Why You Should Use Adjusted Email Open Rates

New online privacy laws, changes to how information is stored, and changing expectations with your customers about the information collected about them makes gathering helpful user data tougher than ever for marketers.

One of the biggest impacts to data gathering came with Apple's iOS 15 update, which removed a lot of visibility from the emailer's side and added more protections for those receiving emails. It's good for privacy, but bad for visibility.

Luckily, there's a way to capture some of the same data we had before, while still respecting users' privacy. Adjusted email open rate is a better way to gather more accurate email data. 

What is Adjusted Email Open Rate?

Why adjusted email open rate was introduced

Apple's iOS 15 update removed some core email data features for marketers. As a refresher, the update included two core features that impacted data gathering:

  • Mail Privacy Protection - This feature prevents senders from seeing if and when an email recipient opens an email in Apple Mail. It also blocks out any IP addresses so senders can’t determine the location of recipients or any other online activity.
  • Hide My Email - The “Hide My Email” Feature allows users to create unique, random email addresses to use with apps and websites so that their personal email can stay private. This feature is built into Apple and iCloud accounts.

As a result, pulling open rate data is no longer accurate because data from Apple devices is largely missing.

→Read Now: How Apple’s New Privacy Update Impacts Digital Marketing

But there's good news: HubSpot has added a new measurement metric in its email tools called adjusted email open rate.

How adjusted open rate works

HubSpot calculates adjusted open rate for email based on the following formula:

Adjusted open rate = Unique reliable opens / (Unique delivered - Unique unreliable opens)

Reliable opens: the number of times your email was opened by a recipient on a non-Apple device.
Unreliable opens: the number of times HubSpot suspects that your email was opened by a recipient with mail privacy protection set to on (e.g. Apple device). This could be attributed to the actual recipient opening your email, or a bot.
Unique delivered: the total number of unique deliveries of your email.

Please note: since it's not possible to accurately attribute unreliable opens to a bot or an actual recipient, the adjusted open rate is an estimation.

Why You Should Use Adjusted Open Rate

Adjusted open rate is a way to gather valuable open data while working within privacy laws and the limitations of iOS 15. With the adjusted open rate in HubSpot, the information is generated automatically for you with a simple click. You can see in this example from one of our emails that the adjusted open rate finds opens that are missed by looking only at the generic open rate:

HubSpot Adjusted Open Rate in EmailA side by-side comparison of the same email in HubSpot analyzed in two different ways: standard open rate and then adjusted open rate

The adjusted open rate gives us better insight into how all users engaged with the content, instead of ignoring Apple users.


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BizzyWeb is a Minneapolis-based digital marketing and web design agency that helps companies get the high-quality leads they need to grow and thrive. Our tactics include inbound marketing, SEO, advertising, web design, content creation and sales automation. We are an accredited HubSpot Platinum Partner and we offer full-service HubSpot onboarding, enablement and strategy for new and current users.

Dave Meyer
Author: Dave Meyer
Dave Meyer is President of BizzyWeb. Dave has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and communications and has presented digital marketing topics to thousands of people across the US and Canada.