Deliverability Metrics... What Do I Need To Know? | FireDrum Email Marketing

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Chart of email marketing metrics going up
The success of an email marketing campaign shouldn’t be based solely on open rates and click through reports. Because of recent ESP changes, it is vital to keep track of your deliverability metrics. Doing so will increase user engagement, which will ultimately increase your sales and revenue. Modern tools have given marketers the ability to carefully track, measure and react to these issues with a few clicks.
Engagement and deliverability issues stem from many causes, but are most commonly due to soft and hard bounces. Knowing the differences between these two types of bounces provide insight to fixing problem areas you may be having.
Analyzing the click-to-open ratio for each campaign is another metric that will help your marketing efforts. In addition to understanding what drives customer engagement, email clients, also known as ESPs, such as Gmail and Yahoo, will recognize your positive sending reputation.
In short, you must track, measure and react to the metric reports created for each campaign. There are many other factors that contribute to the overall success of your sales goals and relationship with all email clients. This is just the beginning of a successful deliverability strategy.

What are bounces rates?

When an email “bounces,” you typically receive a response notifying you that your message cannot be delivered. Most of these emails are “soft bounces,” or emails that temporarily cannot be delivered. Hard bounces, however, are much more detrimental to your overall deliverability strategy. These bounces are permanent. Trying to send multiple emails to the account after a hard bounce will cause ESPs to react negatively. FireDrum helps you by automatically moving those hard bounces into a deactivated status so you don’t send to them again. This helps protect your delivery.
Now that we understand the differences, it’s time we understood how to tell soft and hard bounces apart. Any code beginning with a 4xx in your “delivery failure” explanation is considered a soft bounce. You can you can try sending an email to this address again at a later time. If you see a code beginning with 5xx (“permanent failure”), immediately remove this address from your sending list. This hard bounce will cause damage to your sending reputation.
Resending emails to hard bounces will cause major consequences in your general email deliverability. Marketing experts agree that it will also hinder your ESPs reputation. Analyzing your bounce rates and cleaning out your send list will improve the overall success of your email campaigns.
To protect your deliverability and improve ESPs relationships, all hard bounces received through FireDrum accounts are automatically deactivated.

Spam Complaints and Traps Explained

Monitoring your spam complaints is an important step to the deliverability process. ESPs generate abuse reports that determine the placement of your emails in a user’s inbox. A common question we often hear is, why are my subscribers marking my emails as spam? There are a variety of reasons why one might mark your message as spam, but your focus should be on analyzing the spam reports. Monitoring the behavior of your email subscribers from various ESPs will provide valuable information. Every provider reacts differently, but spam clicks usually result in messages being filtered out of inboxes and into bulk folders. This causes blocked or delayed delivery for all of your campaign recipients.
Monitoring and measuring changes in your spam complaint rates will help reduce deliverability issues. Take advantage of your FireDrum’s detailed reports and get into the habit of evaluating your complaint rates on a daily basis. *Note, not all ESPs offer data for your spam complaint rates (including Gmail). Research what each ESPs offers.
Evaluating each complaint report will give you valuable insight on deliverability rates and general user behavior. Understanding these reports will also help you avoid the recycled and pristine spam trap.

Recycled Spam Trap – Catches senders who continue to email unengaged subscribers. This email address is usually old or inactive.

Pristine Spam Trap – Catches senders who obtained this email address without opt-in permissions.
The pristine spam trap is considered more harmful to your email marketing strategy. The best way to avoid these spam traps is to avoid using purchased or borrowed lists. Carefully monitor and react to the amount of inactive and unengaged subscribers.

Bulking, Blocking and Blacklisting Explained

How do I know I’ve been bulked, blocked or blacklisted? Poor email marketing results can be traced back to deliverability issues. These issues are most commonly rooted from your ESPs negatively reacting to spam complaints. Knowing the differences between these issues will assist in strengthening your deliverability metrics.

✔ ESPd accepts your message
✕ Message is automatically sent to your BULK or SPAM folder
Periodically analyzing your open rates will help evaluate bulking status. If you notice a major decrease in opens, you are most likely “bulked.” Utilize our detailed reporting services to track inbox placement trends.

✕ ESPS doesn’t accept your message
✕ Email is bounced back
Watch and react to bounce rates. As we know, hard bounces with affect your overall reputation with ESPS. Increased soft bounce rates, in this situation, will increase your chances of being blocked. Like bulking, it’s most beneficial to focus on your already engaged subscribers. For new subscribers, create a welcome email that defines your goals upfront. This gives them an overview of what to expect and the chance to express their true interests before marketing you as “spam.”

✕ Email is immediately flagged for sending unwanted messages
✕ All emails moving forward are blocked
High bounce rates may increase your possibility of being placed on a blacklist. Once placed on blacklist, you may notice a significant decrease in deliverability rates. To avoid the possibility of being placed on a blacklist, require a double opt-in element for new email subscribers.

Protect your reputation with ESPs and start using the modern tracking tools we have available. These practices will not only increase email deliverability, but customer engagement too.


The next article in this series will cover switching to a new ESP provider. We’ll discuss the benefits, pitfalls and process of switching. → “Successfully Migrating to a New ESP, Part 1
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