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Many marketers overestimate email deliverability, survey finds

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A survey conducted by email service provider Return Path has revealed that two fifths of Europe’s email marketers don’t know if their email messages are being successfully delivered, and even those who are aware of delivery failures don’t have access to the detailed metrics they need to get their messages into the inbox and read.

“Most email broadcasting systems say that a message is delivered if it doesn’t bounce,” says Return Path’s Guy Shelton. “This is grossly misleading, and can give marketers the impression that they’re achieving a deliverability rate of 95 per cent or more, yet our research shows that one in five legitimate marketing emails are blocked. It doesn’t add up.”

In reality, says the firm, the proportion of messages getting into subscriber inboxes and then being read and acted upon is much lower than reported, which leads to a wildly optimistic impression of a campaign’s effectiveness. While 26% of those surveyed believe that their messages do not get blocked at all, the reality is that around 20% of permission-based marketing emails never reach the inbox, instead being filtered into the user’s spam folder or simply going missing en route.

At the heart of the problem, says the report, is the fact that recipient ISPs don’t report back to marketers when messages are sent to the junk folder or blocked from delivery, and the only way for a marketer to know where their messages end up is to use a seedlist-based monitoring system. This means populating the database with known good email addresses at all the ISPs where they have customers, then monitoring whether those email addresses receive the email that gets sent.

The full report, ‘Emailing In The Dark: What European Email Marketers Don’t Understand About Deliverability’, can be downloaded free of charge from Return Path’s website.

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