2023-11-30 8:35 am
2024-04-26 12:23 pm
2024-04-26 12:23 pm

How to See If Someone Read Your Email: A Detailed Guide

This guide offers straightforward methods and tools to learn how to see if someone read your email, including read receipts and third-party tracking options. Discover how to elevate your email communication, whether in sales, marketing, or personal exchanges, by efficiently tracking email opens and engagements. 

In this article, we’ll cover the methods to help you determine if your email has been read and the importance of speedy email communication.

Quick Links:

After reading this article, you'll gain practical knowledge on setting up and utilizing various methods to confirm if your emails have been opened, enhancing your effectiveness in email communication and management.

Let’s get started.

What Are Email Read Receipts?

what are email read receipts?

Email read receipts are trackers you can append to your emails that will notify you when your email is opened and seen. 

Many email services (for example, Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, and other organizations) have email receipt requests within their settings.

How Does Email Read Receipts Work?

When you set email read receipt options as part of your email program, they provide a unique tracking tag to each email you send. You can then request a read receipt through your email service. 

If your email was opened, then the tag will trigger an email tracking notification sending you feedback. This will tell you if your email was viewed at a specific time.

It’s important to note that in some cases, users may need to approve the action, so if you haven’t received a read receipt, that may be why it does not show as “read” in the system.

6 Benefits of Email Read Receipts

6 benefits of email read receipts

Email read receipts are a handy way to track your messages and recipients, especially when B2B prospecting. Here are six benefits to be aware of.

Confirmation of Delivery 

Accounts with read receipts can ensure they know if their emails have been delivered. 

With bounce-back notifications telling you if your emails have been sent to an account that doesn’t exist, read receipts let you know your email got to its destination.

Of course, if you’re just trying to verify the email address, you can do that without sending an initial email

And, even better, if you use a B2B prospecting service to build your list, such as BookYourData, our real-time email verification will ensure that you never hit a dud email address again!


Timely Follow-Ups

We all know that the times you send your prospecting emails are paramount. It’s the difference between your email getting opened and read and your links getting clicks.

Because read receipts can require your recipient to approve them, they are an excellent means to prompt a follow-up. Furthermore, reading receipts allows you to send your own follow-up messages at the appropriate time.

Enhanced Communication

Knowing that your emails are getting where they need to go and being opened, you know what emails work for you and what isn’t. 

Just as with all information that you discover during the research process, use this to craft better emails that get responses.


Delivery receipts give you the accountability of knowing when your emails are being read. This means you can tell when to expect responses, which recipients are cooperative players, and which tend to leave you hanging. 

It also gives you accountability in the form of understanding what is working for you and what isn’t, tracking your reply rate, and whether you are keeping on course with your communication and follow-ups.

Improved Efficiency

If you know your emails are being read, you don’t need time chasing up so many messages. That means you can spend more time doing the tasks required to turn those potential leads into paying customers.

Better Decision Making

Finally, with handy email receipts, you can make better decisions around:

  • Your subject lines
  • The content of your email
  • The times and days you’re sending your emails
  • The perceived benefits to your ideal customer.

These are all key items when it comes to B2B prospecting!

4 Methods to See if Someone Read Your Email

You can use many tools and methods as a sender to track whether your emails are being read. 

Many email services have features and options that can track your emails, and some third-party programs and apps offer their own solutions.

Method 1: A Read Receipt

As we’ve discussed, read receipts are available on most email platforms, though your recipient’s administrator may block this feature or require approval to send a read receipt. 

Read receipts tell you when your email has been opened, but they can’t tell you if it was read closely and absorbed, nor if the email has since been marked as “unread”. 

You should be able to set these up on your desktop computer or your mobile device.

Method 2: Using an Email Tracker

Many third-party programs offer email tracking services to help determine your emails' performance and give you the data to optimize your send-outs. 

With these, you’ll be able to track real-time data (for example, whether it was read but not immediately acted upon or received user engagement) and opening rate and response rates.

Method 3: An Image in an HTML Email

An email tracking pixel uses a single pixel in the HTML code of an email used to track your emails. 

When the email is opened, the reader’s client reads the code embedded in it and follows the link embedded in it, which reports back to you to give you the data you need to know when your email was opened or, indeed, if it was opened.

That way, you know that if you receive a notification, their action triggers an image or pixel load (for tracking tools). This way, you’ll also know if your email was opened multiple times.

However, it’s worth noting that emails containing images (especially as attachments) are sometimes marked as spam.

Method 4: A Delivery Receipt

Delivery receipts tell you when your email was delivered successfully without errors to its location, i.e., it was not bounced back or returned.

