Email Deliverability Archives - Smarter Commerce
Written by Laura Villevieille.
Laura Atkins of “Word to the Wise” recently wrote a fine article detailing the problem we have as senders: we only ever have access to engagement data through proxy measurements like “open” and “click-through” rates.
There are other metrics that senders would love to see and use to help measure engagement, for example: How many people actually read a message? Or deleted a message without reading it? Or how long a user kept an email open on their screen? All of these metrics would be fantastic data for marketers, and would help us diagnose our own deliverability issues without opening trouble tickets with the ISPs that own the architecture that records this data; sharing it with us would require they invest in development that pretty much only benefits senders, and has the additional problem of possibly even giving away part of their filtering “secret sauce”.
Surprisingly, though, a couple of trail-blazing ISPs have made this data available to senders! Mail.ru has recently rolled out a new postmaster site that includes several of these dream metrics. QQ has also made some of this data available.
Mail.ru, operator of the largest Russian webmail provider and social networking sites, has just released a new postmaster website and feedback loop. The verification process is a bit more involved than other feedback loop programs, but the access it provides is well worth the effort!
I read an article recently that got the gears upstairs cranking a little faster than normal. The cobwebs parted and my imagination ran wild as I contemplated email but through a slightly different lens.
In her article on the myth of email opens Margie Clayman (@MargieClayman) postulates that email opens are a slippery slope and that they are as effective as the concept of impressions when analyzing web traffic. More specifically, they are a high water line but does little to illuminate or provide the real behavioral data marketers require to anticipate customer desire while providing unparalleled service.
A few years ago, in a different life, I was privileged to work with the folks that first developed reputation engines for spam filtering. I spent 2 years before we rolled it out banging on the drum, warning marketers that Reputation Was Coming And It Would Change Everything. When it did finally arrive, it did change everything, very fast, and most email marketers were left scrambling to adapt or have their email programs fail. For a while, Reputation was enough to stem the tide, but predictably enough, spam evolved and so the spam-fighting systems needed to evolve as well. Enter stage left: Engagement, or how ISPs measure their customer’s interest in the email they get. They measure it any number of ways, some of which are known -including opens, clicks, if mail is moved to or out of the spam folder, if a mailbox is logged into in X amount of time, etc. Of course, there is also the Secret Sauce – ISPs certainly do not reveal more than a fraction of how they do what they do.
Let me start by saying happy New Year! We hope that the final days of 2011 were spent relaxing with friends and family and that whatever final marketing pushes you might’ve been engaged with went off smoothly and effortlessly. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way: welcome to 2012! What better way to start 2012 than by reviewing the last quarter of 2011? High points, low points, let’s soak up the learnings from the entire year; let’s take it all in and hope that it helps us steer the ship into smoother waters in the year to come.
Sometimes no news is good news, or so the saying goes. In this case the news is the same as the quarter before: overall deliverability held firm at approximately 83.25%.
I don’t mean to sound despondent about it, and really I’m not. Given micro trends we witnessed with certain ISPs around the all important Black Friday and Cyber Monday retail events, overall deliverability holding firm is a good thing. We don’t have to brace ourselves for a cataclysmic shockwave; rather we can spend the opening months reviewing what’s worked and what hasn’t worked as a means of constant self-improvement.
We have closed the books on Black Friday and Cyber Monday for 2011. By all accounts the numbers look very promising and exceed last year’s. Marketers, retailers and shoppers alike have reason to rejoice. One might even go so far as to say that the economy itself has done a little victory dance.
However, before we throw all caution to the wind, let’s pause for a moment and review the holiday deliverability metrics and take note of a few trends for the upcoming Christmas bonanza.
We’ll start with a history lesson. The term Cyber Monday really came into being in 2005. Following Black Friday a spike was noticed on Monday and that spike became a growing peak in the plans and strategies of retailers.
With the holiday week upon us marketers are kicking their programs into high in hopes of achieving maximum inbox placement, clicks and ultimately, conversion. The economy has made the battle for holiday dollars fierce. Consumers are looking for the best …
As clocks roll back and the days grow shorter, we’re going to pause and review last quarter’s (Q3) deliverability across email, mobile and social messaging to get our bearings as we head into this holiday season. It’s more important than …
The transition of Mail.com from AOL to United Internet continues to be problematic. We’ve heard from end users now about an alarming trend that negatively affects email marketers. It appears that Mail.com is issuing a hard bounce for valid …