Email is the most used form of communication for businesses, with a collective 2015 billion emails sent in 2015 alone. It is estimated that users will exchange around 246 billion email messages in 2019, meaning that this form of communication will not slow down anytime soon.
Unfortunately there is a downside to using email as senders use web beacons, which is tracking objects in an email or web page, to collect information about the recipient. This is done by embedding one-by-one pixel images in the header, footer or attachment of the email. The image is then downloaded from a web server that collects information, including personal data.
By clicking on the links embedded in the email, users are subjected to more invasive forms of tracking, like tracking your web history to build a picture of your preferences. What might shock you as that this is all legal. Marketers are not required to disclose the use of tracking technologies and Google even has a support page to guide advertisers through the process.
Marketers have argued that email trackers are helpful to recipients as they use the data to send more relevant messages, even though most people are opposed to being monitored online. There are ways to combat tracking, some email providers have settings that will disable trackers, or you can click ‘no’ when asked to display images.