Deliverability Defined—And Why It Matters

Posted by Jennifer Cheng on

Deliverability is a crucial issue for brands. However many marketers are failing to reach subscriber inboxes.

One of the challenges to achieving high deliverability is that some marketers confuse the term “delivered rate” with deliverability, leading them to a false perception of their deliverability. Your delivered rate measures the amount of emails that don’t receive a hard or soft bounce—but it doesn’t measure where the emails land.

Consider this example. Your email can have a 99% delivered rate, which essentially means 99% of your total volume was not bounced. However of that 99%, 33% was delivered to the spam folder. This means not only that one third of your customers are not  receiving your messages, but if you are not tracking the correct metric, you would be clueless as to why they are not engaging.

You can’t expect or assume your delivered rate translates exactly to inbox placement rate. Just remember, “delivered” doesn’t necessarily mean your email hit the inbox—just that it wasn’t bounced or rejected.

Improving your deliverability can be a tough nut to crack, especially when so many factors come into play—content, authentication and infrastructure, list quality, subscriber engagement, spam filters, and more. It’s enough to make your head spin, and wonder why deliverability matters anyway.

Poor deliverability means your marketing emails don’t reach customers’ inboxes. Just think about it: if your mail isn’t getting delivered, then your customers are not getting your messages. If they’re not getting your messages, then you’ll likely see fewer opens and clicks, and ultimately fewer purchases. In the end, that’s going to hurt your bottom line. You may even run the risk of customers forgetting your brand altogether.

Email is an important revenue stream for many businesses, so it’s crucial for businesses to maximize deliverability to optimize responses. Take this case study as an example of how improving deliverability can directly impact business results:

  • Citrix Online, a company offering collaboration software and services, was experiencing email deliverability issues and needed to make sure their users were receiving their marketing emails—and more importantly, their transactional emails.
  • They applied and were accepted to Return Path’s Certification program. This led to their deliverability increasing to 85%, as well as a jump in inbox placement rate to 95%.
  • As a result of their improved deliverability, one of their highest revenue-driving emails experienced a 30-40% increase in response rates. In addition, Citrix saw a drastic drop in complaints and issues surrounding email to their customer support team.
  • Customers were now receiving the emails that they were expecting, and were therefore more satisfied with the overall level of service. This led to higher customer satisfaction and trust in Citrix solutions.

To learn more about about how deliverability can help you reach more customers, increase response rates, and attain a higher email marketing ROI, check out the Ultimate Guide to Email Deliverability.


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About Jennifer Cheng

Jennifer Cheng is an Account Coordinator at Return Path. She finds delight in troubleshooting her clients' email deliverability challenges and driving results that prove valuable for marketers in optimizing email programs. When not working, Jennifer likes to cook (and of course eat) all types of cuisine, sing karaoke, and explore the concrete jungle of New York City. Connect with her on LinkedIn:

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