New White Paper: Return Path and the Direct Marketing Association UK Highlight a Tidal Shift in Email Deliverability

Posted by Guy Hanson 

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) UK and Return Path, have launched a new White Paper uncovering the latest data and trends on email deliverability, produced collaboratively by the DMA Email Marketing Council, and with key inputs from Return Path’s own Guy Hanson, Richard Gibson and Matt Rausenberger.

What’s clear from the research is that the email marketing industry is experiencing a subtle shift in how ISPs are evaluating email to deal with the tsunami of spam. Aggressive tactics by the ISPs to identify and block unwanted mail has been successful up to a point. However, this approach has also been driving a worrying rise in false positives.

In identifying what subscribers want to receive, ISPs are now seeking ways to reward ‘good’ emails instead of simply trying to punish ‘bad’ emails. For marketers, this means there is now another set of metrics and data to collect, analyse and interpret when planning email marketing campaigns. Smart email marketers now need to measure positive interactions of subscribers, including reading emails without deleting, nominating emails as ‘Not spam’ and retrieving mistakenly placed emails from the spam folder.

ISPs are already measuring these positive interactions and rewarding high scoring senders with preferential inbox positioning. Marketers only have to consider the likes of Gmail’s Priority Inbox to see hard evidence of this change, with Hotmail, Yahoo! and AOL all following suit with inbox placement and prioritisation techniques that reward known sender status and/or positive engagement behaviour.  

Email marketing has always been all about the three ‘R’s’:

Reputation: key metrics around infrastructure, data quality, and complaints
Recognition: are your subscribers opening the email as it hits the inbox or leaving it unread?
Relevance: do your emails target the right subscribers with the right content at the right time to stimulate positive engagement?

However, the way that these elements interact is now more important than ever. Deliverability is influencing subscriber responsiveness, and responsiveness is in turn influencing deliverability.

So what does all of this mean to email marketers? On the one hand achieving good behavioural metrics can be a faster track to deliverability success, because if marketers score well it means they will be also driving their reputation, recognition and relevance metrics. It’s not hard to see how all these elements make up the deliverability house of cards. But get one wrong and it all fails.

On the other hand, it means that, more so now than ever before, marketers need consistent access to full, accurate and relevant data, coupled with the ability to analyse and understand it. Return Path tools such as Campaign Preview, Mailbox Monitor, Reputation Monitor and Campaign Insight can all play a key role in providing marketers with these insights.

The new Email Deliverability White Paper has been substantially updated and assesses the latest challenges posed to email deliverability, coupled with common-sense, easy to implement recommendations that every marketer can follow to move the needle upwards on their email programme performance.

To download the paper in full, visit:

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About Guy Hanson

Guy is a passionate advocate for intelligent use of customer data to drive responsive email programs. With a knowledge base spanning the best part of two decades, he is globally recognized as an email expert and thought leader. Most recently at Return Path, Guy led a global consulting team, and worked with a broad range of world-famous clients across 5 continents to improve their email delivery, subscriber engagement and revenue. Now blazing a new trail as an independent consultant, Guy is continuing to explore his passion for email and data – and sharing his knowledge – through appearances at flagship events, providing training, and regular fresh new thought leadership Outside of work, Guy has had long-term involvement with both the DMA and IAB email councils, been a regular contributor to the industry press, and is a 3-time finalist as data storyteller of the year!

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