Email Deliverability: The What, Why & How


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Pressing the “send” button on an email doesn’t necessarily mean your messages reach your recipients’ inboxes. Along the way, email communications can encounter an array of deliverability issues that can affect your email marketing ROI as well as your open, click-through, and conversion rates. Using data from 20 leading retailers tracked over a two-month period, Ryan Moss explains why messages from even the biggest brands can land in spam folders or even go missing. He also reviews how message subject lines, content, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can impact your email deliverability.

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Email Deliverability: The What, Why & How

  1. 1. Email Deliverability:The What, Why & How Ryan Moss Deliverability Manager December 5, 2012
  2. 2. ObjectiveIn today’s session we’ll address the following questions: • What is deliverability and why is it important for your digital marketing success? • Why bulking and blacklisting impact your email marketing ROI? • How do you avoid revenue loss due to deliverability issues?
  3. 3. Key PointsThe Bad News:Most of the largest brands in the world encounterdeliverability challenges on regular basis.The Good News:You can overcome deliverability issues and avoid substantialrevenue losses (ranging from $50,000 to up to several $million) by applying: • Pre-flight testing • Inboxing reporting • Blacklist detection
  4. 4. Our Topic & Agenda1. Deliverability • Inboxing an email message reaching its intended recipient’s inbox • Bulking an email message being trapped by spam filters and thus being prevented from reaching the inbox2. Blacklisting a major ISP (Internet Service Provider) blocking all communications coming from a specific domain3. Deliverability DOs & DONTs
  5. 5. Deliverability- Inboxing- Bulking
  6. 6. Inboxing: Current Landscape• Reaching your subscribers’ inboxes is becoming increasingly difficult• According to Yesmail Interactive data, email recipients at the four major internet service providers (ISP) represent over 80% of a marketers’ email audience• ISP bulking issues will result in approximately 20% revenue loss per ISP, per campaign • Those losses typically range from $50K to several million depending on the size of the brand’s subscriber list
  7. 7. What We Discovered: You Lose RevenueExample: GMAIL Bulking• ACME Marketing generates $250,000 in revenue per email campaign. However, this marketer has been blocked at GMAIL for its past 4 campaigns within the last 7 days. – Average Weekly Revenue - 4 campaigns x $250,000 = $1,000,000 – Revenue Loss / Bulking Issue = $1,000,000 * 20% (GMAIL Audience Size) = $200,000.00• ACME has lost $200,000 in revenue this past week as a result of a single GMAIL bulking issue.
  8. 8. Our Deliverability Study• Over 20 major marketers from different verticals were studied for inbox placement at AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo, and GMAIL for a period of 60 days.• Our study concluded that the largest brands in the world experience inbox issues regularly.
  9. 9. Real Campaign Data: Yahoo BulkingLowes: Date: August 2nd Subject Line: NEW $50 and Change Project Inside Date: August 16th Subject Line: Manage Your Home in Your Hand Yesmail Confidential 9
  10. 10. Real Campaign Data: Yahoo BulkingKohl’s: Date: August 8th Subject Line: Your $5 Gift from Kohls has arrived! Date: August 23rd Subject Line: Last Chance to Save up to 20% During the Lowest Prices of the Season Sale! Yesmail Confidential 10
  11. 11. Real Campaign Data: GMAIL BulkingBarney’s New York: Date: September 6th Subject Line: Shop the Fall Trend: The Electric Blues Date: August 29th Subject Line: Miracle Moisture: Shop La Mers Soft Crème Date: August 27th Subject Line: Beat the Heat: No-Sweat Summer Style from The Glamourais Kelly Framel Yesmail Confidential 11
  12. 12. Real Campaign Data: GMAIL BulkingBarney’s New York: Date: August 24th Subject Line: Read All About It: Insider Fashion Access on The Window Date: August 22nd Subject Line: Last Call to Shop Barneys Warehouse Sale Online - Up to 90% OFF! Date: August 20th Subject Line: Under the Influence: Shop Personal Favorites from François Nars, Sunday Riley and More! Yesmail Confidential 12
  13. 13. Real Campaign Data: GMAIL BulkingBarney’s New York: Date: August 17th Subject Line: Up to 85% Off Styles for Women, Men & More! Shop NOW Before Theyre Gone For Good Date: August 16th Subject Line: The Urban Uniform: Introducing BASCO Barneys Sportswear Company Date: August 14th Subject Line: New Markdowns! Now Save Up to 85% OFF Select Styles for Men, Women, Kids, and the Home! Yesmail Confidential 13
  14. 14. Inboxing Issues: the CausesSending Reputation: ISPs measure a variety of metrics generated by amarketers email campaign that are fed into a central scoring framework.The following metrics compose a sender’s reputation: 1. Abuse Complaints 2. Opens 3. Click-Through Rates 4. Messages ‘Passed By’ (abaca)Problematic URLs: Links contained within the content body are knownto cause deliverability issues. ISPs will flag certain URLs that arecommonly found in messages that generate excessive abuse complaintsExample:
