There must have been something in the air this past week.  It seemed like every time I turned around there was some discussion of measuring only unique statistics from different email metrics; most recently over at the

I’ve got to tell you, I’m a bit surprised at the number of people that look only at unique email activity when reviewing their email stats.  And my response is starting to become a little deja vu….

It helps to understand that email metrics are tied to individual email records.  Regardless if one tracks by any other method, it still maps back to an email address.  Many marketers must think that because all metrics are associated to an email address that more than one render/open or click registered to that email address are just extra numbers that get in the way. 

So back the deja vu part….  As I’ve said several times over the past week or two and commented at the;

If I “open” a message and forward it to 9 friends, total “opens” tagged to my email addy will show 10 renders/opens. All 10 renders/opens are unique, but you can’t know that w/out tracking renders/opens by IP address. And what if each of the 9 people I forwarded to forward it to 9 of their friends?

With all of the talk of measuring Social Media and those that think email isn’t “social”, marketers that are only looking at unique statistics are ignoring the some of the “social” measurements of email.  At this point we’re not associating actions and activity with an IP address, so the marketer doesn’t know if the recipient;

  1. is a freak for their email messages and opens them over and over and over just to feel closer (sounds a little stalker-ish to me), or;
  2. felt strongly enough about the message to send it to their friends who may have in turn sent it to their friends

If the latter then maybe some of those recipients might be your Email Social Influencers, don’t you think? 

And if the ESP tracks renders/opens by email addy + IP, then, what if the recipient “opens” the message at work, glances at it, and then “opens” it again at home?

Most business and some people (me, for instance) connect with a static IP address, while others are dynamic.  So now we’ve got the whole B2B v. B2C  and static IP address v. dynamic IP address thing going on…. 

Without a subpoena we’ll never know exactly who was connected from what IP address at what date and time, so that’s out….  But let’s say that the recipient opened the message enough to render a tracking pixel while they were at work (BTW, they work second shift….), and then later they open the message at home (or library, or friend’s house).  

Let’s say also that the recipient uses Verizon for their Internet connection, and 2 of the 9 friends they forwarded an email message to also use Verizon – and one of them lives only a block away….  So now how are you going to drill-down to see if the recipient is a freak of a social influencer? 

And then what about clicks?  Or which links in the message had more clicks, maybe giving you an idea of which links recipient’s are clicking on?  These are the assumptions that you have to work with, so now what are you going to do with them?  

While a certain percentage of recipients may very well be freaks, they may just be social influencers.

Are you really ready to;

Discount… additional renders/opens on a unique email address could be discounting the viral properties of a message or a segment of users.

Then how do you answer some of these questions?…

Wouldn’t you want to know those individuals that pass your message to your friends?

And if you knew your advocates would you maybe want to speak to them differently?

Or what about a message that has an exceptional render/open across your base?

Wouldn’t [you] want to know which messages better resonate with your audience?

Like always, I’m just scratching the surface here, but as I said at;

Focusing solely only on unique activity can cost missed opportunities….

So is email really not social, or do too many marketers overlook some of the social measurements?