Email Tracking

Is it possible to track email sent via PHPMailer without using the remote image loading technique?

I would like to be able to indicate when the email was opened.

a nudge in the right direction will be appreciated.

A hidden image is usually how you do it. I would suggest that you use a service such as sendgrid, if you’re doing anything serious with your outbound mails. Not only do they give you a lot of tracking information, but they also keep track of spf records, domain keys and whatnot to ensure that your mails don’t end up in a spam filter.

In order to use an image, I will need make use of html emails.

Is there a way to track text emails?

Not that I know of. But most clients can read html mails, so just send them as such. You don’t have to use any actual styling, so they will still appear as text mails to the user.

Tracking email open rates without downloading something from the server isn’t really possible - the 2 ways would be a read recipt, and how many times do you ignore / say no to those? not reliable at all.

Or using a 3rd party element of data - a remote image and doing the tracking here. You can’t do this with text emails however… i’m going to say tracking text emails just won’t happen.

Many email clients block downloading of images anyway, at least they ask user if they want to download remote images. I usually never click OK to that prompt and just keep reading most html emails without images.

If I can read the text of html, I figure why bother downloading images at all, knowing that images I download will most likely result in tracking when I opened that email gives me good reasons to just stick to this habit and never download images.

Generally users don’t like being tracked and when you know that users don’t like something and still force it upon them is a bad business. “Don’t upset your users” is the golden rule!