UPDATED: October 2018
We have recently added the Contacts Segments tool that allows you to create a list of contacts that did not open any of your last 5 emails, a specific email, or any email. Please click here to learn more about using our Segments feature.
The information below is out of date.
I am the new product manager for customer facing reporting and analytics. I am aware how large of a pain point this topic is. We are addressing this and will have a solution in mid 2012. We will be implementing new technology that will allow us to track "did not opens" as well as several other highly requested items.
I apologize for the length of time that this will take, but we are working on it. In the meantime we have this workaround which is the best way to know who didn't open an email. I feel it is important to understand the way that we know if one of your contacts has opened an email is by tracking the display of a very small transparent image embedded in the email. This means that if your recipient has "block images" enabled we will not acknowledge that they opened the email unless they click on a link in your message. This is the industry standard method for tracking emails.
Please let me know if you have any suggestions on how we can improve the workaround until we are able to release the new feature.
Congratulations on your position, and to CC on finally taking the issues in this thread, and reporting and analytics, seriously.
Like many of your other customers in this thread I have been with CC some years now.
One of the chief reasons to stick is to develop a database of my customers' behavior. The reasons are many, and important. Here are just two:
One, it would be really nice to be able to reward my loyal readers, don't you think?
IF I could find them, without tedious work,and IF I could go back more than just 90 days?!! (length of opens stored).
Second, it would be VERY nice if I could find out whether the people who are dropping(unsubscribing) are newbies to the list, oldtimers, in between, or what. (what's their reason/disappointment? Yes, I can survey, and no, they don't respond in any numbers that would allow meaningful analysis.
At present, when a subscriber "unsubscribes" the unsubscribe date OVERWRITES the date that subscriber was added. THE DATA IS LOST! FOREVER!!
So even if I export the data to Excel, I see...NOTHING but the date the subscriver left!
This is crazy! What's the point of having a db if, by design, it deletes some of the most elemental data beyond the contact info? I Don't mean to go on, but this has been driving me nuts for years now.
Is this anywhere on CC's radar as a "must fix"?
These two are such basic metrics I am astounded CC ignores them. Perhaps in those days delivery was all that mattered.
Let me tell you, it's a different world today. Please let me know if and when CC will conclusively satisfy these needs.
This is the exact kind of information I am looking for. :smileyhappy: In the years I have spent with small businesses I have learned to value your time above all else and if I am going to deliver information then I want it to lead to an action that creates more business for you or saves you time.
I can say that your 1st ask for the history of a customer's interaction beyond 90 days is due around the same time as the did not opens report. Again this is all due to how we store and retrieve information which is being greatly improved. As for your 2nd ask I will look into it and see what is happening.
Please keep the suggestions coming and the more details about how you are using the information the better!
AS to how I would use the information, for the first issue, opens over 90 days, by cross referencing the report data with my sales data, I could find new readers who are buying, long time readers who are buying, regular readers who aren't buying anything, and so on. I could then address offers specifically to these different groups, and hopefully be better able to serve them.
Also, I think, depending on the format of the reports, I could find people who have been on my list for some time and sort them by frequency of opening, and address those groups specifically, and more gently and less intrusively than a "please resubscribe" request.
As to the second matter, I could start to answer a question that is really bugging me. While my unsubscribe rate has really climbed over the last two years, I can't tell where in my demo I'm losing them. Is it when they first subscribe, or after some time? If after some time, how long? For instance, knowing this data, if I found that the average drop out was at six months, I could start special efforts to re-enthuse these folks before they drop out.
It seems the technical solution would be as simple as having a separate date field for "unsubscribe". Naturally, that would increase the size of your database, but storage is awfully cheap, and the value to your long term customers would be substantial.
Thanks for your interest in these questions.
Thanks again Tom for the great info! There is certainly something wrong (in my opinion) with how the export of data works since I would not have expected that the unsubscribe date would overwrite the date the contact was added. I would expect both fields to be available. So I am looking into what can be done to fix this sooner.
In the meantime, that date is stored in the Contacts -> Removed Contacts and pulling up an individual contact shows the date that they were added, last updated, and removed date. I know this is certainly not a great solution since it would take a lot of time to go through all your removed contacts but you could at least get a sample.
I understand and am very sorry for your frustration, Sam. But the best I can do for you and all our customers is to be honest in the date when we will have this feature. There is also a workaround in place that I am more than willing to improve on if you have any suggestions. If this solution is not acceptable to you and you would prefer to take your business elsewhere then I understand.
