Tutorial: Effectively Using SendGrid’s Email Activity Tool


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Our next installment in our VidGrid tutorial series covers email activity. In this video, Jayson demonstrates how to use the Email Activity tool effectively by giving some quick tips on what to look for when viewing the different event types. Use this feature to get details on the emails being sent through your account.

Video Transcription

Email activity is a great tool that lets you see what’s been happening to the emails that you’ve been sending out.

Details that are available include:

  • The date they were processed

  • The date they were delivered

Along with things such as:

  • When people may have clicked on your unsubscribe link
  • Opens

  • Clicks

  • If the email encountered any trouble such as deferrals, bounces, or blocks

Navigating the Email Activity Page

Let’s go ahead and get started. To begin, please log onto your SendGrid.com account and click on the Email Activity link up at the top of your screen. Great, so you have your Email Activity window open now. On this screen here, the first few thing you’re going to notice is a search by email bar along with a section for the email addresses, the dates, and the event type. One quick thing to note here is the email activity history start date–that date you can find right here. This is the date that the email activity that you see, actually begins. Though you may have older history, we only show you the past number of days based upon the start date here.

Using the Email Activity Page

So, how do we use this? I’m glad you asked. Your email activity is going to show you a number of different events, also known as a type. In this case here, we have a drop, a delivered, a couple bounces, and a couple more deliveries. So to find out when an event happened to an email, it’s pretty easy–take a look at the date field located to the right of each email address.

[TIP]: One thing to note is that the date field is actually dependent upon your system clock. So if you’re located in say, California these times will be in Pacific, if you’re located in New York they’ll be based upon the eastern time zone. So to see exactly what’s happening with an email, all you have to do is take a quick look here. For example, at 2:02 earlier today I sent an email to myself and that email was delivered as we can see here.

To get more information about an email you can simply go ahead and click on that line right there with the plus sign (+). That’s going to go ahead and unfold the entry to give you additional details. One of the great things that we like to take a look at is the reason, which is located usually on the second line for delivered events. This will let you know that the email has in fact been handed off to the recipient server. You can go ahead and close that fold by just clicking that again. While you’re using SendGrid, or any email provider, your emails may bounce on occasion. To find out why they bounced, simply look for the bounced event and open that folded item. In this case here, the reason code states that the email account that you tried to reach does not exist. Most likely that is an old account or perhaps there is a typo.

What about dropped emails?

One thing I see a lot are dropped emails, and that can be kind of confusing. But, we can make it really easy for you. Go ahead and again click on that particular email to open up the fold, and the reason will tell you why it was dropped. In this case here, I clicked the unsubscribe link when I received that email earlier. By doing so, any future emails that send to that address will not be delivered and instead be dropped. This helps protect your reputation and is a great feature of our system.

How long does it take to deliver your email?

One common thing that I’m asked about very often is why email seems to take a while to get delivered. Folks want to know why that is. Well, I’m glad you asked. There’s actually a very easy way to find out what’s happening. In your email activity there’s a Search Options field right here that you may not have seen before. You can go ahead and click the Search Options link to unfold a section that will let you select what event you want to view in particular.

To find out how long an email took between the time we received it and when we handed it off to the recipient’s email server, we’re going to go ahead and use Processed and Delivered. Let’s go ahead and clear all the check marks except for Processed and Delivered. Once I do that I can search for one particular email address. Once you do that, go ahead and click Update Search. Once the results have been returned, you can see that I’ve delivered two emails to myself. We can determine that by seeing the processed event, which is the action of the customer sending SendGrid the actual email.

I can also see which emails have been delivered by the Delivered events, also notated. The log is ordered in reverse chronological order so the newest events appear up top. In this case here we can see that we have a processed and a deferred event. To really make sure that they are one and the same, I want to open the fold for both of those events. In particular I’m going to be looking for the SMTP ID; this number is a unique number that gets assigned with each email and also helps tie together the events for that particular email. In this case here, I sent an email at 2:01 and 59 seconds PM, and that same email was delivered at 2:02 and 0 seconds PM. We know this based upon the SMTP ID being the exact same number for the processed and the delivered entry.

To get additional data or to get data going forward for your own purposes such as to create your own statistics system, click-tracking system, or unsubscribe system, you want to go ahead and use our Event Webhook, a pretty cool feature you can find here in our documentation.

Thank you for watching another SendGrid video training!

To learn more about our APIs click here!


When Kate isn't trying to teach herself the ukelele, make it through the mountain of books on her nightstand, or figure out if they are actually being serious about suggested serving sizes on ice cream, she is the Content Marketing Coordinator. Kate's responsible for content creation and social media management. Translation? She loves those #hashtags.

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