Many people might not know this, but nestled inside every promotional email is a hidden pixel, a tiny 1 pixel image that’s the same color as the email background, that serves an important purpose for every email marketing campaign: tracking and collecting user data. Since every image lives in some nebulous server space with a requisite URL, you can use analytics programs to gather tons of important data about those opening your newsletters and promotions, including geographic location, whether you clicked on any links, when you clicked, what you clicked, how long you stayed on the website after clicking, whether you’ve made a purchase within a set time frame of opening the email and clicking a link, etc. All of this is used to collate a pattern of behavior in order to better market and advertise to you via email. Believe it or not, it’s standard practice, and it’s rather ingenious. You only want to receive emails about topics and products relevant to your interests, right? This method of tailoring content based on your consumer behavior ensures relevancy in the long run. For those who don’t want their behavior tracked, there’s always the option of opening text-only versions of emails.
So what happens when you don’t open promotional emails and newsletters? After a while you get taken off the main mailing list and put on a sub-list that will be targeted with a more significant incentive to purchase. This can come in the form of a coupon code, an exclusive but time-sensitive sale, or it can simply be a reminder email asking where you’ve been. If you’re familiar with the email marketing process, it might actually benefit you to open the first few promotional emails you get from a company you’ve signed up with to trigger the tracking pixel, then waiting a few weeks for them to send you a better deal. One of the most important goals of email marketing is customer retention; you might even notice additional incentives thrown your way when you try to unsubscribe from promotional emails!
I’m not trying to discourage anyone from opening promotional emails – not at all! There’s a reason why you signed up for them in the first place! Open the ones you want to keep receiving and unsubscribe from those you don’t want to hear from anymore. Additional Tip: If you didn’t sign up for something but you receive emails from a sketchy source, block them. Clicking the unsubscribe button they provide might only exacerbate your SPAM problem!