How to Know If Someone Opened Your Email (Updated 2021)8 minutes read

You have just sent an impeccable email to your prospects and now eagerly await their reply.

As you sit at the edge of your seat, a myriad of questions puzzle your brain; “did they open the email?” “have they ignored it completely?”. Is this something you are experiencing right now? If so, here is a way to keep those questions at bay!

You can start tracking your sent emails this very second. With advanced analytics, knowing if someone has opened or ignored your email can be known in a few clicks. Moreover, the success rate of your email pitch can be assessed accordingly through open, reply and click rate.

According to The Radicati Group, a technology market research company, the average adult will receive 92 email messages per day. So there are high chances people might ignore your email if they don’t know you well. Chances are you might not know whether your recipient opened the email or not. In such a case, having the knowledge of how to know if someone read your email becomes critical.

There are two ways you can establish that, and it will only take a few minutes to get it done:

  • Using an email tracking application/tool.
  • Requesting a return receipt and open – common with most email clients.

In this post, we will be discussing the two methods that guide you on how to know if someone read your email and the best way to increase open rates.

Use these email tracking tools

If you are an employer or are running a business, you might require more than just knowing whether your email was opened or not. Apart from email opens, you might be interested in certain insights or metrics that might shape your strategy or next decision making.

In such a case, learning how do you know if someone read your email or not might need a third party software – an email tracking application. Good news is, these applications offer more features than the native free-to-use email clients. The bad news is, unlike with Outlook read receipt, which is free to use, these are paid services attracting monthly or yearly subscriptions. However, some offer free basics but with limited features.

There are many powerful email tracking tools and applications in the digital world these days. Here are some of them to get you started:

These tools not only tell you if the email was received and opened but also when it was opened. Some of them are the features provided by email clients for the user’s convenience but these features have many limitations which are eliminated when it comes to email tracking tools.

Benefits of email tracking tools

SalesHandy, for example, lets you know how many times your emails were opened or read with real-time double tick email open notification for free along with a desktop notification. You can keep a track of all the bloggers or investors you pitch your ideas to and interact with them according to their interest. You can also track the links in the emails sent. Apart from all these things, SalesHandy also helps keep track of document open and shares so that you can easily measure the success of your campaign.


You will get a bluetick notification in your Gmail sent section itself. You do not have to go anywhere to know who opened your email. You can directly get that data from your inbox.

Real-Time  tracking

Not just tracking, but real-time tracking. You will receive a notification and the tick will turn in to blue in your inbox the moment your recipient opens your email. You can know when is the exact time your email recipients are opening your emails and act accordingly.

Try out SalesHandy in your next campaign, sign up here for unlimited free email tracking and scheduling.

How does email tracking tools track your emails?

All the email tools mentioned above, when used, put a tiniest invisible tracking pixel of 1*1 size to the emails you send using their plugins or software. So, when your recipient will open the email, you will be notified that your email has been opened/read.

Request a Return Receipt

Once you learn how to know if someone opened your email, you might be surprised at the number of people who read your emails and just decide to go mum. Another way, rather than the one mentioned above, to know what really happens to your emails after hitting send is to enable the option to request return/read receipts with the email that you send.

But, you have to bear this in mind: these requests only do half the job. Your recipient might decide to decline the requests. That means you won’t be getting the receipt responses to the emails you sent. Also, there are email platforms though that don’t allow to track whether the emails were opened and read or not.

Let’s take a look at how to activate the receipt features in Outlook and Gmail G-suite platforms:

Outlook email Request Receipt

Outlook allows you to make two requests – whether the email gets successfully delivered and whether it was opened and read.

If you are an Outlook user, here is a quick process you need to follow through if you want to request a return receipt in Microsoft Outlook:

  • Go to the top menu bar and click Option.
  • Once it brings up its sub-menu, check request a Delivery Receipt and Request a Read Receipt.
  • Once your email has been delivered successfully and opened, you will receive a notification, upon recipient’s consent.

(See the image below)

Putting up a Gmail Request Receipt

Google doesn’t allow you to request a read receipt in the free version of Gmail. However, it is possible if you are a premium user (use Google’s paid business cloud software G Suite) and have administrative rights to the platform. This access will help you to know if someone read your email on Gmail.

On the G-suite Admin console, find and activate the radio button at the bottom to turn on reading receipt requests. Otherwise, you may ask the administrator to do it for you.

What can set your emails apart?

You worked hard and did everything to set your email apart. You then learned how to see if someone read your email and implemented it, only to find out that your email open rates are disappointing. What can you do more? How can you optimize the overly optimize emails?

Well, while you were dead set on making your email perfect, there is a possibility that you might have ignored the email subject line.

What’s important in that you ask? It’s the first impression on the person you are emailing and I say that is one of the most important thing about pitching. Making the right first impression.

Here are some of the email subject lines that will make your emails shine brighter:

  • A smarter/better [goal to be reached]
  • I would love it for us to chat about [topic/idea]
  • Here’s a free idea for [topic/problem]
  • Can I help somehow?
  • Just a quick question about [goal/project]
  • Allow me to [what you can apply to resolve a situation]
  • Change your position about teaming up with [your company]?

Source: 20 Best Subject Lines for Cold Emails that are sure to stand out in 2021

All the above subject lines will entice your receipt to open and read your email. So, use them wisely to make sure you get noticed.

Video on how to track an email

Summing it up

You have worked hard to design, write and optimize that email. The last thing you would want is to have it tossed into the bin, or totally to go unread. If you are using the free email platforms, you can always trigger request receipt feature. And, that’s how far it gets.

However, if you need to discover more than which email was opened or not, you need to look elsewhere. Email tracking tools will not only track email, and the link opens but also offers you extra intelligence you need to boost your business and sales. However, most of them are paid, and the free version might come with some limitations.

Over to you

Hope you learned how to know if someone opened your email or not. Please do share with us, which tracking tools are you using? If not, then what are you doing to make your emails stand out?

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By SalesHandy Editorial

A team of technophiles and marketing geeks who love to explore new market trends and follow emails everywhere. Making your emails work for you is their only goal!

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