Email Deliverability (updated May 10, 2022)

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Put simply, it is the ability to deliver emails to subscribers’ inboxes. It is a metrics most email senders use to gauge the likelihood of their email campaigns reaching subscribers’ inboxes. Email delivery, on the other hand refers only to  whether or not a receiver accepts your email (i.e. does the email address exist?). Factors contributing to email deliverability include things like internet service providers (ISPs), email service providers (ESPs), formats, engagement, and sender reputation

As email providers begin to institute new privacy protection policies for their email users and their inboxes, how does that impact the email deliverability of emails sent using Anthology Encompass? While we don’t have all the answers, we do have several thoughts and ideas to help provide some perspective on email deliverability.

What You Need to Know

This is an Industry Change

Email service providers across industries are being challenged to think about email deliverability differently. This is not unique to Anthology, or to higher education. Learning to adapt to change is something that we do well in the technology space and we believe that we will adapt and find creative solutions for engagement moving forward. 

Consumers care about their privacy

Consumers are becoming more aware of how their information and data is tracked, stored, and used for marketing purposes. Email deliverability is only one piece of a broader conversation around online marketing and advertising best practices. Anthology is committed to compliance while providing the best service and tools to our institutional partners. 

Apple is Not the First

Apple’s announcement of Mail Privacy Protection has attracted a lot of attention to the topic of email deliverability. But the email industry has been moving in this direction for a while with other providers already implementing similar privacy policies. At Anthology, we are focused on adapting to these changes and invite you to join us

Open Rates are Not the Only Metric 

Industry experts say that open rates are becoming increasingly inaccurate, but most senders still rely on this metric because of how easy it is to measure and quantify. Given the change in email client privacy policies, the open rate is likely no longer a valid indicator of success. It is important to look at the broader picture and incorporate other metrics to measure campaign effectiveness.  For example, metrics focusing on interactions that constituents make in response to messages are a better indicator of the messages’ success (i.e. the initial click rate, and initial number of clicks, as well as conversions to registrations or donations).  

What is the impact of the iOS and similar changes? 

For users, who choose to activate the Mail Privacy Protection after upgrading to iOS 15, it will appear to them that they are opening every email regardless of the action they are actually taking. Apple is remotely activating the tracking pixel that indicates an open for every message for Apple Mail users. Therefore, the open rate on communications will increase. Note that this does not impact people who use Gmail or another mail app on their iOS device. 

How do I evaluate email communications? 

As indicated above, there are other metrics that should be used instead of the open rate, such as the click-through rate or conversion rate. However, if you are still being asked to use the open rate as an indicator, be sure to compare open rates to other recent communications (i.e. those following the Mail Privacy Protection changes which first rolled out in the fall). In comparing open rates for all clients between January 1, 2021 and April 30, 2021 and the same time in the 2022 calendar year, open rates have increased by about 15%.    

 

Build Your Sender Reputation  

To get your email campaigns into inboxes, you need a good sender reputation. This is something that is built and maintained over time and should be considered  when designing any email campaign.  Below you will find areas of focus to help improve your reputation.  

 

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Clean & Engaged Audience

Regularly review and clean your list of unengaged subscribers, unknown users, and bad email addresses.

 

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The Right Number 

Sending too many emails could be considered “spammy” and often leads to more unsubscribes. 

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Avoid Hard Bounces 

A hard bounce occurs when an email address doesn’t exist. ISPs factor hard bounces into sender reputation. 

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Valuable Content 

Provide your subscribers with valuable content that they want to read and engage with. Use segmented campaigns to help deliver more relevant content to distinct audiences. 

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Clear Calls to Action 

Your sender reputation improves the clicks and replies you receive. Provide clear CTAs to encourage your audience to engage.

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A/B Testing 

Improve your email performance by analyzing send times, subject lines, and content for optimal results. 

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