Free Google Chrome Add-On Lets You Track Email Opens


Do you use Gmail, Apple Mail, or Outlook to communicate with your customers and prospects? If so, you’ll want to check this out.

HubSpot, a leading internet marketing firm, has a great add-on for the Google Chrome browser called Signals. After installing Signals, you will be notified whenever someone opens an email you send from a connected account. Sure, there are other mass emailing programs, like MailChimp or Constant Contact, that already provide these analytics; but for the small mom and pop shops who don’t need a mass emailing program, this could be a great tool to give more insight into their prospects and customers. The best part? There’s a free account that lets you to track up to 200 email opens per month. If you need more than this, you have the option to upgrade to a more robust account type for a monthly fee.

How Do They Know?

After installing the plug-in, an invisible image is inserted into any email you send through a connected account. When someone opens the email, the image is downloaded and it triggers an alert to let you know that the person has opened your email.

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A potential problem with this is the fact that many email providers require that a user select to download images in an email they receive as a safety precaution. While this means that the application cannot be 100% accurate, it shouldn’t be a deal breaker – some email clients will automatically download images from trusted senders, and, as Hubspot points out, in the age of email signatures, most email users will be conditioned to download images from a recipient they are familiar with already. Lastly, for those who are thrown off by the “download images” issue, the notification can also be triggered by a link click.

How Does It Work?

Once the app is installed, you can be notified with a desktop pop-up (should you so choose in the settings menu) whenever someone opens your email. You also have access to a handy-dandy dashboard which allows you to manage your account and archives all your activity.

How Can You Use This?

Although I’ve just started using this tool (mainly for verifying whether or not my wife reads the emails I send to her), I feel that it could be a really great add-on for the small business person who uses one of the email clients listed above to communicate with prospects and customers. This gives you access to simple tracking tools like those normally only available in more formal email marketing platforms like MailChimp or Constant Contact.

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Here are just a few ways you could use this:

  • Know who is opening your emails. Then, send tailored follow-up messages to them based on their behavior.
  • Contact a customer with information and then have a sales/support person follow up with that person at a preset time after they have opened the email.
  • Freak your friends out by sending them an email asking them to call you, then calling them immediately when they open it and asking them incredulously, “Why didn’t you call me?!?!?

How would you use this? Let us know in the comments section.

Harry Kierbow

Harry Kierbow

Harry Kierbow is the Director of Social Media for Commissions Inc (CINC), a real estate technology and marketing company. He's played professionally on Facebook (and other social networks) for more than 7 years now, managing campaigns for brands (both big and small) and individuals (also both big and small). Universally regarded as the greatest ice hockey goalie to ever come from Griffin, GA (by his mom at least), you can find Harry between the pipes on the ice rinks of Georgia (yes, there is more than one) or playing with his 2 kids when he's not perfecting social media ads or binging true crime documentaries on Netflix. Connect with Harry on LinkedIn @HarryKierbow.