  15. 15. Inboxing Issues: the SolutionProactive Action:Inbox Placement Testing / Preflight – Marketers are recommended togenerate inbox placement reports at the major and mid-tiered ISPs beforeEVERY campaign. • Step 1 - Generate inbox report 72 hours before campaign deployment • Step 2 - Inspect inbox placement at each ISP • Step 3 - Investigate discrepancies at problematic ISP • Step 4 - Determine if the issue is tied to Creative Content or IP Reputation • Step 5 – Once issue is identified, take preventive measures to avoid it recurring in the future
  16. 16. Inboxing Issues: the Solution
  17. 17. Inboxing Issues: the CausesMuch like a car travels on a road to reach its destination, an emailcampaigns travels on an IP addresses.Most marketers have dedicated IP addresses exclusively reserved fortheir email program.Just like there are different types cars on the road, there are differenttypes of email campaigns with different purposes (mail- streams):Different Types of Mail Streams: • Retention • Marketing • Third Party (Co-reg, Rental, eAppend) • Transactional
  18. 18. Single Mail Stream
  19. 19. Inboxing Issues: the SolutionPreventive Measures:Mail stream separation based on offer type and engagement.The audience should be separated into individual mailstreams based on most recent engagement. IP Set 1 – Engagement Stream – (12 months or less) IP Set 2 - Legacy Engagement – (13 months plus) IP Set 3 - Other – 3rd Party, Append, Lead Gen.Deliverability issues will be isolated to the higher risk mailstreams, leaving the core streams uneffected.
  20. 20. Multiple Mail Streams
  21. 21. Take Action Today1. Ensure you are generating inbox measurement reports BEFORE each campaign2. Ensure your email campaigns are being sent over DEDICATED IP addresses3. Ensure your email campaigns are divided into separate IP sets per mail stream
  22. 22. Blacklisting
  23. 23. Blacklist: LandscapeWhat is Spamhaus?• The largest commercial blacklist in the world• Protects over 2 billion email recipients worldwide.• Adopted by 70% of major ISPs GMAIL Hotmail Yahoo Comcast SBC Bellsouth Cablevision Road Runner USA.netMarketers in all industries can experience Spamhaus listings. We havelisted a few examples of brands from different verticals that haveexperienced Spamhaus issues.
  24. 24. Blacklist: CausesSpamtrap email addresses are ‘learning beacons’ operated bySpamhaus. These beacons help Spamhaus monitor andpenalize Marketers with faulty mailing practices. 1. Honey pot – an email address that has never subscribed to a marketer’s message, nor been released to the outside world. Example Beacon: 2. Inactive Recipient – an email address that has not opened, clicked, or purchased from a marketer in 13 months or greater. Example Beacon:
  25. 25. What We Discovered: You Lose RevenueExample:ACME Marketing generates $250,000 in revenue per email campaign.This marketer has been blocked with Spamhaus for the past 4 emailcampaigns this week. – Average Weekly Revenue: 4 campaigns x $250,000 = $1,000,000 – Revenue Loss / Spamhaus: $1,000,000 * 70% (Spamhaus Audience Size) = $700,000.00ACME has lost $700,000 in revenue this past week as a result of theSpamhaus blocking issue.
  26. 26. Real Campaign Data: BlacklistBath and Body Works: Listing Date: August 24 to Present ESP: Cheetahmail Cause: Hitting spamtrapsGroupon: Listing Date: October 30, 2011 - Present ESP: Exact Target Cause: Hitting spamtrapsDisney Credit Card: Listing Date: June 19, 2012 - Present ESP: Exact Target Cause: Hitting spamtraps
  27. 27. Real Campaign Data: BlacklistSirus XM Radio Listing Date: September 9 to present ESP: Cheetahmail Cause: Spamming to harvested addresses in violation of CAN-SPAM.•State of Michigan Date: July 29, 2012 ESP: N/A Cause: Spam source (traps)•Children’s Place Listing Date: August 28 to Present ESP: Cheetahmail Cause: Hitting spamtraps
  28. 28. BlacklistPreventive Steps:Marketers are encouraged to perform the following actions inorder to avoid Spamhaus issues: 1. Engagement Analysis – Understand your audience and perform segmentation based on recent engagement 2. Mail Stream Separation – Ensure mail streams are completely isolated from each other 3. Hygiene – Utilize 3rd party hygiene solutions on data to eliminate possible problematic data 4. Scans – Ensure your IP addresses are being scanned at Spamhaus every 24 hours (at minimum).
  29. 29. Optimal Deliverability
  30. 30. Make Deliverability a Priority!What you should expect from your dedicated Email SolutionProvider:• Constant monitoring of all deployments• Inbox placement reporting across all major ISPs• Hourly Spamhaus Blacklist detection• Content rendering reporting across all major ISPs• Proactive recommendations and guidance on deliverability strategy
  31. 31. Questions???Call me, maybe…Ryan MossEmail: ryan.moss@yesmail.comPhone: 647.624.3512