cold emailing

How to see if someone read your email - 4 ways to see (for free)

Mihaela Cicvaric
LAST UPDATED
March 22, 2024
READING TIME
7 min.

You targeted the right audience and personalized your cold email, but still aren't getting replies?

There's a high chance that your prospects didn't even open your email.

If you don't know if someone read your email, you won't know whether to follow up and might miss new business opportunities.

In this article, you'll find out how to see if someone read your email so you can track your progress, follow up more effectively, and boost your reply chances!

4 ways to see if someone read your email

1. Request a read receipt

A read receipt is a notification confirming that your prospect received and opened your email.

Read receipts can appear as a pop-up notification when the recipient opens the email, requesting them to give immediate feedback. This method can be much more privacy-friendly, as your recipient will see straight off the bat that you are tracking that information.

Here's how to activate it in different email providers:

How to add a read receipt in Gmail

[  ] Login to your Gmail account

⬇️

Compose a new email

⬇️

More Options

⬇️

"Request read receipt"

add read receipt in gmail

P.S. This option only works for a G-Suite account linked to a business or organization.

How to add a read receipt in Outlook

[  ] Log into your Outlook account

⬇️

Compose a new email

⬇️

More Options "

⬇️

Request a Read Receipt"

how to add read receipt in outlook

Read receipts are a common way to check if your recipient has read or not your email, here are the things we like and dislike about using them ⬇️

PROS CONS
Privacy-friendly Not available in the free version (Gmail)
Useful for time-sensitive proposals Can't be automated

2. Use Chrome extensions

You can use a Chrome extension to track your email open rates.

You can install these extensions directly into your web browser. The extension will then automatically include a tracking pixel within the body of the email.

Once the email has been opened, you will receive a notification where you can also check out when exactly it was opened. Therefore keeping good track of who could use a follow-up and when.

Check out some of our favorites ⬇️

→ MailTrack

how to see if someone read your email with mailtrack
  1. Install Mailtrack read receipts extension
  2. Sends emails normally: Mailtrack will track all your emails automatically
  3. Open your "Sent emails" folder to see the read receipt status
  • One checkmark means your email has been sent but not opened
  • Two checkmarks mean that your email has been opened
  1. Hover the mouse over the checkmarks to know exactly when and how many times your email has been opened

→ Free Email Tracker by cloudHQ

how to see if someone read your email with free email tracker
  1. Install the cloudHQ Chrome extension from the Chrome Web Store
  2. Open your Gmail account and compose a new email
  3. Click on the "Track" checkbox at the bottom of the email compose window
  4. The Free Email Tracker will automatically track when your email is opened and provide real-time notifications
  5. To view the tracking details, open your Sent folder and click the "cloudHQ" button next to the email you want to track

→ Email Tracker by Mailtag

how to see if someone read your email with mailtag
  1. Install the Email Tracker - Mailtag Chrome extension from the Chrome Web Store
  2. Open your Gmail account and compose a new email
  3. Click on the MailTag icon in the compose window's bottom-right corner
  4. Click on the "Track" checkbox to enable tracking for your email
  5. The Email Tracker 2.0 will automatically track your email's opening and send real-time notifications
  6. To view the tracking details, go to your Sent folder and click the MailTag icon next to the email you want to track

While Chrome extension are very easy to use and require little to no set up, they still have their downsides.

PROS CONS
Recipients won’t be bothered with popup notifications Can be blocked
Requires minimal set-up Dependent on the browser

3. Use email automation software

The best way to track your campaign performance is by using email automation software, such as lemlist.

It allows you to send, manage, and track all your campaigns from the same spot, which saves you hours of manual work and boosts your outreach efficiency.

In a single interface, lemlist users can see:

how many leads received their emails, how many opened, clicked, replied, and how many are interested

data for LinkedIn steps: how many invites (or connection requests) were sent, how many LinkedIn profiles they visited, and how many messages were sent

if API steps are included in a campaign, they will also appear in the results

lemlist reporting

You can also switch to the negative metrics of your campaigns to access the number of emails that bounced, the number of leads that are not interested, and how many of them unsubscribed.

