Return Path’s 2019 Sender Score Benchmark report shows overall improvements in email marketing, despite difficult relationships with ISPs.
Email optimization and deliverability are critical to our marketing programs, and a new report[registration required] from Return Path indicates that marketers are starting to pay closer to attention to the key factors that help their email reach the intended inboxes. Reaching the inbox continues to challenge marketers as bad actors continuously develop new methods for spamming email users. Internet service providers (ISPs) constantly update their algorithms to prevent spam from reaching email users, inadvertently causing headaches for email marketers.
Why we should care
Email programs have significantly improved over the past decade. Marketers are becoming more aware of the importance of their sending reputation, while email service providers (ESPs) and deliverability monitoring firms have created new tools and features to help marketers keep track of their deliverability.
When Return Path published its first Sender Score Benchmark report in 2012, 60% of email messages were deployed from IP addresses with a Sender Score below 11 — compare that to only 16% with Sender Scores below 11 today. Nearly half (42%) have a Sender Score between 91-100.
While different inbox provides adhere to different protocols for weighing sender reputation, three key metrics factor into sender reputation: complaints, unknown user rate (bad email addresses) and spam trap count. According to the study, senders with a score over 90 were the sole cohort to maintain complaint rates below 1%. The average complaint rate for senders scoring between 0-90 hovers between 4.6% and 6.3%.
List management is a huge factor in maintaining a strong reputation. Senders with scores above 90 having bounce rates of less than 1%. Unknown users, or bad email addresses, return as hard bounces, which in turn can result in message throttling and blacklisting by ISPs. List management can also improve the detection of spam traps, giving marketers the opportunity to remove decoy email addresses that negatively impact email programs.