Deliverability and list reputation
Apart from having a well crafted message, a quality mailing depends on its deliverability. Deliverability - or rate of delivery - is represented by the percentage of successfully sent messages (successfully sent = sent - bounces) that arrive in the inbox vs. the spam folder.
The delivery rate depends on many factors including the content of the message, the reputation of the sending infrastructure, and the reputation of the sender. The sender's reputation is a condition that can be measured, managed and improved. We measure it via the Reputation Index.
How is reputation measured?
The Reputation index is an internal proprietary algorithm that takes into account several factors like open rate, click rate, bounce rate, etc. which are reported by major providers like Microsoft, Yahoo and Google. This value is calculated every night for every mailing above 1,000 recipients.
To access the Reputation index go to the Homepage > List, scroll down to Recent sends section. The value is a % out of 100.
Why is reputation applied at the account level?
Since the value is calculated based on mailings of 1,000 or more recipients within a List, the abuse reports are related to the sender of the message of which certain identifiers are in place for providers to more easily recognize if the sender is spamming.
The following identifiers are linked to each sender's account and server:
- IP address
- Sender domain
- Envelope-sender: separate bounce address
- List quality (recipients' addresses)
- Spam complaints
How does a bad reputation impact the sender?
The reputation directly affects inboxing rate (the ability for the messages to reach the "Inbox" as opposed to "Spam" folders) and affects all messages sent from that user's console, regardless of the quality of the messages. Even if there is no direct relationship between a bad reputation and antispam blockers, it is very unlikely a message will be flagged as spam if the reputation is good.
Even if maintaining a good reputation is the main strategy for avoiding spam labeling, creating a quality message is also critical. For example, a message should be void of HTML errors or numeric links (eg. http://188.8.131.52/IMG/LOGO.GIF)
We recommend using the SpamCheck option within the Check-Up feature when preparing to send any message.
How to improve the sending reputation?
We recommend following these best practices:
Reduce Spam complaints. Here's how:
- Use a From address that is easily recognizable and well-known to the recipients, and try not to change it over time.
- Send relevant and coherent messages and have the full, open consent of the recipients.
- Indicate how you obtained permission to send that very message (For example: You are receiving this message because you recently subscribed to...)
- Avoid using a "noreply" in your sending address, but read responses and be sure to manage all unsubscribe requests or personal recipient data. These are factors that could potentially create red flags.
- Ensure the automatic Unsubscribe links are working properly.
- Ensure the Unsubscribe links are easily visible at the bottom of the message instead of at the top.
- Invite recipients to add your address to their contact lists for easy identification.
Keep your lists clean! Here's how:
- Send messages only to recipients who have given verifiable consent and ideally have opted-in and to not use acquired lists, public lists, internet lists or even lists directly from your inbox.
- Gather addresses using a subscription double opt in form (confirmation message) where the recipient must click a link to activate their subscription.) Go to Settings > List Settings > Subscription forms.
Configure your settings properly. Here's how:
- Activate your SPF Authentication and SENDERID on the sender domain.
- Set up abuse@yourdomain and postmaster@yourdomain boxes, where yourdomain is the sender domain.
- Register your domain credentials at www.abuse.net to monitor spam complaints.
Keeping a list clean
More information on how to keep a clean list
Managing inactive recipients
Manage inactive addresses: i.e. those that have never or rarely opened a message in the last 6 months.
You can choose to:
- Unsubscribe them (note that in terms of conversion rates of click, open, etc., this will have minimal impact because there was very little activity history to begin with. However, by cleaning up the List will greatly affect reputation and deliverability and the improvement will be measurable.
- Re-engage them: Send a re-engagement message where if they don't take action, they will be unsubscribed by default.
Send a message like "This is our final attempt to verify your interest in receiving our newsletter. Do you still want to hear from us? Yes, I want to continue receiving your newsletter. No, please take me off your mailing list." The "yes" link can take the recipient to a Thank you page.
After 30 days, you can verify who's clicked on the "Yes" link, reactivate them, and at the same time unsubscribe any recipients who didn't respond.
Identifying inactive recipients
Use filters in the Marketing+ menu to do so. For example, create an Activity Filter named Inactive recipients which contain addresses
- Didn't read ANY - set a start date 6 months ago, and the end date is "today," AND
- Didn't click open - ANY - set a start date 6 months ago, and the end date is "today"
To know how many there are, perform an advanced search using that filter.
- Click on Statistics > Email > Analysis and Benchmarks > Opens
- At the bottom of the page Recipient Management, move the recipients with Opens more than 0 in an ad hoc group (Example: Active at least once)
- Go to Groups and create a new group named "Inactive Recipients"
- Start the sending email process and choose All recipients and choose Exclude Groups and select the group "Active at least once."
- At this point, the mailing queue will have all recipients who have never opened a message or clicked a link, so click See options, select the group "Inactive recipients" and on "Copy."