Recent Interactions

What is the Recent Interaction Panel?

PoliteMail tracks all individual interactions and displays them as they occur within the Recent Interactions panel (lower right side of your Outlook Inbox).  Each of these individual interactions are compiled into the Email Metrics reports for entire messages, campaigns, and/or lists, available from the Track Results button.

PoliteMail keeps a history of all interactions at the individual contact level as well, which may be viewed using the Contact Profile panel, with access to the contact’s entire interaction history by clicking the Edit button.

The PoliteMail Information panel provides you with real-time and historical interaction tracking details.

Conflicts with other Outlook Add-ins

Not all Outlook add-ins are programmed to cooperate with, or share internal Outlook objects.  Conflicts usually present themselves as certain add-in features not working, but may also result in Outlook crashing.  The best method to diagnose a conflict is disable all add-ins, and then enable the add-ins one at a time (just those you actually use) until the conflict presents itself or is resolved. It’s always best to uninstall any add-ins you are not using (many programs, including iTunes, will install Outlook add-ins for no apparent reason).

To Manage Add-ins for Outlook 2007:
Use the Outlook menu Tools > Trust Center > Add-ins (left side menu) > Manage: [ COM Add-ins ] GO (click the Go button at the bottom) and click the checkbox to enable/disable add-ins, then click OK.

To Manage Add-ins for Outlook 2003:
Use the Outlook menu Tools > Options > Other > Advanced > COM Add-ins (button at the bottom of the page) and click the checkbox to enable/disable add-ins, then click OK

How to stop Outlook from marking previews as read

Many people utilize the Outlook preview pane to read their email, personally I set my preview window to the horizontal view (as opposed to the default vertical view).  As you scroll through you inbox, Outlook will mark the email as read (change the icon in the inbox) as soon as the message is displayed in the preview window, even if you don’t actually read the message.

Some clients have asked if this marking as read feature can be turned off, and the answer is yes.
Here’s how to change the setting:

In Outlook 2010:

  1. At the top of your inbox, click on the View menu tab
  2. Click Reading Pane, and then Options
  3. In the options, you may select the option to mark as read after a certain duration of time, or simply uncheck the mark items as read altogether, then click OK

In Outlook 2007:

  1. Use the Tools menu, and click Options
  2. Click Other
  3. Click Reading Pane
  4. In the dialog box, select the option to mark as read after a certain duration of time, or simply uncheck the mark items as read altogether, then click OK, then click OK again

Note for Corporate Users:  As with any Outlook settings, you may use the Group Policy framework to apply default Outlook settings, and push them out to your Group. This could include disabling the preview pane, or turning the marked as read feature off.

I know the email was opened, but PoliteMail didn't track it. How come?

How are opens tracked. And why they may not be tracked 100% of the time.

PoliteMail, like all email marketing software, uses standard web page image tracking to determine *opens*.

An open tells you when your recipient has viewed your message content, either in the preview pane or by double-clicking to actually open the message.  When the content is displayed, the pictures are quickly downloaded from the PoliteMail Server, and that event signals an open.
You may have noticed that gray box with the red-x in some email you receive. This occurs because images are blocked by default in nearly all email programs (including Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, etc).  When the recipient clicks the bar at the top of the message to “download pictures” or “display content”, then the recipient gets the images and the sender gets an open confirmation.

The industry average email open rate is between 10-15%. Most PoliteMail users see rates in the 20-40% range. PoliteMail users sending internal corporate communications (employee email) can see open rates of 100%.

If the sender is on the recipient’s safe sender list (or in their contacts folder), or is sending internal email, then images are displayed automatically and you automatically get the open confirmation.

Therefore an *open* is not really telling you if someone read your email or not. It is telling you who definitely displayed your content. This is still good information, as you know for sure that these people have seen your message, these recipient are more engaged with your email as they have either elected to display images or have you added you to their address book.

Link clicks however, are 100% accurate, and are a much more reliable indicator of interest than opens. If a receipt clicks a link without displaying pictures, PoliteMail is smart enough to also register an open.

What if I don’t include pictures in my email?

If you include an image in your email, like a logo in your signature, then PoliteMail will use that image as the tracking image, otherwise, PoliteMail will include a tiny, transparent tracking image (sometimes called a beacon), and when that image is requested from the server (to display pictures) then you receive the open confirmation.

Considering most people are annoyed by (or completely ignore) read-receipts, this method of open tracking is transparent and requires no additional steps. With PoliteMail you will not interrupt the recipient with an annoying pop-up. However, as people may read the text of an email without displaying images, your open rates may never be 100% accurate.


Why you get higher open rates in corporate environments

If your company uses Outlook and Exchange, email content sent from other Outlook users within the corporation is not blocked.  In corporate communications environments, internal Outlook email can effectively provide you with 100% open tracking.

