How to get a read receipt in Gmail [2021]

Knowing who’s opened your emails with a Gmail read receipt is valuable information. Whether you work in sales and want to see if your prospects are engaging, or if you’re job hunting and want to know if your application’s been seen, or for one of many other reasons. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can get read receipts on Gmail with or without having a Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) account.

What is a Gmail read receipt?

A Gmail read receipt is a type of notification provided to someone who has sent an email. It lets the sender know if their email has been opened, and additionally may tell them when it was opened, and how many times. 

Read receipts are very common in text messaging and other online conversational tools. They usually tell the sender when the message has been properly delivered, and then when it’s opened. 

Gmail read receipts, though, do not offer the seamless and natural usability of conversational apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook. For an alternative that improves read receipt technology in Gmail, you should resource to Mailtrack. We will talk more about it later.

How to get a Gmail’s outdated read receipt with Google Workspace

As previously mentioned, the first problem with Gmail’s read receipt is how it breaks the natural flow of conversations.

But there’s another limitation too: not only is its usability is not optimal. It’s also only available to Google Workspace customers.

Without access to Google Workspace, Gmail read receipts are unavailable. Also, these read receipts will be received automatically only from email addresses within the Google Workspace organization. This means usually a business or an educational institute. To receive automatic read receipts from anyone you email, you’ll need an email tracker such as Mailtrack.

That being said, if you are using a Google Workspace administrator account, here’s the step-by-step guide to set up read receipts in Gmail. 

  1. Sign in to admin.google.com.
  2. Click on the main menu ☰ in the top-left of the page.
  3. In that menu, navigate Apps > GSuite > Gmail.
  4. On this next page, go to “User settings”.
  5. Here, you’ll be presented with the options for read receipts. This includes:
    • enabling/disabling read receipts, 
    • choosing who receives them, 
    • your whitelist of email addresses, and 
    • whether you want read receipts to be automatically sent, or sent by prompt.

Now, simply save and the changes will be applied, usually within the next hour or so. After that, Gmail’s read receipt can be activated inside each compose window.

How to activate Gmail’s old read receipts

How to get an improved read receipt with Gmail and Google Workspace accounts

Read receipts on Gmail can only be accessed with a Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) administrator account. If you’re using a regular Gmail account, ending in @gmail.com, and not a professional email address, then your next step should be to install Mailtrack. Without an added extension, email tracking through Google isn’t possible.

Mailtrack for Gmail is completely free to use, and lets you know if your emails have been read, when they were opened, and how many times they’ve been opened.

Plus, no one needs to take any extra actions when they read your emails—the read receipt is given to you automatically, with no imposition put onto your readers at all.

How Mailtrack adds the read check marks to your Gmail

Why use read receipts?

For many people, it’s very useful to know if and when the emails they’re sending have been opened.

For salespeople and marketers, read receipts let you know if your emails are really being read. This information can help you make informed decisions on your strategy. Perhaps your follow-up email isn’t working, and instead of deciding to keep nurturing a lead with content, perhaps it’s better to get in touch with them through a different medium.

Read receipts can inform an emailing strategy in another way—optimizing when to send them. Once enough emails have been sent, you can then start to see patterns forming about when they get opened most often by using email tracking reports. That knowledge can then be applied to improve your conversion rates.

Furthermore, if you have access to real-time desktop notifications, you can keep up with your sent emails, knowing as soon they’ve been opened and avoiding having to refresh the “sent emails” folder.

An additional feature within email tracking is the ability to track links within an email. This allows you to go a step further when you analyze the emails you’ve sent, by seeing if your recipients are following the links in your emails. With enough of this data, you can really start to see what type of content and offers your readers are interested in.

Finally, read receipts can also be useful for finding out if your messages are being marked as spam. Having a big drop-off in replies and website visits can mean a lot of things, such as using bad subject lines in your emails. But if suddenly, none of your messages are even being opened, this could hint at something worse—that you’ve been marked as a spam sender.