Analyze your open rate

Share this article:
Dan Forootan
Dan Forootan

E-mail marketers often spend a lot of time analyzing their bounce rates to discover delivery problems. While bounces should always be noted, not enough senders closely monitor their open rate. Bounce data does not reveal whether your messages are going to the inbox or the bulk/junk folder. Bounces also don't indicate whether your messages are being filtered — not being delivered to the inbox or the junk folder. While open data does not explicitly tell you where your messages are going, doing some simple analysis will almost guarantee useful insight.

First, do a domain breakdown of your list or mailing segment – you want to know what percentage of your list segment belongs to each domain. For example, let's say your list breakdown is 20% Yahoo, 10% AOL, 10% Hotmail, 5% each Gmail, Comcast, ATT, Verizon, Bellsouth, Charter.net, MSN and 25% miscellaneous and corporate domains.

After sending your message, you look at the bounce report and you see no major blocks or delivery problems, just the typical invalid addresses and difficulty reaching a couple of corporate domains. Your mailing is not bouncing any of your high percentage domains, so you assume your deliverability is good. You are even happy with your 16% open rate.

Now, look closer at the 16% open rate. Breakdown the openers by domain – just like you did for the entire list or segment. You find that 2.5% of your openers are Yahoo, 15% are AOL, 0% Hotmail, 0% MSN, 7.5% each Gmail, Comcast, ATT, Verizon, Bellsouth, Charter.net, and 37.5% miscellaneous and corporate domains. Without too much further analysis, you can see you have a major problem with Hotmail/MSN mail getting filtered, and a majority of your Yahoo mail is going to bulk.

By going to their postmaster Web sites, filling out the proper delivery issue forms, and then answering follow up questions from the ISPs, you should be able to resolve the delivery issues, bringing your 16% open rate now up to 24%. That is a 50% increase in opens.

Dan Forootan is the president of StreamSend Email Marketing.

Share this article:

Sign up to our newsletters

Follow us on Twitter @dmnews

Latest Jobs:

More in Email Marketing

To Send or Not to Send More Email: That Is the Question

To Send or Not to Send More Email: ...

"It's not a matter of 'one email a day is fine, but two emails a day is too much.'"

Forrester: Keep Your Eye on the Email

Forrester: Keep Your Eye on the Email

Merging email with other channels is all well and good, but a Forrester Wave analysis holds that the email channel itself could stand improvement.

Email Opens Have Increased While Clicks Remain Static

Email Opens Have Increased While Clicks Remain Static

Open rates rose to 32.9% in Q1 2014, but clicks haven't changed for the past couple of years, a study says. But why?