Study: 20% of Marketing Email Never Reaches the Inbox


Sometimes email is too inexpensive for our own good.  It sure is tempting and certainly is very easy to send too frequently or assume permission or “just mail that generic sale notice/product announcement to everyone.”  

Now, I get a lot of postal mail that is not that interesting to me.  And surely most of the tweets I see are not that relevant.  Even search results can be off target.  Yet, there is a penalty for not respecting and delighting our email subscribers that does not exist in other direct channels:  It’s called the “report spam” button.  Even a small number of those spam complaints will get all your messages blocked by the ISPs like Yahoo!, Gmail and Hotmail, as well as corporate systems. 

It happens to the best of us.  Turns out that, despite all we’ve learned about email marketing best practices and the rules of engagement  for getting past the spam filters, the average inbox deliverability is still only about  80% according to a new Return Path study.

Leaving 20% of your marketing messages on the spam pile is like leaving 20% of your revenue behind.  Don’t stand for it.  Complacency or thinking that “it’s the other guy” is just not valid.  This study looks at commercial senders like you and me – branded companies with permission grants and a desire to do the right thing.  And we still lose an average of 20%!

The good news is that averages can be beat.  Respect your subscribers, curb your frequency, target and customize, keep your list clean, authenticate, process bounces correctly and maintain a solid infrastructure.  You will lower complaints and improve your inbox reach.  When you reach the inbox, you can earn a response and revenue.

– Stephanie Miller, VP, Market Development, Return Path, Inc.