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Annoying Marketing Email in Decline Due to Stringent ISP Filtering

Tuesday, Mar 20th, 2012 (1:56 pm) - Score 720

Return Path, an email certification and reputation monitoring company, has today released its latest biannual Global Email Deliverability Benchmark (H2-2011) report. The study found that the number of emails reaching peoples inbox (globally 76.5% make it through SPAM filters) is “rapidly decreasing” (down 6% in H2-2011) and consequently “email marketers are continuing to pour money down the drain” (oh how terrible).

The report views this “major decline in email deliverability” in a negative light and suggests that “many consumers enthusiastically sign up for new emails [to] access special deals [or] get interesting content“. But apparently, when the emails (*cough* SPAM *cough*) finally arrive, the “amount appears overwhelming” and consumers use “the ‘report junk’ button to unsubscribe” in order to cope with the avalanche.

returnpath email delivery h2 2011

Return Path, as should be obvious by now, are far more interested in ensuring that “legitimatemarketing emails get through ISP filters; but many of us would rather they didn’t. Most UK internet users hate marketing emails, including many supposedly legitimate ones, which often surface even after you’ve clicked the “Do not send me any offers!” checkbox.

Matt Blumberg, CEO of Return Path, said:

The findings from our benchmark report show the effects of a perfect storm. Clients are having difficulty in getting their emails delivered, ISPs are tightening requirements on reputation metrics and the number of companies using email to market continues to increase – we see both higher overall email volume and an influx of relatively unsophisticated senders – resulting in decreased inbox placement rates.”

A real shame. In the UK some 83% of emails reached consumer inboxes, while email delivered to the spam folder increased to 7% and missing or blocked email accounted for 10% of all email sent. This figure apparently represents a decline when compared to the first half of 2011.

By comparison Return Path named France and Italy as Europe’s “regional champions” for allowing 91% and 90% respectively of email through their filters 🙂 . Sadly this is not an early April Fools.

Return Path’s Key Reasons for Decline

According to the study, reasons for the significant decline in IPR include ISPs raising the bar on reputation metrics, making it harder than ever for marketers to get into the inbox. ISPs are using metrics that are generally unavailable to marketers through traditional deployment platforms and leveraging new data to determine spam from legitimate email. These metrics include engagement data, subscriber panel complaint data, and trusted subscriber data making deliverability extremely challenging for marketers not using data monitoring tools.

Marketing metrics are also sliding in the wrong direction whether due to slashed marketing budgets, new staffing or reliance on third party ESPs for reputation monitoring. A third major reason for declining IPR is that consumers are overloaded, especially during the busy holiday period. Many consumers enthusiastically sign up for new emails, whether to access special deals, get interesting content or as part of a purchase process. When the emails arrive in the inbox the amount appears overwhelming, with consumers using the “report junk” button to unsubscribe from excess emails to cope with the avalanche.

In fairness there is a legitimate argument against overly aggressive spam filters, which often incorrectly erase personal email between individuals (not covered in Return Path’s report). The best solution to this is usually one that allows customers to control an ISPs anti-spam measures and thus tailor them to suit their own preferences; even if that is merely in the form of a basic “on” or “off” switch.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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