Every weekday morning I look forward to my email from eMarketer. This morning I was somewhat surprised to read “Many Permission E-Mails Still Don’t Get Through”:http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?1003635 (free access until October 25, 2005; subscription required after).
Based on a recent “Return Path”:http://www.returnpath.com study, 21% of permission email did not get delivered as intended (to the inbox) during the first half of this year. That’s more than one out of every five emails where the recipient has subscribed by giving their permission.
This is a slight year-over-year improvement but what scares me more is that as of November 1 Microsoft (think Hotmail) will require all incoming emails to have Sender ID implemented or the messages will automatically get sent to the junk folder. If you have read Paula Skaper’s June 22nd post “Hotmail Demands Sender ID”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2005/06/22/hotmail-demands-sender-id you will know that as of that date Hotmail was flagging all emails that did not have proper authentication through Sender ID. I often see half the emails in my Hotmail account with this flag. Now all of these *permission-based messages* will be sent to the junk folder along with all the spam.
The funny thing – not so funny if you are trying to understand all this deliverability stuff – is that Return Path found non-delivery rates varied greatly across the top 23 ISPs in the US from a low of 8% at Mac.com to a high of 39% at Gmail and Excite.
# Make sure you know your true delivery rate to the inbox (email sent less email bounced less email that end up in spam or junk folders). Use a third-party solution like “Pivotal Veracity”:http://www.pivotalveracity.com or ask your Email Service Provider (ESP) to provide a third-party audit of their deliverability.
# Implement the authentication standards required by webmail providers, ISPs and corporate email solutions. Understanding and implementing Sender ID, Sender Policy Framework, Domain Keys and other “standards” and methodologies are key to high deliverability rates.
# Understand what will trigger spam filters and ensure you are using best practices for your email content and headers. Your ESP should have an effective tool to allow you to pre-test your content. If not, or if you are using an in-house solution, try Pivotal Veracity for their content checking tools.
# Regularly measure and benchmark your true delivery rates. Deliverability Leader’s like ExactTarget and DoubleClick tout 98% deliverability rates. What is yours?
For more information on this topic, or if you have questions, please post a reply and I will provide an answer on One Degree, or “contact me”:http://www.onedegree.ca/contributors/stefan_eyram directly.