Monitor email sending using Amazon SES event publishing - Amazon Simple Email Service Classic

This is the user guide for Amazon SES Classic. Updates and new features are only being documented in the new Amazon SES Developer Guide which we recommend to use.

Monitor email sending using Amazon SES event publishing

To enable you to track your email sending at a granular level, you can set up Amazon SES to publish email sending events to Amazon CloudWatch, Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose, or Amazon Simple Notification Service based on characteristics that you define.

You can track several types of email sending events, including sends, deliveries, opens, clicks, bounces, complaints, rejections, rendering failures, and delivery delays. This information can be useful for operational and analytical purposes. For example, you can publish your email sending data to CloudWatch and create dashboards that track the performance of your email campaigns, or you can use Amazon SNS to send you notifications when certain events occur.

How event publishing works

To use event publishing, you first set up one or more configuration sets. A configuration set specifies where to publish your events and which events to publish. Then, each time you send an email, you provide the name of the configuration set and one or more message tags, in the form of name/value pairs, to categorize the email. For example, if you advertise books, you could name a message tag genre, and assign a value of sci-fi or western, when you send an email for the associated campaign. Depending on which email sending interface you use, you either provide the message tag as a parameter to the API call or as an Amazon SES-specific email header. For more information about configuration sets, see Using Amazon SES configuration sets.

In addition to the message tags that you specify, Amazon SES also adds auto-tags to the messages you send. You do not need to perform any additional steps to use auto-tags.

The following table lists the auto-tags that are automatically applied to messages you send using Amazon SES.

Amazon SES Auto-Tags
Auto-tag name Description
ses:configuration-set The name of the Configuration Set associated with the email.
ses:caller-identity The IAM identity of the Amazon SES user who sent the email.
ses:from-domain The domain of the "From" address.
ses:source-ip The IP address that the caller used to send the email.
ses:outgoing-ip The IP address that Amazon SES used to send the email.

How to use event publishing

The following sections contain the information you need to set up and use Amazon SES event publishing.

Event publishing terminology

The following list defines terms related to Amazon SES event publishing.

Email sending event

Information associated with the outcome of an email you submit to Amazon SES. Sending events include the following:

  • Sends – The call to Amazon SES was successful and Amazon SES will attempt to deliver the email.

  • Rejects – Amazon SES accepted the email, determined that it contained a virus, and rejected it. Amazon SES didn't attempt to deliver the email to the recipient's mail server.

  • Bounces – The recipient's mail server permanently rejected the email. This event corresponds to hard bounces. Soft bounces are only included when Amazon SES fails to deliver the email after retrying for a period of time.

  • Complaints – The email was successfully delivered to the recipient. The recipient marked the email as spam.

  • Deliveries – Amazon SES successfully delivered the email to the recipient's mail server.

  • Opens – The recipient received the message and opened it in their email client.

  • Clicks – The recipient clicked one or more links in the email.

  • Rendering Failures – The email wasn't sent because of a template rendering issue. This event type only occurs when you send email using the SendTemplatedEmail or SendBulkTemplatedEmail API operations. This event type can occur when template data is missing, or when there is a mismatch between template parameters and data.

  • Delivery Delays – The email couldn't be delivered to the recipient because a temporary issue occurred. Delivery delays can occur, for example, when the recipient's inbox is full, or when the receiving email server experiences a transient issue.

Configuration set

A set of rules that defines the destination that Amazon SES publishes email sending events to, and the types of email sending events that you want to publish. When you send an email that you want to use with event publishing, you specify the configuration set to associate with the email.

Event destination

An AWS service that you publish Amazon SES email sending events to. Each event destination that you set up belongs to one, and only one, configuration set.

Message tag

A name/value pair that you use to categorize an email for the purpose of event publishing. Examples are campaign/book and campaign/clothing. When you send an email, you either specify the message tag as a parameter to the API call or as an Amazon SES-specific email header.


Message tags that are automatically included in event publishing reports. There is an auto-tag for the configuration set name, the domain of the "From" address, the caller's outgoing IP address, the Amazon SES outgoing IP address, and the IAM identity of the caller.

For information and discussions about a variety of topics related to Amazon SES, see the AWS Messaging and Targeting Blog. To browse and post questions, go to the Amazon SES Forum.