Welcome to the Oracle Modern Marketing Blog:
The latest in marketing strategy, technology, and innovation.

Key Email Deliverability Insights Into the Big 4 ISPs

Oftentimes, marketers will glance at their overall deliverability and assume that there are no issues because their overall metrics are above problematic thresholds. Looking at deliverability metrics in this manner is better than not looking at them at all, but this method can miss the mark in showing the whole truth about an email program’s deliverability.

Generally, ISPs look at most of the same fundamental factors when determining whether to send an email to the inbox, to the spam folder, or to block it completely. Each ISP will react differently to hitting thresholds of key deliverability factors. So, while Gmail may think that you deserve to be in the inbox, Hotmail may think you’re best suited for the spam folder. This is why it’s so important to monitor deliverability metrics by ISP.

I took a look at metrics across the big 4 ISPs (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, and AOL) for the month of April 2016, and this totaled over half a billion emails in volume. This data included spam folder placement rates, read rates, and deleted rates. Utilizing panel data, as opposed to seed data, means that these metrics are pretty darn accurate. These emails are not being sent to dead email addresses—they are being sent to real active members of marketers’ email lists, and Deliverability Plus is able to see how these users react to marketing messages.

So, what did the data show?  First let’s take a look at some big picture conclusions.

  • Spam folder placement varied widely across ISPs, with Hotmail being the most aggressive and AOL the least:

 Average of Spam %

  • Yahoo audiences tend to be the least engaged, with by far the lowest read rate, while the other ISPs yielded pretty similar results:

Average of Read %

  • On the other hand, Gmail users seem to be the most intolerant of emails that they don’t wish to read, with a whopping 39.31% average deleted without reading rate:

Average of Delete %

Each of these insights helps us to draw some conclusions about the individual filtering methods of these ISPs:

  • AOL, with its middle-of-the-road deleted rates and read rates, does not tend to send messages that fall around these engagement averages to the spam folder. We know that AOL is extremely sensitive to spam complaints, though, and this is one of the primary metrics that they are using in their filtering systems. Thus, when AOL deliverability issues are seen, paying close attention to spam complaints is key.
  • Gmail users tend to receive a lot of messages, which could make them delete-happy, and thus, this may be a key metric that Gmail looks at when making the decision to send more than 25% of marketing messages received to the spam folder. Paying close attention to engagement metrics at Gmail will be a key piece to deliverability success.
  • Hotmail users are not overly likely to read OR to delete an email as compared to the other ISPs, and yet Hotmail sent 34.74% of marketing messages to the spam folder in April, far exceeding any other ISP. This may mean that marketers will want to choose more aggressive engagement-based segmentation methods for their Hotmail audience, since it appears that Hotmail has lower thresholds for what may be considered spam folder-worthy.
  • Yahoo users are least likely to read messages, so in order to avoid being among the 26.49% of marketing messages sent to the spam folder at Yahoo, paying close attention to the relevancy of content is key.

It’s important to remember that there are many unique factors that different ISPs take into account when determining a sender’s worthiness for inbox placement. Download the Email Deliverability: Guide for Modern Marketers today and you'll learn how to achieve email deliverability that really delivers.

Email Deliverability: Guide for Modern Marketers

Be the first to comment

Comments ( 0 )
Please enter your name.Please provide a valid email address.Please enter a comment.CAPTCHA challenge response provided was incorrect. Please try again.