Our Thoughts.

Email Deliverability—A Well-Kept Secret

I know what you’re thinking. “My emails deliver well! Our email platform always reports that 99% were delivered.” But, did you know that’s not really what “email deliverability” is?

The stat you are referencing is based on whether or not the student’s mail server allows your email in. True email deliverability, and the kind we focus on exclusively at Waybetter Marketing, is whether or not your email lands in the student’s inbox instead of their spam folder.

To Recap:

  • “Delivered” happens when a message sent is accepted by a mail server.
  • “Deliverability”, or inboxing, is when a message has been placed in the recipient’s inbox (primary, promotions or other) and not the spam folder.

Why This Is Important:

Email is almost always accepted by the mail servers. It’s common for delivery rates to be over 95%, even if a large portion of your mail is being delivered to the spam folder. Delivery rates give you a false sense of security, especially when combined with the easily misunderstood industry jargon “deliverability”. And, according to Waybetter’s VP of Platforms, Lee Carson, things have evolved rapidly over the past few years:

  • During 2018, Slate was experiencing email deliverability challenges and rolled out a series of options later that year that radically improved delivery rates. Newer clients have been urged to make these optional setup changes, but some older clients have not fully employed. These configuration options are available in most CRM systems, so this is not a Slate-specific problem.
  • Throughout 2019, Google made a series of algorithm changes to aggressively combat spam and continues to fine tune. We have found that clients that are not actively managing their email reputation with Google eventually get caught in the spam box. Microsoft and Verizon Media Group have followed with similar and sometimes more aggressive changes. Setting up email authentication and aligning with your domain is the best way to improve and gain visibility into your email reputation with any inbox provider.
  • Starting in 2020, COVID has caused unpredictable behavior by Google’s spam filters. Reputations have shifted up and down unexpectedly.
  • There has been a rise in filtering and scanning from safety and security bots. Companies like Gaggle (gaggle.net) and Barracuda Networks (barracuda.com) will open and click emails to determine if the contents are safe from inappropriate content and viruses before deciding if it will allow a message recipient to receive it. Unfortunately, this gives the illusion of high open and click rates and hides the reality that your messages are getting blocked. Slate’s analytic systems do some of the work to filter out false positives from more well-known companies like Gaggle, but there are instances where a similar competing technology is used instead.

Prior to 2019, you could be a great email marketer without this deep email knowledge. Today, you either need to learn it or hire it.

If you’re a Waybetter client, we are keenly focused on understanding this “domain”—pun intended for you technical folks!—and we are keenly focused on your email deliverability. You’re taken care of. And you are guaranteed to hear from us if we see any red flags related to our shared mailing reputation.

Look out for additional Waybetter blog posts about email deliverability…this is one of many.

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