What’s in a name? Email deliverability measures your ability to deliver emails to your recipients without being lost, blocked, or otherwise ending up in spam.
According to one report, only 79% of commercial email end up in the inbox. There are a lot of technical processes and terms that determine what affects your email deliverability. It’s imperative for an email marketer to know the ins-and-outs of deliverability so you can maximize your potential recipients.
Read on for 5 email deliverability terms that you must know – and how they can improve your deliverability rate.
Authentication is a way for an objective source to verify that you are who you say you are. This is necessary because there are spammers and phishers who will gladly pretend to be you or your company. By authenticating your emails, you are proving that you are who you say you are. There are several ways to achieve authentication including: DKIM, DMARC and SPF.
Why you should care: If you don’t authenticate your emails, the ISPs will wonder why, just as if you refused to show proof of ID in person if you were asked. And if the ISPs doubt you are who you say you are, they probably won’t let your emails through. Talk to your ESP to find out which authentication options are best for you.
2. Reputation or Sender Reputation
Your authentication is who you are. Your reputation is what you do. So yes, we talked about authentication above, but there is a next step to it. It’s not enough to prove you are who you say you are to please the ISPs. You must also demonstrate that you know how to behave. This determines your sender reputation. As with real life, your reputation—good or bad—speaks volumes about you.
Why you should care: Your sender reputation reflects how well you do or don’t adhere to email deliverability best practices, and a bad reputation means ISPs won’t let your email through to your intended recipients. You can check your reputation yourself, but we also recommend you work with your ESP to make sure it’s as high as it can be.
A blacklist is a list of known spammers that ISPs will block. This can happen at a “high” level, such as when a major ISP uses a blacklist from third-party organizations like Spamhaus. Or it can happen at a “local” level, for example, when a corporation blocks emails from a certain IP address from getting through the server to employee inboxes.
Why you should care: Although if you’re reading this, you’re not likely to be someone who will be on a Spamhaus list, you can be temporarily blacklisted through carelessness or not adhering to best practices. This could be the result of infrequent sending, sending to inactives, lack of list hygiene or something else that causes a large number of people to report your emails as spam.
You probably know that bounce is when emails don’t make it to the recipient and are returned to the sender. But you may not know that there are two kinds of bounces—and that only one is really important. A soft bounce is only a temporary bounce. This happens when someone’s inbox is too full, for example. A hard bounce, on the other hand, means an email address is no longer valid.
Why you should care: Soft bounces aren’t your fault and there’s really nothing you can do about them. Hard bounces, on the other hand, can be the result of poor list hygiene on your part, or the lack of an effective opt-in subscription process that ensures a valid email address. ISPs will notice if you have a high rate of hard bounces, and it will affect your sending reputation and deliverability.
5. Inbox placement rate
The inbox placement rate (IPR) is a relatively new metric. It measures those email that actually get to the inbox, versus into a spam or junk folder.
Why you should care: If your email deliverability rate is 94% but your inbox placement rate is only 89%, then your email deliverability rate is really what? Yep, 89%. You need to know not how many emails are getting delivered as much as how many emails are getting delivered to the right place.
There you have it. Knowing about these 5 important terms will help you better communicate with your ESP and reach your intended target audience every time.