Are Open Rates a Thing of the Past?

Published On: May 26, 2022

…so, what do we do now?

With the increased adoption of iOS15, it is not surprising that clients are seeing an artificial increase in open rates. However, these false opens extend beyond just iOS15 and have become the new norm across many of the top email clients, ISPs, and operating systems.

After evaluating more than 100 million emails deployed over the last 5 months Personica uncovered that ~95% of opens are not true opens that can be tracked to a member actually opening an email.

  • ~78% of Opens are pre-loaded by iCloud Private Relay, this is from the changes made in iOS15.
  •  ~15% of Opens are pre-loaded by Gmail Image Proxy, which loads an email (triggering the tracking pixel to load, which is how opens have traditionally been tracked) to search for spam links or other suspicious items within an email.
  • 2% of Opens are pre-loaded by Verizon/Yahoo Image Caching similar to Gmail Image Proxy.

While our findings have confirmed open rates are no longer a reliable measurement for evaluating campaign success or member engagement, there are other ways to measure engagement. One way this is being done is through a strategy of measuring link clicks in place of opens for evaluating the conversion of emails and the success of an email campaign. 

How to get Real Opens

While the focus has shifted from open to clicks, this does not diminish the importance of following subject line best practices. In order to get a click, a “Real Open” needs to occur and an engaging subject line can help get a real open. It is critical brands not only implement general subject line best practices but continue to subject line a/b testing to determine what works best with their customers.

Instill Curiosity

Use teaser language that instills curiosity, but don’t be too vague.

Provide Incentive, Promote Action

Tease offer (or mention directly if rich offer). If no offer, still use action words that inspire and instill a sense of urgency and incentive. 

Short and Sweet

Focus on the composition of the first 2-3 words. Keep your character count under 50. Utilize preview text for more context.


Make the member feel special and unique. Utilize first name, but be sure the name flows well within the subject line. Also, use segmentation when possible.

Avoid Spam

Keep consecutive capitalization and punctuation to a minimum. Many marketers use emojis; only use them when the context makes sense. 

Call to Action Best Practices

Getting recipients to click on a call to action (CTA) in your campaign is often the primary action that you want your recipients to take.  Whether the CTA is a link to a new seasonal menu, an offer code, or a banner for online ordering, the tips below can help you increase conversions and get your recipients to click.

Quick tips

  • Keep the campaign design and any animation simple and easy to understand
  • Make design decisions to help the CTA stand out to maximize conversions
  • Point (literally) to the CTA using the campaign copy and images

Create Urgency

If you have a limited offer or if your campaign is time-sensitive, use it to your advantage with a CTA that raises the sense of urgency. People hate to miss out. Use CTA copy that lets your recipients know that they must act now to enjoy the benefits.

Use Contrasting Colors

Take a look at your design and choose a button color that will stand out. Make sure the button color pops without clashing with the background and text colors. The goal is to make it cohesive while still ensuring the CTA is the most noticeable color in the email.

Less is More

If you have too much clutter in your design the CTA will be hard to find no matter how bright or how big. Think about the negative space in the design. Make sure there is enough white space around your button to avoid any visual noise.  Be mindful of the length of “scroll time” it takes for a guest to navigate through the body until they find the CTA.

Try Adding Directional Cues

Many people have found success by adding arrows that point to the CTA. While this is a good way to draw your readers to the button, it might also be distracting to the content. A more subtle technique is to use imagery that points to the CTA.

 60+ Call to Actions

CTAs that encourage a purchase

  • Shop now
  • Shop our fall features
  • Buy now. Get 50% off.
  • Act now
  • Save today
  • Buy now
  • Buy it today
  • Yes! I want one.
  • Order now
  • Repeat your order
  • Claim your coupon
  • Reveal my mystery coupon
  • Start saving today
  • Don’t delay. Save now.
  • See your hand-selected deals
  • Get 50% off now
  • Free delivery
  • Order Online

CTAs for the holidays

  • Find holiday gifts
  • Shop Santa’s favorites
  • Order now. Get it before Christmas.
  • Spread holiday cheer
  • ‘Tis the Season. Donate now.
  • Claim your birthday coupon
  • Yes! I want my birthday deal.
  • Our gift: 15% off

CTAs for content

  • Learn more
  • Read more
  • Download now
  • Get the app
  • View Details
  • View Menu
  • Get Catering
  • Find a Restaurant
  • Locations
  • CTAs for video
  • Watch now
  • See the crazy video
  • Hear from our CEO
  • Hear our story
  • See the difference you make
  • Make a Difference

CTAs for events

  • Reserve your seat
  • Book your tickets
  • I’m coming!
  • I’ll be there!
  • Count me in!
  • Book now for early bird prices
  • Save me a spot
  • RSVP Now
  • Enter Prize Draw
  • Enter Contest

CTAs for Account Upgrades

  • Register Now
  • Upgrade now
  • Yes! I want a free upgrade.
  • Sign up and save
  • Sign me up
  • Download our App
  • Make me a VIP
  • Upgrade “FirstName”

CTAs for Reservation

  • Book your next reservation
  • Reserve your table
  • Reserve Now
  • Reservations
  • Visit Us

CTAs to collect feedback

  • Take a survey
  • Leave a review
  • Give us your feedback
  • Let us know how we did
  • Tell us more

CTAs for social media

  • Follow us
  • Stay connected on social
  • Like us on Facebook
  • Stay in touch
  • Get connected
  • Connect with us!

After all of this, there is good news.  Email marketing is as valuable as ever.  We just need to lean in to our other KPI’s and keep testing and learning.  By understanding more about your guests you can deliver higher quality messaging that will result in greater engagement – – which can drive visit frequency and increase average spend.  So keep doing what you do well and always strive to improve.  And if Personica can be of any assistance, reach out and let us know.  We’re here to help restaurants succeed!


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