Few acts seem to show brand affinity more than someone sifting through his or her spam folder for a marketing email. Across a sample of more than 1 billion messages sent to spam folders in the first
quarter of the year, less than 1% (0.17%) were willingly “rescued” by consumers.
As such, researchers are confidently drawing a connection between such rescue efforts and brand
strength. “Virtually every sender sees some of its messages occasionally delivered to the spam folder, but relatively few inspire their subscribers to search for them,” according to George
Bilbrey, president of Return Path.
The email marketing and list management firm developed what it calls “TINS rates,” which measure how often subscribers “rescue”
messages from their spam folders. Which brands are consumers most likely to save from their spam folders? Those with the highest TINS rates include Apple, Etsy, Match.com, and Netflix, Return Path
“Senders with high TINS rates share common traits that extend beyond email marketing best practices,” Bilbrey said. “They use data-driven intelligence to connect
with consumers and study their behavior and make decisions that increase loyalty across all channels.”
Furthermore, TINS rates can strongly influence inbox placement rates and revenue, according to Bilbrey. They can also help
brands to better understand and react to mailbox providers’ views of their subscriber engagement, as well as provide insight into their customer relationships within and beyond the email
channel, he said.
High TINS rates correlate with strong engagement, too, Bilbrey added. The greater the percentage of a brand’s messages that get read, the greater the chance that its
messages will be rescued from the spam folder.
Of those studied, senders with a read rate of less than 9% had an average TINS rate of 0.14%, while those with a read rate of 22% or greater
had an average TINS rate of 0.97% -- more than six times as high. Forward rates suggested a similar advantage for the best senders, as those with TINS rates of 0.50% were six times more likely to have
their messages forwarded.
Across categories, recipients are more likely to rescue messages relating to travel, dating and jobs. United Airlines, Match.com and CareerBuilder were the
high performers in these categories.
Retailers and social media networks saw lower TINS rates of 0.11% and 0.10%, respectively, possibly due to the high mailing frequencies of these
mailers, as well as recipients’ tendency not to unsubscribe to messages they no longer want, according to Return Path.
Within the retail category, however, strong performers included
Amazon, Target, and Zappos.com.