A read receipt confirms if someone has opened (read) your email.
Pros and Cons of Read Receipts
Understand that using Gmail you are actually requesting read receipts. The end user can easily turn off this feature on their end in Gmail. Therefore, reliability is at risk.
Opt outs make this method hit and miss. The good part of this feature is that you only need Gmail without any third party apps or installations.
Method 2. Using an Email Tracker
With Right Inbox’s email tracker, there is nothing that the recipient has to do for you to know that they’ve opened the email. This feature even tracks if the recipient clicks on links within the email you send.
So how do you set it up?
How to Set up Email Tracking with Right Inbox [5 free credits per/month]
Step 1. Make sure you’re logged into Gmail and then open up the Compose window.
Step 2. Make sure you have the Right Inbox extension installed. Install from the Chrome store for free here.
Step 3. Navigate to the bottom menu and then click the little eye icon at the bottom.
Step 4. You then need to decide whether you want to click email opens, link clicks, or both.
Step 5. You should be able to see real-time notifications of opens and clicks in the bottom left of your compose window.
Step 6. To see more detail you need to head over to your Sent folder on the left of the Gmail navigation.
Step 7. You should see a little checkmark icon in the sent folder for emails that have been opened by the recipient. By hovering over that, you will see how many times that email has been opened, how many clicks links in your email have received, the location where the email was opened, and on what kind of device.
What is an Email Tracker?
An email tracker is software that you can install in your browser to see when someone opens or clicks on an email that you send. From here, you can collect vital information that helps you plan better marketing and communications campaigns.
Pros and Cons
The upsides of email trackers are that they offer robust functionality. Instead of just one feature, you gain insights into analytics, engagement, response times, and other data.
In other words, the bigger picture allows you to more accurately execute on your business growth strategies with email.
A potential downside of email trackers is that most of them require some kind of monetary investment. But depending on your situation, the upsides can far outweigh the downs
Method 3. An Image in an HTML Email
Using an image in an HTML email to see if your email has been opened is more reliable than read receipts and delivery receipts – and they don’t need the recipient to approve the receipt.
But how do they work?
You insert a small image into the email, which can sometimes be invisible – a small white square, for example. When the image is displayed in the recipient’s inbox (i.e., they open the email), data can be gathered. The data is typically the date of when the email was viewed and the time it was viewed.
There are some drawbacks to using the techniques mentioned above.
- Read receipts and delivery receipts often require the recipients to approve them. It’s not uncommon for some recipients to find this practice slightly invasive. You may find that they don’t even read the email.
- Gmail read requests cannot be used on personal Gmail accounts. Unless you’re a Google Workspace user you won’t be able to access them.
- Google will sometimes let the recipient decide whether they want to send the read receipt.
- Using an image in HTML requires a bit of technical knowledge.
So, these methods may not be the most reliable.
That said, Right Inbox provides a more reliable way to track if someone has read your email on Gmail. Here’s how it works.
Method 4. A Delivery Receipt
Read receipts are sometimes called delivery receipts. Microsoft Outlook is the most prominent email client that uses this terminology.
Essentially, delivery receipts are exactly the same as read receipts, so all you need to do is follow the steps outlined above.
Pros and Cons of Each of the 4 different methods
Read Receipt Pros
- This method is relatively fast.
- You can use this method with any email.
- If the user enables read receipts, then you can see if they opened your email without third-party software.
Read Receipt Cons
- Not everyone will enable read receipts on their Gmail.
- It requires extra steps rather than just sending an email.
- It doesn’t have a hundred percent success rate since people can get around the method.
Email Tracker Pros
- It tracks it for you.
- If you have track clicks or track opens enabled already, you can have peace of mind that you’ll know exactly when they open it and the exact time.
- Someone does not have to enable read receipts for this method to work.
Email Tracker Cons
- You have to install third-party software.
- You do have to click a few buttons to enable this feature.
- Someone might feel like you’re invading their privacy.
HTML Image Pros
- No third-party software required.
- You just have to insert a small image that doesn’t take up much space.
- You can see when it was viewed and if they viewed it.
HTML Image Cons
- It’s not the most reliable method.
- You have to have technical knowledge.
- You have to be a member of Google Workspace in order to use this feature.
Delivery Receipt Pros
- You can still see if somebody opened your email using another email service provider other than Gmail
- It works the same as read receipts.
- It’s relatively simple to set up.
Delivery Receipt Cons
- You have to use Microsoft Outlook, which some people don’t prefer over Gmail.
- There is no guarantee that someone is going to enable read receipts, and so you may not see when they opened your email.
- It takes more steps and is not as easy or reliable as using a third party like Right Inbox.
There you have it. While read receipts, delivery receipts, and image email tracking are viable options, they’re often not ideal. Right Inbox provides a super simple and reliable way to know if your emails have been read and how your recipients have engaged with them.
Email tracking is one of our customers’ favorite features. We want people to see the value in email tracking, so we’ve decided to add 5 email tracking credits to every free account. If you haven’t tried Right Inbox, head over to the Chrome store and try it out today.
How to Tell if Someone Read Your Email — Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How to know if your email has been read in Gmail?
You can use one of four methods: HTML, read receipt, delivery receipt, email tracker. Each of the four methods is explained step by step above.
Can you tell if an email has been read in Gmail without a read receipt?
You can use HTML, or better yet an email tracker like Right Inbox. It doesn’t require the user to enable read receipts in Gmail.
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David Campbell is the editor of the Right Inbox blog. He is passionate about email productivity and getting more done in less time.