We’re used to having quite detailed information about the different browsers (and versions of browsers) that our website visitors are using, and being able to design with that in mind.

However, it’s never been that easy to know which email clients your list subscribers are using to view your painfully crafted campaigns. We all know how much variation there is in support for CSS in emails!

Now the team behind the email testing service Litmus have released a smart new app to solve the mystery. It’s called Fingerprint, and it’s pretty cool.

For a small fee (either $39 or $99 depending on how long you want to run your test) you get access to the application. It’s simple to setup, you are given just a tiny snippet to add to your newsletter, which varies according to how you plan to send it.

Fingerprint setup

Fingerprint app results screenshot

Once you’ve sent your campaign, you have access to very clear charts showing a breakdown of which email clients your subscribers are using. The results are further broken down into versions of clients, and for webmail clients the browser used to access them.

In our sample report here you can see immediately how useful the results are. You’ll find out quickly if your subscribers are heavy webmail users, or all stuck in Lotus Notes land, for example.

With that information in hand you can select just how far you can push modern CSS and HTML in building your emails. You’ll also be aware of how many subscribers are mobile when reading, which could mean a real rethink of the content you send.

Congratulations to the Fingerprint team on a job well done, and we highly recommend you checking it out.

  • Wayde Christie

    Ths begs the question of course: why is this feature not built into CM and when can we expect it?


  • Soeren Sprogoe

    Exciting! Especially at that price!

    But how on earth do they do that?

    I usually count the number of recipients at each domain in my permission db, and use that as a “guesstimate” on the most widely used webmail clients. But I just can’t wrap my head around how they are able to track the version of locally installed clients.

  • James

    Looks great… although also gotta ask if you could put it in CampaignMonitor and MailBuild by default – would be nice to have all the reports in one place…
    … also can’t help but notice that their e-newsletter preview at Litmus is a bit more comprehensive than yours (e.g. shows Apple Mail etc)

  • Dave Greiner

    I guess a feature request was inevitable hey ;) Rest assured, we’re considering ways to integrate this sort of useful data into your reports. In the mean time though,I’d recommend giving it a shot and sharing your thoughts here.

  • Jase Wells

    @Soeren: My guess is that the HTML snippet you include requests a tracking image from the fingerprint site, and they log the user agent that requests the image. Presumably you will not get any information from people who choose not to load images in their e-mail reader.

  • Paul Farnell

    Mathew, thanks very much for the review. The response today has been fantastic, so we’re really pleased.

    @Jase: It’s not quite as simple as the user agent, but you are right that we can’t track people who choose to block images. However, unlike say open rates, Fingerprint isn’t presenting stats based upon the total number of emails sent vs. opened. All Fingerprint needs is a representative sample of your mailing list, to be able to provide useful percentages.

    So, if only 40% of your list choose to display images, you still have a useful sample of your overall list, that is therefore good enough to give you an indication of email client usage overall.

    If that makes sense :)

  • Oscar

    This is really interesting.

    @Paul Farnell: Would I be correct in assuming that the % email client breakdown of the representative sample would be skewed as some email clients may have a higher or lower ‘image blocking’ independent of user choice?

  • Paul Farnell

    @Oscar: Yes, you’re right. The one we’ve seen that can be over-represented is Apple Mail. We’re working on a way to adjust for that, to make Fingerprint even more accurate.

  • Vincent

    Are you saying that you have decided to not use actual stats, but some kind of approximation?

    Going forward, integration with CM/MM would be great if we could precisely select and segment clients based on their email client.

  • Paul Farnell

    @Vincent: No, not at all. We’re still working out how we can adjust for clients such as Apple Mail, but we will always show the actual, raw statistics.

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