Why have my email metrics and Open Rates dropped since my upgrade?

PoliteMail customers who had been running PoliteMail 4.7x – 4.9x and who had not upgraded PoliteMail versions until recently (2024, version 5.x+) will likely notice a drop in metrics.

If you have not upgraded your instance of PoliteMail over the past three years, your metrics reporting data is inflated and inaccurate!

Why?  Apple, Microsoft, and other email security technologies have changed over time.  The longer you stay on PoliteMail 4.9x or earlier, the more inflated they will be, and the more you will notice the difference (an apparent decline) when you update to PoliteMail version 5.x.

Yes, the Updated Metrics are Accurate!

This is not an error; the newer data from version 5.x is accurate. This means, of course, that the older data was less accurate and became that way over time, particularly for anyone who has not upgraded in over 3 years.

In that time span between upgrades, significant changes have occurred in the core email technology employees use, including Apple Devices and Microsoft Outlook.  Open metrics had been inflating primarily due to these underlying technology changes, which were addressed in various PoliteMail updates made over time.

Apple Mail Privacy Protection (MPP)

Versions 4.9x and earlier of PoliteMail were released before the introduction of Apple's MPP and other similar email proxy services. These technologies will automatically open emails for inspection, thereby artificially inflating open rates, and may leave them open, artificially inflating read times.  PoliteMail 5.x and higher is designed to properly account for these proxy opens, ensuring accurate open metrics.

Outlook Desktop Updates

Outlook Desktop Updates to Microsoft Office 365 and Outlook have changed their prior methods of loading emails and images. Outlook now makes multiple overlapping requests when loading an email. PoliteMail versions 4.9x and earlier were not built to account for multiple open and image requests, which in effect overcounts opens, but versions 5.x filter out redundant requests, improving the accuracy of the data.

Proxy Services

Email proxy and protection services such as Exchange Online Protection, Proofpoint, Mimecast, and other email technologies within an enterprise email environment have changed over time. The use of techniques such as proxy opens, image inspection, URL rewriting, content delivery networks, and other automated security services will generate interactions with an email message and thus generate superfluous data and inflated metrics, unless properly accounted for as PoliteMail 5.x+ does.

What it Means

While it's understandable that communicators would not like to see or report on a “drop” in metrics, the newer versions of PoliteMail make an accurate measure of actual people interaction with an email and have been updated to account for and discount the machine interactions which have been introduced over time to improve the security of email. Having accurate data of actual attention, readership and engagement will help communications teams make better-informed decisions about their email communications.