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Why Aren't Emails Being Delivered?

Posted on 10.14.2015

Internet Marketers, we've got a problem. Emails aren't being delivered (well, not like they used to anyway).

A new study out from Return Path reveals that only about 79 percent of permissioned email marketing messages are actually reaching their recipients' intended inboxes - 79 percent (that means one in five are never even seen, blocked entirely or relegated to the spam/junk folder)!

That's a rather significant decline from the previous year, when 83 percent of all commercial email was successfully delivered. What's more, the problem is even worse in the U.S. where the delivery rate is 76 percent (a 10 percent drop from the previous year).

So why is this happening? The inbox is just getting harder to reach. Email providers are applying increasingly sophisticated algorithms to understand what content their users value said Return Path's President George Bilbrey.

“As signals from individual subscribers play a bigger role in determining whose messages they see in their inboxes, email marketers that maintain their ability to consistently reach audiences will be distinguished by two critical, data-driven skills," said Bilbrey.


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"The winners will analyze subscriber engagement to develop email programs that consumers genuinely care about, and they will rely on reputation and deliverability data to see their email performance as mailbox providers see it, and take fast action to correct downward trends.”

There are of course a variety of processes and procedures senders can implement to ensure high inbox placement rates, none more important than culling inactive recipients (or segmenting the list to deliver different messaging for low performers). The result of doing so is a lower complaint rate, a lower bounce rate over all, and a better reputation as a sender overall.

Above all else, send as you want to be sent to: personalize emails, don't over-send, and be consistent. Doing so will offer an opportunity to maximize the use of this still important digital channel of communication in the future.

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