Constant Contact's commitment to understanding the needs of small businesses and nonprofits and delivering products that lead to their success was the most important deciding factor in my choice to come work here. In the three months since I have started, I have been reassured each day of everyone's commitment to this mission – from the brilliant engineers I work with to the empathetic sales and support staff that I overhear each day delivering an outstanding experience to everyone that contacts us.
I recognize that we have fallen short on some of the features of the products, and we are working hard to improve those. However, I am certain that when you evaluate the entire package of what we offer compared to others, I am certain that you could not have a better partner than Constant Contact who is dedicated to making you successful.
I will get off my soapbox now.. thank you for listening (err... reading). :smileyhappy:
Well, I had similar questions about tracking open e-mails (my list is just over 5,000) and have now read all the posts on this thread. I am very encouraged by the reasonable answers recently post by Jonathan. I have over 35 years experience in IT and his responses sound like they come from a true professional (I cannot say the same for the prior posts from other CC staff in this thread... they sounded like 'B' team responses to me... good but not great!). Good luck Jonathan... I look forward to your improvements in 2012... BTW, can you also fix the KLUDGY editing features for e-mail marketing, it's a PITA.
So, until improvements are made, here's my take on managing e-mail lists:
1. Do not trust the 'open' statistics... they are not accurate and can only be used as a relative guide to your previous mailings.
2. Do not believe the 'Bounce' statistics... I do not think they are 100% based upon limited testing on my part... Jonathan, I would appreciate your comments on this item.
3. Trust your customers to delete themselves from the lists until the above two items get addressed.
4. In terms of cost: That is dependent upon the individual business model and their expectations. For my business (a restaurant), a penny or two for a monthly mailing is a very good deal... sure beats snail mail... and I have no plans to change vendors given that all services are not fully mature from a technical viewpoint and Jonathan's posts give me hope that CC might now have a solid technical leader with common business sense.
So, that's my 2 cents.
Although not ideal I thought I would just share what I have done to work around all of CC's frustrating lack of functionality. Thank you to the post warning everyone about Confimed Opt-in Emails via CC as I was potentially going to look into that until I also found out you get one email to that list and they are in or out permanatly , as I had asked if I could send multiple confirmations to a list to try and weed contacts out over time.
So basicallyI tried to make my own confirmation email. First I have been exporting my list of opens over the past few months (reminder - CC only keeps the past 3 months - lame) so that I would have a historical list of who has opened my emails according to CC. Next I exported my complete contact list. I opened my compiled "Openers" list and colored them green in excel. I then copied these contacts into my complete list excel file and sorted them. Manually and painfully I went through and deleted all the green cells with their match so that I ended up with a list of "non openers". So now I had two excel files, one of openers, and the other of openers.
Next I imported these lists into CC and deleted my default contact list, leaving me with two new lists.
So now I created a new contact list called "Confirmed customers" and made this my default list so its also where people who filled out my subscribe form would wind up. (I may be different in that my contacts come more from other web leads and opt-ins then those who directly fill out the "subscribe to newsletter form")
Thats pretty much the difficult work (thanks CC!)
So now I have created a series of email confirmations myself requesting people to "Re-Join My List". I suggest going through the process yourself just to see what it looks like. But when a current subscriber clicks to join they just have to go in and re-submit their information. HOWEVER because I made a new default list, when they re-submit their information they are putting themselves on my "Confirmed Customers" contact list. Once they do that they end up on both my "Confirmed Customers" list and my "non openers" list, so I go in and remove them from the "non-openers" list, thus keeping both lists clean and separate.
Here is one of the emails I sent in case you want to see it: Confirmation Email #2
So hopefully after a series of these emails I will haveany one I thought to be a "non openers" confirm their emails for me without the permanacy of CC's Confirmation Opt-In email and the inability to send multiple confirmation emails. And then when my series of confirmation emails are done I will simply delete my "non-openers" list lessening the funds I have to send monthly to CC.
I am not sure if this is the best solution, but it is A solution and am sharing purely because of that. Thank you CC for making it simple to keep my list clean!
Also if anything was confusing and needs clarification just let me know.
I have forgotten......even though I was told: How To
I do NOT like CC's New Editor! The old one was MUCH BETTER in every way!
I got a phone call from a CC Support Person who told me how to switch back to the Old Editor? But of course? I have forgotten How To Do It?
Can someone here tell me how to Switch Back to the Old CC Editor?
Sam in Henderson of www.HOA1234.com