dark mode email testing graphic

Track Dark Mode Opens with Email on Acid Analytics

Feeling in the dark about whether your subscribers are opening emails in dark mode? Now you can track dark mode opens using Advanced Analytics from Sinch Email on Acid.

Dark mode usage is a popular topic of discussion among both email developers and marketers. Lots of people wonder how popular dark mode for email really is. What’s the big-picture breakdown between people who prefer dark mode vs light mode? Turns out, that’s pretty tough to calculate.

But here’s the thing... a statistic that covers the average doesn’t mean much to you. What you really need to know is how many people on your contact list are opening emails in dark mode.

Why is understanding dark mode usage helpful?

Ask any email developer, coding emails for dark mode isn’t easy. It creates extra work because, as you may have heard, email clients are inconsistent in the way they render HTML and CSS. The dark mode user experience is yet another area of inconsistency.

Some email clients invert the colors used in your email campaigns, and they all do it a little differently. If you aren’t optimizing for dark mode in the inbox, your emails could be unreadable for some subscribers. There are also issues with logos in dark mode as some graphics can disappear against the background in a darker user interface.

It’s highly likely that a significant portion of your list is viewing emails in dark mode. However, knowing how many subscribers prefer dark UX helps you understand how much time and effort you should spend developing dark mode emails.

Introducing dark mode open tracking

Now, when you log in to the Email on Acid application, you’ll notice a new breakdown of email clients in Analytics. In the list of top clients, certain dark mode options will appear separately. For example, you’ll notice how Apple Mail’s results in the screenshot below shows a dark-mode-specific result.

screenshot of numbers depicting dark mode open tracking in email clients
Dark mode open tracking in Email on Acid Analytics

Take note, this is a hypothetical example and does not necessarily reflect a sender’s typical results.  It’s also important to mention that this feature is only available for email clients that support the media query prefers-color-scheme-dark. This is what allows developers to build themes for dark and light mode, and it allows us to track opens in dark mode. Find out more about that dark mode media query and grab some code snippets. See the latest on information on email client support for the prefers-color-scheme query from CanIEmail.com.

You’ll also notice that this user is viewing the Email on Acid platform in dark mode. That, however, is not because we’ve introduced dark mode settings in the app. It’s because we got this screenshot from one of our software developers. Dark mode settings are pretty popular with developers because it tends to make it easier on the eyes when you stare at code all day long.

This brings up an excellent point. Understanding your audience is key. In email marketing, “your audience” is your contact list. Knowing how they prefer to view emails helps you create an ideal inbox experience.

Let’s pretend the graphic above represents real results. In that case, around 50% of this sender’s subscribers are opening emails in dark mode. So, optimizing for those display settings is certainly going to be worth the time and effort.

Back in 2021, we used a pixel tracking hack to conduct a dark mode open tracking experiment. Our developer discovered that as many as 14% of Email on Acid subscribers were using dark mode. We found that about two-thirds were using light mode and another 21% were unknown (the test only worked with email clients using WebKit).

Start testing emails in dark mode

Dark mode email preview in Gmail
Dark mode email preview for Gmail Pixel 5

Let’s say you start to track dark mode email opens and you find that at least 1/3 of your list seems to prefer a dark email interface. That’s enough for your email team to decide that taking on the challenges of dark mode is worth it.

Now, how do you know if you’re optimizing your campaigns for dark mode in the best way possible?

You’ve got to test and preview those campaigns before you hit send.

The Email Previews from Email on Acid cover all the most popular clients. When you’re testing emails on our platform, you can preview emails in dark mode on Apple Mail as well as Outlook desktop clients for macOS and Windows. Plus, you can also preview how dark mode looks on the latest iPhones and with Gmail on Google Pixel phones.  Check out a sample test result right now.

Even though you can’t track dark mode opens in Gmail, with pre-send email testing, you can still preview the dark mode experience for those inboxes and optimize it before a campaign launches.

Find out more about dark mode emails

We’ve got quite a collection of dark mode email content for you to check out. Here are some of our top picks:

While you’re brushing up on the ins and outs of dark mode, the team at Email on Acid will keep working to improve our platform so you'll always put your best email forward. Log in now to start tracking dark mode email opens or sign up today and take advantage of our unlimited testing.

Even Great Emails Need to Be Tested

It’s true: Even well-designed emails can break from time to time. That’s why email testing is an important part of sending a successful campaign. Sinch Email on Acid tests your email code quickly and accurately, allowing you to preview your design across more than 100 of the most popular email clients and devices. Try us free and start delivering email perfection!

Check Out Our Free Trial