When was the last time a contact opened my email?


You can use a simple automation to see when a contact last opened a campaign, automation email, or direct 1:1 email from the contact record. This automation will use the following:

  • Reads any email trigger
  • Reads any direct 1:1 email trigger
  • Update field action

Take note

Contacts who use the Apple Mail app with iOS 15 Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) enabled will not be added to any automation that uses the “Opens/Reads an email” trigger. To learn more, visit ActiveCampaign and Apple iOS 15 Mail Privacy Protection.


Before you create your automation, you'll need to make sure you have the following:

  • Open/Read Tracking is enabled for campaigns and automation emails

    Contacts will only be added to the automation if (1) they open your emails and (2) if Open/Read tracking is enabled for your campaigns and automation emails.

    To see if Open/Read tracking is enabled, go to the Campaign Summary page for your email. Note that this should be enabled by default. If not, click the toggle to the "On" position.

    It is not possible to track opens for text-only campaigns.

  • A custom date-based field

    This field will be used in the automation to track when contacts last open your email. For example, you can have a custom date-based field called "Last Opened."

    To create this custom field, click Contacts, located on the left side menu, then click Fields. On the Manage Fields page, click "Add Field." Below is an example of how to configure the field:

    Configuring the Last Opened custom contact field.jpg

    Learn more about custom fields.

How to create the last email opened automation

  1. From the Automation overview page, click "New Automation."
  2. Click the "Start from Scratch" option and then click "Continue."
  3. The Trigger Modal will open. Click the "Opens/reads an email" option, then click "Continue."
  4. The Action Options modal for the trigger will open. To trigger the automation when a contact opens a campaign, click "Campaign."


  5. A new pop-up will open where you can configure the trigger. Since we want contacts to be added when they open any campaign or automation email, we're going to leave "Any Email" and "Any List" selected.

    For the "Runs" dropdown, we're going to select "Multiple Times." This means that the same contact will be pulled into this automation each time they open a campaign or automation email.

    When finished with the configuration, click "Add Start."

  6. An "Add new action" modal will appear. This is where you can decide what will happen when a contact enters your automation. Since we want to update our custom date field called "Last Opened," we're going to click "Contacts" then "Update Contact."

  7. Now you get to configure the action. Click the field dropdown and select the custom date field that will be used to track the contact's last email open date.


  8. In the "New content" dropdown, we're going to keep "Current time" selected. This means that the "Last Opened" custom field will get updated with the same date that the contact opened the email.

    When you're done configuring the action, click "Save."

  9. You can add an "End this automation" action under the "Update field" action by clicking the node (+) then "Conditions and Workflow" > "End this automation."

    While this step isn't required, it does present a great visual cue/reminder that this is the end of your automation.
  10. If you also want to update the "Last Opened" custom field when a contact opens a direct email, click "Add new trigger" at the top of the automation builder. From the trigger modal, click "Opens/reads an email" then click "Continue."
  11. Click the "1:1 email" option.


  12. In the Action option modal, for the "Select email" dropdown, click "Any direct 1:1 email." This will look for any direct 1:1 email sent from a contact record.

    For the "Runs" dropdown, click "Multiple Times" then, when finished, click "Add Start."

  13. When you're ready for contacts to start entering the automation, click "Active" on the top right of your screen.


    This is how the automation should look:


    You can also import this automation into your account with this share link.

    Learn how to import an automation into your account with a share link.
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