by Brett Schenker , Senior Deliverability Manager, Salsa
In a recent progressive listserv thread the question was asked: “Are more emails for organizations going to spam folders?” The answer is yes. Overall more email is being delivered to spam folders. According to ReturnPath, a leading company that measures email deliverability, nearly 1 in 4 messages never reach the inbox, with 7.4% of those going to spam. That’s 25% of emails bouncing, going to spam folders or being rejected by email service providers. And that’s costing your organization money and actions.
The listserv thread I mentioned above was focused on Gmail, but the lessons I’m going to go over can be applied to messages sent to any email provider. ReturnPath reported on their blog that on or around February 10, 2012, Gmail tightened their spam filtering software. Their announcement backed up what I’d seen for quite some time – it’s getting more difficult to get your email in front of your supporters. I decided to look at some metrics that – as the man behind Salsa’s email deliverability – I get to see. The results were interesting, showing that for the past 6 months, there’s been a steady increase in emails going to spam folders – with a large jump from February to March.
Since November there’s been an increase of 8% or more of emails going to spam folders. But, do we see the same results for global email deliverability? The answer is no.
Here’s another visual of what I’m seeing (it’s a bit more subtle):
The data is showing that it is harder to deliver emails to Gmail’s inbox. But the question is why?
We know that email service providers are paying more and more attention to how individuals react to the emails they receive. Opening, clicking, replying and forwarding all are good signs someone wants an email. A quick deletion without even looking indicates they’re not interested. A click of the spam complaint button means they really don’t want the email.
We also know that email service providers look for key metrics. 0.1% is the number of complaints in a 24 hour period and 1% is the number of user unknowns in a 24 hour period before you crop up on the radar. When those numbers are crossed, it’s possible that you’re in for a world of trouble. For every 10,000 emails you send, you are allowed 10 complaints and 100 user unknowns. If you’re running a clean program with opt-in individuals, you shouldn’t worry,. But non opt-in lists, stale lists, bad practices in general – could be costing you money. Good isn’t good enough anymore, you need to be great.
But how much does this cost you? Here’s the math based on the stats above, using a 10% click rate and $1 a person who clicks (the last two stats I’m making up).
10,000 emails x 86.3% inbox = 8,630 emails delivered x 10% click = 863 people x $1 = $863
10,000 emails x 78.4% inbox = 7,840 emails delivered x 10% click = 784 people x $1 = $784
You’re losing $80 per email blast in this scenario. Over twelve months that’s almost $1,000. Are those non-opted in emails that won’t open really worth it?
What can you do now?
What I’m going to suggest might sound drastic, but it’s the email program I run and this is on top of the do’s and don’ts as far as content.
And overall, think about how awesome you’ll look when you’re bringing in more action takers and raising more money through your email list.
***Image is from Atomic Robo: Real Science Adventures #1 by Red 5 Comics***