email developers code in dark mode

DIY Email Hack: How to Track Dark Mode Opens

Without a way to track dark mode opens in email, how do you know if it’s worth the time and effort to optimize campaigns for darker settings?

Finding a way to track dark mode opens was a common question from email geeks during Darktober (our month-long exploration of all things dark mode). Ed Ball, our master of the email dev universe, decided to take on the challenge.

He came up with a method using Email on Acid’s Analytics that we’re ready to share with everyone.

The Dark Mode Pixel Hack

Ed’s Dark Mode Pixel Hack uses analytics tracking pixels from our email readiness platform combined with the CSS query:

@media (prefers-color-scheme: dark)

This query works with email clients using WebKit as the rendering engine, which includes Apple Mail and Outlook for Mac.

We used Ed’s hack to run tests and track opens during the last few months of 2020. In some cases, as high as 14% of opens occurred in dark mode. View an infographic to see the full results of our dark mode experiment.

While light mode will always be the most-used option, dark mode’s popularity is likely to grow. What if more than 10% of your list views email in dark mode? You’ll want to keep that in consideration so you can create an optimal experience for all subscribers.

Knowing if your customers use dark mode helps email teams understand their target audience. It also informs email strategy and guides designers and developers as they build campaigns. Then, you can start testing emails in dark mode before you hit send.

Find out how to track your dark mode opens

Download Ed’s step-by-step guide for implementing The Dark Mode Pixel Hack in one of your upcoming campaigns!

In order to use Email on Acid for this method, you’ll need access to Analytics, which comes with Premium plans and higher.

Happy Hacking and Tracking!

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