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When It Comes To Email Speed, It’s All About Reputation

In my position managing Deliverability Support for Oracle Marketing Cloud, I see how senders often take for granted, just how quickly our email communications arrive to their intended recipients. In the course of a few minutes, mass marketing campaigns are deployed to audiences consisting of tens of thousands.

To think that it was just a few years ago, when any type of marketing communication took days to make its way through our postal service, before it got in front of its intended audience. And if those messages were intended for individuals overseas, it could be weeks before that message was delivered to the end recipient.

Today, we do have the luxury of receiving marketing communications at the speed of light, however the speed in which these messages arrive in the inbox, is by no means guaranteed. In my role at the Oracle Marketing Cloud, I come across situations where senders pose the following questions:

  • Why are my email marketing communications seeing a delay in ultimately delivering to the inbox?
  • Is there something wrong with our set up?
  • Is it the domain?
  • What can we do to fix this?

These are all valid concerns, and I am here to explain that the speed in which an email is delivered is almost always due to a sender’s reputation, which is of course ultimately driven by their mailing practices.

All domains (whether it is a large one like Gmail, or a smaller domain like Roadrunner) have a finite number of resources that they can utilize to ensure their end users are receiving the messages that they want to receive. Therefore, those domains are always aiming to make certain that they are utilizing those resources as efficiently and effectively as possible.

In order to do this, domains appear to create a virtual “line” or “queue” when experiencing higher than average incoming volume. What we have found is that these domains will often form that “line” based off of an incoming sender’s reputation.

This means that the top performers go to the front of that line, and the poor performers go to the back (or the spam folder, depending on how bad that sender’s reputation really is). The bottom line is that the delivery queue is almost never a first come first serve type of scenario. All email messages are not treated equally, so it is important that senders build a positive reputation in order to stand out amongst their peers.

The good news here is that all sender’s completely control their ability to have their messages delivered to the inbox quickly, and without delay. You can accomplish this with a solid deliverability/marketing strategy. Therefore; the vast majority of time, the speed in which a message is delivered to its recipient’s inbox is something that is completely controllable by the sender.

At the Oracle Marketing Cloud, we always recommend that our senders ensure they are doing everything they can to adhere to all recommended best practices, in order to achieve the best (and fastest!) inbox delivery possible.

Making sure that relevant messages are being sent to the individuals that want to receive those communications, when they want to receive them, is key to developing that positive reputation. This positive reputation will help a sender’s message arrive in the inbox quickly. Following specific best practices, such as segmenting based off of engagement, managing frequency based off of behavior, and acquiring explicit permission when developing an audience are all great ways to increase the chance of successful and speedy deliverability.

Considering most modern marketers have at least one campaign in their repertoire that is time sensitive, doing everything that can be done to be “at the front of the line” at important domains is a recipe for success. In terms of executing key marketing initiatives that will ultimately impact the bottom line for a sender, being first in front of your customers can certainly make a difference.

Anything short of a positive reputation, and you could be at risk of having your important marketing communications riding the old Pony Express for quite some time.

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