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Gmail image changes – an update

Since our last post on the Gmail image changes we have been monitoring the situation, and have made a further update which affects repeat opens for Gmail users.

Gmail

Our tests revealed that the Google image proxy servers are not caching the tracking pixel images themselves, but they are attaching headers which cause the end users browser or email client to cache the image for a period of 24 hours. This means that opening the same message on different browsers, or devices, will record an open event on the first open in each case,  but repeat opens on those devices within a 24 hour period will normally use the cached image. We will not see a repeat open in our tracking.

As mentioned in our earlier post, we did make changes to have the tracking pixel record all opens but this was found to cause an issue with some browsers and email clients. Now that we have determined that the image is not cached by Google, but by the email client itself for only 24 hours, we have restored the original version of the tracking pixel to ensure maximum compatibility.

Gmail now shows images by default

On January 10th, 2014 Google released a new version of its Gmail app for Android devices which has enabled the display of images by default. This was expected given the note at the end of the Gmail blog post that announced images were enabled by default for Gmail web users.  We anticipate that this will roll out to all Gmail mobile app platforms soon so that users with this new feature enabled will continue to grow.

We still currently have no means to record the end user’s IP, Location, Device or Browser for opens but are investigating alternative methods to enable this where possible.

For MessageFocus users this means:

  • More mobile Gmail users will begin to see emails with images enabled.
  • We may not see all subsequent opens and we will not be able to identify devices or locations for Gmail users.
  • Open rates for Gmail contacts will be more accurate.

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