Global Email Deliverability Improves Slightly, But U.S. Lags Behind

One of every five email marketing messages fails to reach its intended recipient, according to Return Path’s annual email deliverability report.

Global email deliverability has remained stagnant -- hovering around 80% -- for the third consecutive year, according to Return Path analysis of 2 billion promotional emails sent to consumers between April 2016 and June 2017. Return Path’s data is derived from performance statistics across 140 mailbox providers throughout America, South America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions.

Twenty percent of promotional email either lands in the spam folder or goes missing altogether, limiting the potential ROI of email campaigns by a fifth. Global email deliverability only improved slightly from the 79% deliverability reported in Return Path’s 2015 and 2016 studies.

"Reaching the inbox has always been a challenge for marketers,” says George Bilbrey, president and co-founder of Return Path. “Today, one fifth of all email fails to reach the inbox, which means marketers are missing out on potential revenue, as well as the opportunity to build strong relationships with subscribers."

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Canadian and Australian email marketers have the highest success rates for deliverability, maintaining an average inbox placement rate of 90%. Australia also ranked as the best country for email deliverability in Return Path’s 2016 study, and has become a startup hotbed for email marketing technology. Canada’s deliverability rates have improved from 79% in 2015 to 90% today, likely due to Canada’s more stringent email spam laws.

The United States has the lowest inbox placement rate among the countries analyzed by Return Path. Although deliverability rates have improved from 73% to 77% year-over-year, the United States trails European countries. The U.K. has an average inbox placement of 84%, while France and Spain both have deliverability rates of 82%. 

Bilbrey recommends that marketers pay special attention to their sender score reputation, engagement metrics, and content to increase inbox placement rates.   

“Mailbox providers and spam filters use these key metrics to decide whether or not messages will be delivered to the inbox," he says. 

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