Delivery issues — improperly formatted email addresses, disposable domains and duplicates — are the top threats facing email marketers, judging by 2021 Email Hygiene And Verification Trends And Benchmarks, a new study by Webbula.
Of the threats identified by Webbula for clients in 2020, these delivery hazards made up 33.6% of all list hygiene and validation threats.
The problem was at a peak in January, remained high for several months, and finally sank as a percentage of all threats in the fourth quarter.
Reputation threats were another uncomfortably high risk for marketers last year, making up 6.8% of the total. Including blacklisting, spam traps and honeypots, they reached a high in October.
Honeypots can hurt marketers even if their list is 100% double opt-in, the study says.
That said, the study cautions that marketers shouldn’t overreact to these problems.
“Some in the email industry recommend removing all unresponsive email addresses like this from your list – but that could mean losing 30% or more of your 0.15 subscriber base,” it states.
The study adds: “That’s overkill. It also overlooks the 'billboard' effect of email, where just reading your subject line motivates people to visit your website or one of your brick-and-mortar locations.”
Next on the list, constituting 3.0% of all threats, is invalid email addresses.
These are risky, given that marketers' reputation will suffer if these are emailed often enough. The incidence of reputation threats increased at the end of 2020, and this trend will surely continue in 2021 as brands aggressively try to grow their lists, the study says.
Fraud threats constitute 2.6% of the overall total. Despite that low percentage, they are the second-most dangerous type of email address on marketers' lists, and include bots, scammers and bogus users.
These were very prevalent during the early months of 2020, and many were COVID-19 related. Then they trended downward toward the end of summer. But these types of threats will continue to be an issue in 2021, the study forecasts.
Meanwhile, conversion threats represented 1.6% of the total. The study defines these as “support@, help@, etc.), profanity usernames, and known complainers.”
“Known complainers are as likely or more likely to damage your company’s online reputation as they are to buy, so it’s best to remove them,” the study says. “You know those people who have nothing nice to say on review sites? This is them.”
In any event, they are unlikely to convert.
Finally, beta threats constitute 0.4% of the total, and include dark traps, soft bounces and previously suppressed names.