Unknown KPIs for E-mail Deliverability - Ordo Ab Chao Group

Unknown KPIs for E-mail Deliverability

E-mail deliverability KPIs

E-mail deliverability is not just about following best practices. Compliance with common standards is not enough to let your messages actually land in the inbox. Today’s shippers need to create an engaging email concept that not only encourages subscribers to read – and hopefully convert – their emails. Above all, a lack of read emails leads to a reduced deliverability.

Tracking engagement-based metrics (which measure how subscribers interact with your emails) are a critical step in evaluating the success of email concepts and their e-mail deliverability. Mailbox providers, such as Microsoft, Gmail, and Yahoo, track the positive and negative interactions that subscribers have with their emails to determine where to place your incoming messages. Therefore, marketing experts must also pay attention to these measures.

While most senders track metrics such as opening rates and click rates, mailbox providers actually use other KPIs to measure how their users (their subscribers) interact with your messages.

Above all, attention is paid to:

  • Read news:
    A positive indication that subscribers want to receive messages from a specific sender.
  • Forwarded messages:
    A positive indication that a message is desired and probably of a personal nature.
  • Messages replied to:
    A positive indication that the recipient wanted the message and that others wanted it.
  • Messages marked as “not spam”:
    Subscribers who mark messages in the spam folder as “non-spam” signal mailbox providers that emails should be delivered to the inbox.
  • Messages marked as spam:
    A negative signal that this email is spam and does not belong in the inbox.
  • Messages deleted before reading:
    A negative indicator that your message was not relevant or wanted.

These KPIs may not be familiar to you, as they are typically not included in the reports provided by your email sender (ESP). Instead, these metrics are measured by mailbox providers – not ESPs – based on all the emails they receive. These then analyze how their users interact with emails from a particular sender, and consider these parameters in their inbox placement decisions and e-mail deliverability deliverables. Until recently, marketers could not access these key metrics or use them to improve email performance.

In the following, we present these “missing metrics” that every marketer should follow, what they mean, and why they are important. The Return Path PDF download also lists industry-specific benchmarks so you can rate your odds against your competitors.


Important parameters for the e-mail deliverability:

Spam Quote (“Spam Placement Rate”)

The spam placement rate is calculated as the number of emails sent from all sent emails to the spam folder. Your spam placement rate shows the percentage of your emails identified by the receiving email provider’s spam filter system as unwanted bulk emails or spam.

Read rate (“Read Rate”)

The read rate is calculated as the number of e-mails marked as “read” from all sent e-mails. The read rate is similar to the open rate, but much more accurate, because it takes into account all emails displayed, regardless of image rendering.

Ignore rate (“Delete before reading rate”)

As the name indicates, this parameter measures how often a recipient deletes emails without reading them. Calculated as the total number of unread emails deleted from total emails sent.

Response rate

The response rate is calculated as the number of replies to your email from the total number of emails sent.

Forward Rate

The forwarding rate is calculated as the number of e-mails that are forwarded to others by the total number of e-mails sent.

Complaint Rate

The complaint rate is the rate at which subscribers report their messages as spam. It is calculated as the number of “report spam / junk complaints” from the emails sent.

Rescue Rate (“This is not Spam Rate”)

The rate “This is not spam” is calculated as the number of times a subscriber marks your message “This is not spam” or “No spam” from the number of emails sent to the spam folder. Another term for this would be the rescue rate, as these messages are salvaged by subscribers from the spam folder.

Source: Return Path, 2018
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