Ever thought you’d mastered the email game?

Incredible open rates and click rates are certainly a reason to celebrate.

But if you’re stopping your analysis there, you might be missing a massive piece of the puzzle: inbox placement (and, more specifically, inbox placement by domain).

Most email programs suffer from email deliverability issues, but many don’t even realize it because they’re not looking in the right places.

Understanding the Invisible Problem

Email Deliverability isn’t just about whether your email was delivered. It’s about where it was delivered.

Did it land in the primary inbox, or was it tossed into the dreaded spam folder?

Perhaps it landed in the promotions tab or was quarantined into a secondary folder?

These placements can have a significant impact on your overall email performance, often more so than you might think.

Why Healthy Open & Click Rates Can Be Misleading

It’s easy to become complacent when you see high open and click rates (and we’re not even factoring in inflation that may be caused by non-human opens). But here’s the provocative truth: these metrics are merely the tip of the iceberg. Here’s why:

  1. Segmented Reach: Not everyone in your email list is at the same ISP or domain and may not be receiving your email in their primary inbox. This means that while a segment of your audience is actively engaging with your content, another segment might not even be seeing it at all.
  2. Feedback Loop Blindness: Many email programs don’t have proper feedback loops or postmaster tools in place with major ISPs to manage their sender reputation. Without these, you’re flying blind, not knowing when you have a poor sending reputation or how many of your emails are marked as spam by recipients.
  3. Differentiated Subscriber Behavior: Subscribers often check their primary inbox more frequently than their other folders. Even if they engage with your email in the spam folder, it’s possible that the delayed interaction might not lead to the desired action on your website or platform.

Dive Deeper into Deliverability Metrics

So, what should savvy email marketers be looking at?

  • Inbox Placement Rate (IPR by Domain): This metric indicates how many of your emails are reaching the inbox versus the spam folder at a particular domain (or provider).
  • Open & Click Reach: This is calculated over a series of emails (or period of time) and looks at your audience engagement as a whole, while open rates only look at performance on an email-by-email basis.
  • Unsubscribe Rates: Even if you have great content, subscribers will unsubscribe from your emails. High rates or spikes here are a red flag.
  • Bounce Rates: Both hard and soft bounces can provide insights into list quality and potential deliverability issues.
  • Engagement Over Time: Instead of just looking at initial open and click rates, study the engagement over a period. Do subscribers who have been on your list longer engage less? It might be a sign of list fatigue or deliverability issues.

The Takeaway

High open and click rates are commendable, but they don’t tell the full story. It’s time we expand our horizons and delve deep into deliverability metrics that offer real insights.

As the saying goes, “What gets measured gets improved.”

Ensure you’re measuring the right things and watch your email program soar to new heights.

If you need help, reach out so we can help your business optimize email performance and inbox placement.