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Email deliverability: global situation and tips for improvement

Last week, Return Path, the world’s leading email reputation monitoring company, published Global Email Deliverability Benchmark Report of the first half of 2011. The report shows that only four out of every five or 81% of permission-based email gets delivered to the inbox. Of the rest 19%, 7% of email lands in a spam or junk folder and 12% of email is blocked by ISP level filtering and simply goes missing.

Global situation

Return Path reviews data from 149 ISPs worldwide, and the research indicates deliverability rates vary by each region.

North America shows the highest inbox placement rate (IPR) with 86% of emails delivered exactly to recipients. Europe ranks second with 2% less than US and Canada (84%) but Asia and the Asia Pacific territories and Central and Latin America go under the global average, accordingly 78% and 62%.

Why so many emails do not reach the inbox?

Bounce rate myth

Marketers continue to spread a widely believed „lie” if email doesn’t bounce it reaches the inbox and hide a little known „secret” that it’s not exactly true. Even if email gets sent, for various reasons it can land to spam or junk folder. Recipients usually don’t read spam messages, so we can consider email actually is not delivered.

Deliverability failures

Even though deliverability problems cost a lot of money, marketers don’t pay enough attention to that. Focusing just on revenue comming from campaigns, marketers do not think how to increase email marketing ROI. However, ignoring deliverability failures is a real lost of money.

Impact of new inbox technologies

Return Path analyzed a panel of sample 30 000 Gmail mailboxes and indicated that 91% of emails arrived in the inbox, while 9% were missing – blocked before reaching the mailbox. Moreover, 81% of Gmail mailboxes had priority inbox enable, but only 17% of emails in the inbox were marked with priority.

Business inboxes are particularly difficult to reach because they are protected by systems like Postini, Symantec and MessageLabs. Only 80% of emails go through these filtering methods.

Missing email marketing best practices

A lot of marketers still don’t follow the best practices, for example, sending only permission-based emails, including unsubscribe link or cleaning old email lists. Return Path revealed that even top brands fail in implementing the best practices.

How to improve email delivery?

Monitor email delivery

  • follow spam complaints and unsubscribe rate that point to the bad quality of campaigns
  • ask for advice your e-mail marketing consultant to fix delivery problems

Clean your list

  • check spelling mistakes of bounce emails and correct them (.gmal, .ocm etc.)
  • delete hard bounce emails from your list (non-existing email addresses and blocked emails)
  • remove maintenance addresses (support, noreply, admin etc.)
  • if your list is more than 6 month old, make general data base cleaning to remove non-existing emails (Mailigen offers the service)

Ask for permission

  • when making a list, use double opt-in to be sure about existing email addresses and willingness to receive emails
  • if using email list for a long time, ask subscribers for permission confirmation
  • practice re-engangement campaigns to involve inactive contacts
  • always include unsubscribe link in emails

Send relevant information

  • send information that people have subscribed for to avoid spam complaints
  • segment subscribers in groups to send even more tergeted emails
  • avoid spammy subject lines and content

Use professional email service providers

Together with the best email marketing practices, your campaigns have more than good chances to reach the inbox.

Deliverability on Mailigen service

Email marketing service Mailigen is proud about its high deliverability rates. Taking into consideration the best technical practice, Mailigen shows its inbox placement rate of 86% that is similar to the global leader North America and higher than Europe average rate.

If you have any questions or want to increase your deliverability rate, please contact our consultants. We will be more than happy to help you.

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