While they don’t tell you whether or not your email was opened or was moved to a specific folder or category, and nothing can tell you whether or not the recipient actually read and understood it, delivery receipts can be a helpful tool for knowing if the email address is valid.

Understanding the Types of Receipt Features Available

understanding the types of receipt features available

Read and delivery receipts have a range of features you should be aware of.

Automatic vs. Manual Return Receipt Notifications

You can set up return receipt notifications as automatic or manual request-based. 

Remember that automatic delivery receipts may be blocked by your recipient’s email client or administrator, so you may have to send a manual request for a delivery or read a receipt. 

Exact Time vs. Estimated Time When the Message Was Read

While results may vary, many read receipts will give you the exact time your email was opened. In some cases, you may get an approximate time. 

It’s not particularly relevant because the approximate time will be relatively close to the exact time. However, this can occur when the recipient’s email client version does not refresh automatically or track immediate data.

Setting Up Email Read Receipts for Your Own Emails

Setting up read receipts can be simple, and most email services offer this option.

How to Set Up Read Receipts in Google Workspace

The process is quite simple if you’re using Google Workspace and want to set up read receipts for your users.

  1. Open a new browser window and navigate to Google Workspace
  2. On your Admin Home page, go to Apps > Google Workspace > Gmail > User settings
  3. Navigate to Email read receipts
  4. From here, you can either: 
  • Automatically send read receipts or Prompt the user for each read receipt request — simply move the arrow to the checkbox and tick or untick
  • Allow email read receipts to be sent to any email address (users will always be prompted before a receipt is sent)
  1. Then, click Save at the bottom of the screen.

Bear in mind that any changes you make to apply could take up to 24 hours.

How to Set Up Read Receipts in Other Email Clients

There are plenty of email clients out there, most of which will have the ability to have read receipts enabled. If the client you use is not covered here, check with your particular client for details.


Gmail offers read receipts for business or school accounts that are set up through an administrator. You can request read receipts through Gmail, so they aren’t automatic, but the steps are straightforward:

  1. Compose an email as usual.
  2. In the bottom right-hand corner of your email, click More options > More send options > Request read receipt.
  3. Send your message.

You’ll be notified in your inbox once your recipient has returned the receipt, and any receipt will show as “read” in the system. 


Outlook only has a status update in the email platform when you use Outlook for Windows and not on the web client. However, you can choose how to respond to read receipt requests on the web client.

To set up read or delivery receipts in Outlook for Windows:

  1. On the File menu, select Options > Mail.
  2. Under Tracking, select either of the following checkboxes: 
  • Delivery receipt confirming the message was delivered to the recipient’s email server
  • Read the receipt confirming the recipient viewed the message
  1. Click OK.

Bear in mind that if you use read receipts, try not to send them on every email you send to the same recipient, as it can come across as pushy.


To set up read receipts using ProtonMail:

  1. Click on New message in the left sidebar (just under the ProtonMail icon)
  2. In the bottom-left side of the composer window, click > Request Read Receipt
  3. Send your email.

How to Set Up Delivery Receipts on Major Email Platforms

AOL, Yahoo & iCloud Mail

AOL, Yahoo, and iCloud Mail don’t directly support read receipts; however, since they do support IMAP, you can use another email client (e.g., Mailspring, Outlook Express, Apple Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird) to set up read receipts.


Alternatively, you could look at a service like Mailchimp to manage your emails for you — especially if you’re sending many newsletter-style emails. 

Mailchimp’s system is called open tracking, rather than read or delivery receipts, and allows you to view whether or not your emails have been opened.

Mailchimp analytics include an “opened” and “didn’t open” tab to allow you to check if the email was opened, along with a wide variety of other metrics to track your email performance.

You can view your results in your report Overview:

  1. Click Analytics
  2. Click Reports
  3. Click on the email campaign to view the Open rate and Click rate on the Overview tab.

You’ll also be able to view the total number of clicks and opened emails.

Using Third-Party Options to Track Email Activity

Many third-party services can track your emails for you, allowing you to keep up-to-date and detailed data on open rates and help you A/B test your mailers. In addition, for those looking to enhance their email marketing efforts, consider buying a targeted email list to reach a broader audience more effectively.

Pros and Cons of Using a Third-Party Tracking Tool for Tracking Emails

Third-party tracking can often give you more detail than organic tracking options, as they are specifically designed for such purposes. 

They also keep all your data in one place and present it clearly and accurately, giving you the means to make informed decisions.

On the other hand, third-party tools often require a paid subscription to unlock their full potential, so you will need to weigh the benefits of such a subscription with the monetary cost. 

Further, they require access to your email data and may only be appropriate for some uses.

