Email marketing remains a marketer’s most powerful tool. It not only produces an impressively high ROI, it’s also highly measurable. It’s not uncommon to hear people boast about high deliverability as one of these metrics. However what does that statistic ‘deliverability’ actually mean?
Statistics suggest that 1 in every 5 emails fail to land in the inbox  which means 20% of opportunities to connect with customers are being missed. Having great deliverability is what every marketer strives for but it is something that has been difficult for people to define. Now it’s not uncommon for words to have different meanings in different countries, the most obvious example being football.
Deliverability, like football, has many different meanings
No wonder Googling the term “deliverability” leaves you more confused than when you started. Metrics and people’s interpretation of their meaning is one of the biggest reasons for confusion around the topic of deliverability and many marketers mistakenly feel secure in their ability to reach subscribers if they have a high delivery rate. This however, isn’t necessarily the case…
Delivered vs ‘accepted’
Often what marketers believe to be a measurement of their deliverability is in reality the proportion of emails that were ‘accepted.’ An email is considered to be delivered if it does not bounce or doesn’t get returned to the mail server stating it was unable to be delivered for a specific reason. Delivery rate is a calculation of mail sent minus the volume that bounced.
Deliverability is making sure you are doing what you can to put yourself in the best position to be actually seen by your email subscribers. Not stuck in spam or ignored.
Inbox placement is an ongoing battle for email marketers and is effected by many factors such as CAN-SPAM, PECR, CASL compliance, sender reputation, list hygiene, authentication and blacklisting. The number of active subscribers, open and click-through rates also can influence reputation with certain ISPs such as Hotmail or Gmail. Successful deliverability depends on a combination of best practices, including authentication and email reputation.
The rules of deliverability go through perpetual change and proven techniques can prevent failures. Many people believe there is a silver bullet or a guarantee that a supplier can provide 99% deliverability rates, in reality sending mail to those who want it is the only truly proven way to get great deliverability.
Deliverability is a critical element of email marketing and something that all marketers should be considering.
Want to learn more about deliverability? Check out our ebook “You’ve got mail! Spotlight on email deliverability,” where we offer a proactive strategy for building brand loyality and improving ROI through email deliverability and optimized email marketing programs.
Read related posts about email marketing and deliverability here.
 Return path Deliverability Benchmark Report http://returnpath.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/2015-Deliverability-Benchmark-Report.pdf
Tom Corbett is an expert on Email Deliverability