According to a new Return Path analysis, US marketers have a struggle on their hands this year when it comes to email deliverability. Fewer than 70% of emails sent by US marketers have been delivered to the inbox, well below last year’s success rate and trailing the global average.
Over the 5-quarter period spanning from Q2 2015 through Q2 2016, 73% of US marketers’ commercial emails reached the inbox. But limiting the analysis to this year shows that just 68% were delivered to the inbox in Q1, with Q2 not faring much better (69%).
US Commercial eMail Deliverability Rates
Missing the Mark
Source: Return Path, August 2016
By comparison, marketers globally averaged a 79% deliverability rate over that same 5-month period. While deliverability rates are also down on a global basis this year, the 76-77% average during the first two quarters is above the US average by a considerable margin.
The US deliverability rate is the lowest of the 8 countries highlighted in the report, with Australia (90%) leading the pack, says the report. The overall 5-quarter deliverability average across the 8 countries highlighted, sorted in descending order of success, are:
In 2016, email turns 45 and shows no signs of slowing down, says the report. In fact, it’s one of the most widely used and trusted channels for people to communicate today. But the dark side of email is spam. While today’s spam filters do a good job of keeping junk out of inboxes, many organizations also get caught in the crossfire of the war on spam when their emails end up in the spam folder. If subscribers don’t see emails, then they can’t open, click, and convert.
While the importance of reaching customers’ inboxes is undeniable, the reality is that many messages are missing the mark. This year, on average, one in five messages failed to reach the inbox. Global deliverability also experienced a slight but steady decline quarter over quarter, with 24% of messages missing the inbox in the last quarter studied. With deliverability declining, marketers are missing out on achieving the highest possible ROI, says the report. This year’s annual benchmark report looks at how email is delivered and how to measure inbox placement, followed by global and regional benchmarks broken out by quarter. Getting to the inbox entails more than hitting the send button, says the report. Some of the challenges each message encounters on its journey:
Primary Mobile Challenge for Premium Publishers (% of 300 US premium publishers)
% of Respondents Saying “Primary”
Quality of consumer experience
Quality of content/creative
Platform and service costs
Off platform monetization
Off network traffic/audience
Lagging advertising spend
Source: AOL Platforms, August 2016
Emails that are able to make past both gateway and spam filters are delivered to the inbox. Emails that are deemed malicious or untrustworthy are often blocked at the gateway, never reaching the inbox or the spam folder. For messages that make it past the gateway, spam filters look at the reputation of the sender, subscriber engagement, and content to decide if it should be placed in the inbox or the spam folder.
Getting into the inbox is essential for a successful email program and achieving the highest possible ROI, however this year’s metrics show there is much room for improvement. Marketers looking to boost their own deliverability need to focus on these major elements in their email program.
Key points of focus for an eMail program, according to the report:
Return Path conducted this study using a representative sample of more than 2.5 billion promotional email messages sent to consumers around the world between April 2015 and June 2016. Global and regional statistics are based on performance across more than 140 mailbox providers in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions.
For more information from ReturnPath please visit here.