By default, Outlook does not download external content such as pictures, except when it comes from a Trusted Sites zone or from an address or domain specified in the Safe Senders List. You can change this behavior so that content from any of the zones (Trusted Sites, Local Intranet, and Internet) will be downloaded automatically.
Automatic content download settings can be configured by default for users, or locked down by group policy settings.  To deploy default settings for users, go to the Change Office User Settings page in the Custom Installation Wizard. The settings to customize automatic content download behavior are in the same location in the Microsoft Office Outlook tree in the Custom Installation Wizard as they are in the Microsoft Office Outlook tree in the ADM template viewed in Group Policy.


To configure options for automatic picture download behavior in Outlook

  1. In Group Policy, load the appropriate Outlook template (Outlk11.adm, Outlk12.adm, Outlk13.adm).
  2. Under User ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesMicrosoft Office Outlook 2003Tools | OptionsSecurity, click HTML Mail External Content Settings.
  3. To change a policy for the automatic picture download feature, double-click an item in the Setting column.

For example, to lock down disabling automatic content downloading from all sites, double-click Block all external content.

  1. Click the Enabled radio button to enable configuring the policy.
  2. Select the check box in the policy, and then click OK.

Setting group policy to enable automatic picture download

See also: Adding trusting sites to IE

To improve monitoring and measurement of internal employee email and gain nearly 100% open rates,  company IT or Exchange administrators can set group policy to enable automatic picture download for internal email communications (email sent within your own company domains). Automatic picture download allows PoliteMail to track internal email opens more consistently, yielding more accurate email metrics reporting.

Use the following procedure to configure Junk E-mail Filter options in Outlook 2007. The Outlook template and other ADM files can be downloaded from 2007 Office System Administrative Templates (ADM) on the Microsoft Download Center.

There are two group policy settings that should be made to enable this.

Configuration for automatic picture download behavior in Outlook 2007:

  1. In Group Policy, load the Office Outlook 2007 template (Outlk12.adm).
  2. Under User ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesMicrosoft Office Outlook 2007Tools | OptionsSecurity, click Automatic Picture Download Settings.
  3. Double-click Include Intranet in Safe Zones for Automatic Picture Download
  4. Click Enabled.
  5. Click OK.

Configure Outlook 2007 Junk E-mail Filter settings in Group Policy:

    1. Create a text file “safedomains.txt” available on your network, containing a list of all valid email domains used within your organization. Each domain should be on it’s own line in the format “” (separated by carriage returns).
    2. In Group Policy, load the Office Outlook 2007 template (Outlk12.adm) and go to User ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesMicrosoft Office Outlook 2007Tools | Options…PreferencesJunk E-mail
    3. Double-click Specify path to Safe Senders list, and then specify the path to the domains list you created in step 1.
    4. If appropriate, select Trust E-mail from Contacts, and click Enabled.
    5. If appropriate, select Add e-mail recipients to users’ Safe Senders Lists, and click Enabled.
    6. Click OK.

See also:

How to prevent Outlook from automatically embedding images

If the images you place into a PoliteMail message are getting delivered as files attachments, or your emails (file size) are too large and are taking too long to send, Outlook may be automatically embedding all images.

When you paste images into an Outlook email, or use Outlook’s insert picture command, the image is actually embedded into the email as a file attachment. When sending to other Outlook users these will display as images and not show as attachments, however, when you send to other email programs such as Hotmail, Gmail or an iPhone, the images will show up as file attachments.

The PoliteMail > Add Graphic Image command will solve this issue, by placing the images into your email by HTML reference, instead of embedding them. These will be hosted on the PoliteMail Server, and will display for the recipient when the content of the message is downloaded (automatically, or when the user clicks the download pictures or show content bar at the top of the email).

If you have existing templates with embedded images, the only way to remove them is to 1) replace the images using the PoliteMail > Add Graphic Image command, then cut & paste the entire email into a new message, then resave it as a template.

If, despite using the PoliteMail > Add Graphic Image command, the images are still showing up as attachments, then Outlook may be set to always embed images.

This “always embed images” option was provided by Outlook as a setting in Outlook 2003 (Word editor), but is no longer accessible in Outlook 2007 or 2010, and appears to carry over as the default for new Outlook 2010 installations. With this setting, Outlook will always send images as attachments (whether using PoliteMail or not).

You can prevent this *feature* by making the following changes to the Windows registry:

1.Close Outlook
2.Go to the Windows Start menu, and type in Regedit
3.Follow/open the Mail folder using the folder path tree on the left

NOTE: Use the 12.0 folder for Outlook 2007 or the 11 folder for Outlook 2003

4.If there is no Mail key within the Options folder, then you need to add the key:
Use Edit > New > Key and make one called Mail – this will give you the right folder to open
5.In the Mail folder, use Edit > New > DWORD (32-bit) Value
Type to add the following name exactly with initial caps as shown here: Send Pictures With Document
note the value will be 0x00000000 (0) which is what we want
6.Close Regedit
7.Restart Outlook

Now when you use PoliteMail > Add Graphic Image to your email message, the email will stay at nice small text size, because the images will not be embedded into the email as attachments, but will remain as referenced images.

If you need to edit an existing template with embedded (attached) images, you may want to start from a new template, and copy and paste your content in. Or you may open the template, delete all the images, then re-save it as a template, then re-open it and add the graphic images back in.