Say Hello to Smarter Deliverability Data

 Matt Blumberg 

Over the last 20 years, Return Path’s ongoing mission has been to make email work better for everyone – from consumers wanting to stop unwanted emails, mailbox providers identifying and filtering spam, to marketers improving the customer experience, response rates, and overall performance of their email marketing programs.

As the email ecosystem has evolved over the last 20 years, Return Path’s solutions have also evolved and expanded in response to our customers’ daily challenges, shifting business expectations, and industry changes. Return Path was the first company to offer a seed-based, email delivery monitoring solution, providing email marketers greater visibility into where their emails are being delivered.  As our accreditation program expanded, we started offering Return Path Certification customers direct feeds from participating mailbox providers showing their true inbox placement rates. We did this because mailbox providers relied more on engagement signals to filter email, specifically relative engagement based on how subscribers are interacting with emails, something traditional seed-based solutions aren’t able to measure. As a result, Return Path developed the first and largest subscriber network, the Return Path Consumer Network, to monitor email deliverability and engagement. Today, over 3,000 companies, organizations, and nonprofits rely on Return Path for our email deliverability and optimization innovations, data, solutions, and expertise.

The industry faces one of those challenges today. Recently, Google announced “Project Strobe” outlining changes that ultimately make data access more granular, secure, and better understood by their users. On March 31, these policy changes go into effect, resulting in a lot less data from our Gmail Consumer Network. You can read more about this change and my thoughts in an initial blog post I wrote on this topic. While we continue to think Google’s approach is a bit extreme, we are respectful of their decision and are preparing for a new world with less Consumer Network data accessible to us from Google. However, as I mentioned in my earlier blog post, we use many different data sets and data science techniques to help our clients monitor and improve their email programs — not just Google data.

They evolve, we evolve, you evolve
On March 26 in response to this change, we’re introducing our latest deliverability data source – SmartSeeds. SmartSeeds combines the best of traditional email seed measurement and subscriber engagement measurement, and is the answer to monitoring and measuring email deliverability in the age of artificial intelligence. Mimicking real-life subscribers, SmartSeeds provide marketers with insights on how subscriber engagement affects their inbox placement at Google. SmartSeeds will also allow marketers to track specific campaigns or segments, while also providing enhanced monitoring of their competitors’ campaigns.

Return Path is the only company to offer all four data sources which power our deliverability monitoring and measurement solutions. With the Consumer Network, SmartSeeds, direct mailbox provider feeds, and our original CoreSeeds — collectively known as our Deliverability Data — Return Path is the only company that can accurately provide senders with visibility into their true deliverability across all areas of their program. We don’t believe businesses should have to decide between data sources or be confused about which method is the best, or most accurate, way to measure inbox placement. At Return Path, our customers and partners will have all access to traditional seed-based measuring tools and the Consumer Network, as well as our AI-powered SmartSeeds.

Over the next few weeks, you’re going to be hearing a lot from Return Path about SmartSeeds and other exciting, new products we’re launching for our customers and partners. We’re proud of the last 20 years of innovation we’ve delivered to the industry, and we’re even more excited to show you what we have in store in the future!

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About Matt Blumberg

Matt Blumberg founded Return Path in 1999 because he believed the world needed email to work better. Matt is passionate about enhancing the online relationship between email subscribers and marketers so that both sides of the equation benefit. It is with great pride that he has watched this initial creation grow to a company of more than 400 employees with the market leading brand, innovative products, and the email industry’s most renowned experts. Before Return Path, Matt ran marketing, product management, and the internet group for MovieFone, Inc. (later acquired by AOL). Prior to that he served as an associate with private equity firm General Atlantic Partners and was a consultant with Mercer Management Consulting. He holds a B.A. from Princeton University. You can learn much more about Matt by reading his email marketing and entrepreneurship blog Only Once – one of the first CEO blogs on the Internet. Last year he wrote a book, Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business.

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