These metrics can help you spot any deliverability issues and take steps to ensure your emails always land in your prospects' inboxes.

lemlist negative metrics

Tracking these metrics is important, as that's how you'll see if your campaigns are successful.

Your metrics will give you insights into what you should change to improve your results.

PROS CONS
Detailed insights into all your metrics Overreliance on metrics
All information in a single interface Recipients won't know metrics are being tracked

You can test it out for free and always know your campaign status to approach your prospects best and boost your replies.

4. Use an HTML image tag

A useful method for all coding pros out there is using an image tag in an HTML email.

Image tags in HTML can work as email tracking pixels, meaning that once the email has been opened the image will automatically be downloaded, and will send a notification to the sender tracking the date and time of when the recipient opened the email.

Image tags and Chrome extensions work in a very similar way, except that with image tags you have to embed the code directly within the body of the email.

If you’re worried about affecting your overall message or you’re just not a big fan of using images, don’t worry. Your image can be a small white square so it becomes invisible.

Source: Ryte.com
PROS CONS
No recipient approval required Prior coding knowledge is required
Reliable method Recipient data can be collected if you fail to use proper encryption

There are a few tips you should keep in mind to ensure that you’re not violating your recipient's privacy or risking your own information:

  • Use end-to-end encryption
  • Disclose tracking
  • Only track relevant activity (date and time the email was opened)

Key takeaways

Tracking if someone reads your email helps you plan your follow-up approach to increase your chances of getting a reply.

For example, you can test different subject lines if your prospects don't find the current one catchy enough to open your emails.

But remember that the open rates aren't the only thing that should define the overall success of your outreach.

Check out what other metrics to track if you want to boost your outreach results and open new business opportunities. 🚀

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you tell if your email has been read without a read receipt?

Yes, there are a few more methods you can use to track if your emails have been read or not. Our personal favorite, you guessed it, are automation tools. In a single interface, you can keep track of all your relevant metrics, such as opened emails among others.

Will the recipient know if I request a read receipt?

Yes, the recipient can receive a popup notification requesting them to give immediate feedback. Some users find this intrusive and annoying.

Is tracking read emails ethical?

Yes, if done correctly, tracking read emails is ethical. However, if you border on intrusive or do not do your set up correctly (particularly with image tags) you could bump into privacy issues.

Can email tracking be blocked?

Yes, recipients can block the automatic downloading of images which will seriously impact the collection of data using image tags and/or Chrome Extensions.

Why is tracking open rates important?

It is important to keep track of what emails have been opened in order to plan a follow-up strategy accordingly. It would make little to no sense to barrage your targets with an endless string of emails if they’re not opening them to start with.

You will also be able to judge if there is an issue (in your writing or deliverability) and adjust accordingly to ensure that you have successful campaigns.

Mihaela Cicvaric
Content Marketing Manager @ lempire | Sharing everything you need to get replies to your cold emails
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Multichannel Expert

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Per user / 5 SENDING EMAIL
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Email finder + verifier (500 credits/mo)
500 free credits per month
Linkedin prospection
LinkedIn voice notes
with Aircall
Cold calling prospection with Aircall
with Aircall
Advanced campaign conditions
Custom landing page
Premium support chat

Outreach Scale

$
144
/ MO
Per user / 15 SENDING EMAIL
Everything in Multichannel Expert
Email finder + verifier (1,000 credits/mo)
1000 free credits per month
Dedicated account manager (4+ seats)

More than 10 users?

Multichannel Expert

$
79
/ MO
Per user / 5 SENDING EMAIL
Everything in Email Pro
Email finder + verifier (500 credits/mo)
500 free credits per month
Linkedin prospection
LinkedIn voice notes
with Aircall
Cold calling prospection with Aircall
with Aircall
Advanced campaign conditions
Custom landing page
Premium support chat

Outreach Scale

$
129
/ MO
Per user / 15 SENDING EMAIL
Everything in Multichannel Expert
Email finder + verifier (1,000 credits/mo)
1000 free credits per month
Dedicated account manager (4+ seats)

More than 10 users?

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