Defining deliverability terms: Pivotal

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Sixty-five percent of e-mail services providers do not track inbox versus spam filters when measuring deliverability, says a new study by the E-mail Experience Council's Deliverability Roundtable study.

The EEC's survey, conducted by Pivotal Veracity, asked 300 e-mailers across most major industries questions aimed at figuring out their understanding of bounce management. The goal of the survey is to clarify that e-mail deliverability terms are not used clearly, which is a problem for 81 percent of the marketers who said that they find a loss of customers and sales when e-mail is not delivered.

"If you are not paying for inbox versus spam filter tracking and actually seeing a report with these results, then you will not be getting it," said Deirdre Baird president/CEO at Pivotal Veracity, Phoenix. "This is very surprising as most of the mailers surveyed thought that their service providers were tracking this."

Other findings include the differences in how the terms delivered and bounce are being determined. The understanding of the term "hard bounce" was vague.

Twenty-six percent considered a hard bounce a delivery failure regardless of the reason, including a soft bounce that may still be en route to the inbox. Fifty-one percent considered this a delivery failure with a permanent bounce code, like a bad address, a spam filter or a technical failure. While 19 percent believed it meant the address was bad.

Surprisingly, half of the people surveyed believed they know if the "delivered" section of their campaign report was correct, but are not 100 percent sure. Thirty-nine percent said they were 100 percent positive and 11 percent said that they didn't know.

When calculating open rates, 75 percent of the mailers surveyed measured opens by the delivered mail, 15 percent measured by those messages mailed and only 10 percent used other means.

However, when it comes to how click rates are measured, the responses were split. Thirteen percent determine this based on messages mailed; forty-seven percent measure clicks by delivered; 26 percent measure clicks by open and 14 percent measure it in some other way.

"In our industry the term click rates gets thrown around, but often with very different qualifiers," Ms. Baird said. "We are going to try to establish an industry standard so that when these terms are used everyone means the same thing."

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