Reputation Is Critical For Email Deliverability

Highly reputable email senders see 20% more of their messages delivered successfully, according to a study released Tuesday by Return Path. 

Return Path’s annual study, Sender Score Benchmark Report, evaluates the influence of a sender’s reputation on email deliverability.

A sender’s reputation score is a number, calculated from 0–100, that mailbox providers use to evaluate whether or not email sent by a particular IP address is likely to be legitimate and wanted. A sender that sends too much unwanted email, such as spam, is more likely to have their reputation drop and their email be filtered.

Each ESP calculates a sender score differently, but Return Path’s report suggests that a high sender score is critical for email deliverability. Higher-scoring senders have a significant boost in email deliverability, according to the study, an analysis of more than 4 trillion email messages. The data is derived from Return Path’s Reputation Network and Sender Score product, a free reputation calculation services available online.

Email senders with a reputation score above 90 saw an average of 92% of their emails reach its intended recipient, according to the report, but email deliverability drops to 72% for senders scoring between 81-90. A sender with a reputation score between 71 and 80 only sees an average of 45% of their emails delivered, while senders scoring below 70 have an even smaller fraction of their messages delivered. 

“If email doesn’t reach the inbox, brands lose the opportunity to connect with customers and ultimately make a sale — so every message counts,” states George Bilbrey, president at Return Path. “But hitting the inbox is harder than ever. That’s why monitoring your reputation and maintaining it at the highest level possible is critical to email marketing success.”

Gmail and Microsoft were identified as the mailbox providers with the strictest deliverability requirements, and only senders scoring above 90 are able to exceed global inbox averages. 

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