Engagement Tracking

The Engagement Tracking feature allows you to detect how email recipients are interacting with your messages.

Engagement tracking detects opens, link clicks, and unsubscribes.

DNS Setup

1. Log into your DNS provider for your sending domain.

2. Create a subdomain. 

3. Point a CNAME for that subdomain to tracking.socketlabs.com.

For example, if you create email.example.com as the subdomain for example.com, the following CNAME record would need to be configured:

email.example.com CNAME tracking.socketlabs.com

This record tells DNS systems that when looking up email.example.com, they should redirect and look at the records for tracking.socketlabs.com.

Modifications to DNS settings can take up to 48 hours to propagate, but generally will propagate within minutes.


Add the subdomain to the SocketLabs Control Panel via  Configuration -> Advanced Authentication.   Then, set the events you want to track, allow Google Analytics, add encrypted tracking, or optionally turn off automatic tracking.

Normally, email messages require specific tags in their message bodies in order to utilize any of the Engagement Tracking events. Information on the syntax used when manually requesting these events can be found in this article. Alternatively, Open and Click events can be automatically inserted into messages without requiring any special syntax in the message body. This feature can be turned on by using the 'Automatic Tracking' option. Unsubscribe event syntax cannot be automatically inserted.

Encrypted Engagement Tracking

Customers on any paid service plan may enable the "Encrypted Engagement Tracking" feature.  To turn this feature on, navigate to the Engagement Tracking section on the Advanced Authentication page, open the dropdown caret next to the domain, then click the slider next to "Encrypted Engagement Tracking" and Save.

When this feature is enabled, SocketLabs will automatically generate a Let’s Encrypt™ SSL Certificate on behalf of the engagement tracking domain. Messages that process once this feature has been enabled will use links in the message body that begin with "https://". This feature can help ensure your domain remains compliant with any published HSTS policy. For more information about this feature and eligible plan levels please contact SocketLabs Support.

The Limitations of Engagement Tracking

The Engagement Tracking system is designed to keep track of every interaction including the number of opened messages, clicked links, and requests to be unsubscribed. However, the tracking of Opens, Clicks, and Unsubscribes has some limitations based on the way email and the technologies behind this feature work.

Our tracking technology is also set up to prevent caching. This means that if a message is opened multiple times, the Engagement Tracking report will show each open as an individual event and there may be multiple interactions per message sent.

Unique Engagement Tracking Events

If you would like to view how many of your messages were opened at least once, on the Engagement Tracking Report page you can select the "First Events Only" item in the drop-down "Options" menu. This will factor out any clicks, opens, or unsubscribe requests that occur more than once per message sent.

The following details should be taken into consideration when using the Engagement Tracking feature:


Opens will only be registered if:

  • The email message is HTML
  • The recipient reads the email in an HTML reader
  • The recipient's mail reader does not disable the loading of remote images.
  • This limitation is due to how open tracking works. Open tracking causes a tracking image to be inserted into the HTML body of each email to be tracked. The tracking image is transparent so it is not visible to the recipient. When an email message is opened and loads its contents including the tracking image, the image is pulled from our server and the email message can be considered to have been opened. 


Clicks will only be registered if the email message is HTML. Click tracking causes each link to be tracked to be rewritten to point at a SocketLabs On-Demand server. When a user clicks on one of these links, our service records the click action before redirecting the user to the original link, which allows us to determine when a link has been clicked.


Unsubscribe links require confirmation before they are processed, so any user that clicks on an unsubscribe link but does not confirm the action in the resulting page will not be marked as unsubscribed. This is meant to prevent accidental unsubscribes from software that may visit links automatically, such as virus scanners.

False Positives

Open and Click events are both susceptible to false positives due to software such as virus scanners automatically scanning links and images used in email messages.

How We Calculate Engagement Rates

To calculate the Open Rate, Click Rate, and Unsubscribe Rate we divide the number of those events that occurred in the selected time frame by the number of messages sent. It is for this reason that percentage rates in the Engagement Tracking Report may sometimes be over 100% for messages with high rates of engagement.