Delivery rates don't necessarily capture everything that's going on in your email campaign. You can't assume that your target healthcare professional (HCP) sees or reads the message simply because it didn't bounce back. In fact, your HCP might not read any message sent to that email account. Did you know low mailbox usage rates have become a major detriment to email deliverability?
When senders send too many emails to unused or dormant email addresses, they can get flagged by the mailbox provider as spammers. As a result, your messages either end up in the HCP's spam folder or go missing completely when blocked by the email client. This phenomenon distorts deliverability rates because, although the emails get delivered, they go unseen by anyone of relevance.
The Elusive Inbox: One in Five Commercial Emails Isn't Delivered
According to Return Path's 2015 "Deliverability Benchmark Report," the average deliverability rate for commercial emails is now 80 percent, thanks to increasingly complex algorithms applied by email clients to determine what content users want to see. Even with this changing inbox landscape, DMD boasts a deliverability rate of 95 percent. That rate is directly attributable to the sophisticated algorithms DMD uses to ensure that HCPs' email addresses are valid.
Inbox Placement Rates Plummeting, Down Four Percent Globally
Now more than ever, inbox providers are coming between their users and non-value-added emails. In the United States, 25 percent of emails either go to the user's spam folder or are blocked completely by the email service provider. In fact, inbox placement declined from 87 percent in 2014 to only 76 percent in 2015, according to Return Path.
On a global scale, inbox placement rates have dropped four percent since 2014. While placement rates have dropped at several email providers, marketers had an especially difficult time reaching Yahoo! Mail subscribers. At Yahoo!, the second-largest inbox provider in the world, inbox placement rates fell 13 percent from 2014 to 2015.
Low-Read Rates: A One-Way Ticket to Spamville
So what's behind the precipitous drop in inbox placement? According to the report, low read rates are a top reason for messages getting banned from the inbox. Email providers determine whether a sender has low read rates by looking at how many messages are deleted without ever being opened. If a sender sends an email that is deleted by more people than read, the spam folder is its likely fate. The report indicated that 26 percent of respondents had low-read rates.
While the message itself may be the problem for the low-read rate, low mailbox usage is also a contributing factor. If you don't have an authenticated and well-maintained email list, containing HCP-preferred email addresses, you will inevitably send messages to dormant addresses. Sending enough emails to unused addresses earns your message a spam label quickly and may also result in the inbox provider blocking your content altogether.
Clearly, with inbox providers growing more advanced in their spam-prevention techniques every year, marketers can't afford to waste time on unauthenticated lists. Even if the email addresses on such lists are valid, there's a good chance that many are dormant. And, as we've seen here, messaging a dormant address can hurt you just as much as a bounce would with today's algorithms.