Open Rate? Render Rate?
The EEC is pushing the term render rate to replace the term open rate. In addition to changing the name the EEC is attempting to standardize how the render rate is calculated. Loren McDonald, co-chair of the EEC Measurement Accuracy Roundtable posted his views on the discussion today. He presents 3 reasons why we should care about using render rate.
- Inaccurate: The open rate has become extremely inaccurate because disabled images, use of preview panes and HTML-unfriendly mobile devices lead to an underreporting of the true number of opens. Fellow eec Roundtable member Morgan Stewart has done analysis across several ExactTarget clients and estimates a typical underreporting of from 5% to 35%. Meaning a measured 30% open rate is actually from 31.5% to 40.5%.
- Inconsistent: It’s inconsistent, because different email service providers and marketing software providers calculate and report it differently. Among other things, some providers incorporate a click on a text message or HTML email where the tracking image has not loaded in their open rate calculations, and many others don’t.
- Misused: It’s being used to assess how well a message performed. The open rate, even putting aside its inaccuracies, does not tell you how well an email performed. It does tell you how well the combination of your “from” name, subject line, brand reputation and potentially preview-pane copy/images motivated recipients to open their email.
As he says, irrefutable. The problem is, his 3 points don’t actually tell me why I should care. What is his end goal in trying to change the term and define a standard? What value is gained by changing the term and forcing organizations to calculate the render rate the exact same way? Does this tell a marketer anything more than A/B testing will? Does it more accurately reflect the effectiveness of a campaign than the dollars per campaign? Does it improve conversations and decrease confusion in the real world?
More power to the EEC for trying to herd this particular group of cats. I just wish I had a better understanding of why they thought this was so important.