Popular Third-Party Tracking Options for Tracking Your Recipient’s Activity

A huge range of email tracking tools to help you get the most out of your emails. Each has clear benefits, and some offer more detailed data than others.

EmailAnalytics offers a 14-day free trial and a detailed dashboard to display read rates, opened and unopened rates, whether your email prompted an out-of-office reply, and much more.

Right Inbox is a Google Chrome extension that interlocks with your Gmail to track email data, such as opening rates and response rates.

SalesHandy is a service that works with both Outlook and Gmail to schedule and track emails and their associated data.

Setting up an Individual or Mailing List with a Third-Party Option

You can use third-party tools to set up mailing lists and schedule emails to individuals, making your B2B prospecting more efficient.

If you want to set up a mailing list, you can work with the best and sign up for free with BookYourData

Not only do we have over 500M+ profiles, 250M+ B2B contacts, 30M+ global companies, and 60k+ technologies in our database, but you can be sure that all of our leads are valid and verified.

And we don’t just work with market giants, either — BookYourData is the trusted B2B prospecting choice for startups, too!


What Are the Benefits of an Unlimited Email Tracking Tool?

what are the benefits of an unlimited email tracking tool?

Unlimited email tracking is a phenomenal tool for keeping track of how your emails are working. 

Having accurate details to base A/B testing on, analysis of how your emails are being received, and what might happen to them when they reach their destination is golden information for B2B prospecting.

Real-Time Notifications

Email tracking gives you prompt, accurate data in real-time that allows you to keep track of timelines and make decisions on the fly, with a clear picture of what you’re changing and why.

Improved Follow-Ups

Email tracking can help inform your follow-ups because the detailed data lets you know who is opening your emails and when and that it was not flagged as spam or junk. 

This allows you to prioritize follow-ups and put effort into emails that will provide you with returns.

Enhanced Sales Strategies

Being well-informed about how your emails are received will help you streamline your sales strategies and get the desired results.

Better Time Management

Knowing what works and what doesn’t will free up time by giving you a focused area of improvement and information on what’s getting you results, especially if your email hasn’t been responded to within a set timeframe.

Increased Accountability

Continuous tracking gives you an understanding of what is working for you and what isn’t, tracks your reply rate, and whether you’re keeping on course with your communication and follow-ups.

Insightful Analytics

Of course, detailed data means you can gain valuable insights into how your emails perform in line with your strategic projections. 

This will give you valuable information for future strategies, such as whether or not your email generated a click-through on a link or was accessed from a specific location or device. This can help you hone current strategies for better outcomes.

What Affects Email Open Rates?

A vast range of things can impact the open rates of your emails. 

Subject lines, spam filters, and recognized email addresses can influence the opening rate by controlling the actual person or people on the receiving end or by passing automatic filters.

Understanding general averages for opening rates and aspects like the time of day and subject header can influence your outcomes.

What Can Set Your Emails Apart?

Apart from verifying the receiver addresses you are sending to, the best method of improving the visibility and attractiveness of your emails is to:

  • Devise high-quality and clear subject lines to entice your reader
  • Pay close attention to the time of day and day of the week you send your email
  • Make sure your subject line is short and sharp
  • Address your potential client’s pain points
  • Be sure to personalize by using ice-breakers!

FAQs About How to See If Someone Read Your Email

What are the differences between a read receipt and a delivery receipt?

Read receipts tell you if your email was opened, but not necessarily if the recipient actually read and absorbed the content. Delivery receipts tell you if your email made it to your recipient’s inbox.

How to use read receipts in Gmail?

To set up read receipts in Gmail:

  1. Compose an email as usual.
  2. In the bottom right-hand corner of your email, click More options > More send options > Request read receipt.
  3. Send your message.

Can email recipients decline to send a read receipt?

Yes. Email recipients can either decline to send a read receipt on their own accord or have receipt returns prohibited by their server administrator for security purposes.

In Summary: Key Insights About How to See if Someone Read Your Email

Checking if someone read your email can help you make more informed marketing decisions.

Read receipts tell you if your email was opened, but not necessarily if the recipient actually read and absorbed the content. Meanwhile, delivery receipts will tell you if your email made it to your recipient’s inbox.

It’s easy to set up read receipts in your email platform, and if it’s not available for your particular platform, you can use another desktop email client as long as they support IMAP.

Third-party tools to measure read and delivery rates (along with a broad range of other data) are an excellent investment for B2B prospecting – allowing you to analyze your campaigns and ensure your time, energy, and money are going to the right place.

In addition to email tracking, combining a lead generation platform such as BookYourData can help you achieve ROI very quickly.

You can sign up with BookYourData today and receive your first 10 leads free.



Share with the community.
Back to Top