Bigfoot: Local ISP Changes Hurt E-Mail Delivery

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Though e-mail delivery rates stayed strong in the second quarter, problems with local broadband providers are affecting delivery, according to Bigfoot Interactive's latest benchmark report released yesterday.

Several local cable and DSL providers set new limits on volume rates and simultaneous SMTP connections, which reduces connections that e-mailers can send to, to protect customers from spam.

A local provider may seem small -- say, 2 percent of a marketer's e-mail list -- but all local and DSL providers can make up as much as 20 percent of a list, said Michael Della Penna, chief marketing officer at Bigfoot Interactive, New York.

Though marketers face challenges such as ISP restrictions and the constant problem of keeping e-mail addresses current, delivery rates remain strong at 94.4 percent among Bigfoot's customers.

E-mail open and click-through rates rose for many categories, including travel. Travel industry campaigns launched in the second quarter had an unprecedented average open rate of 51.5 percent for service messages and an average unique click-through rate of 13 percent.

"Travel continues to be very strong and relevant," Della Penna said. "You book an airline ticket, and you are asked, 'Do you need a car rental?' "

In addition, e-mail marketers in travel are using more lifecycle campaigns. Top-performing campaigns included "first purchase welcomes," "trip guides" and upsell messages to travelers who bought a trip.

Financial services continued its strong performance, with average unique click-through rates increasing 20.3 percent over last year. Retailers also fared well, with the average unique click-through rate for promotional messaging rising 10.5 percent. Publishers saw a 2.6 percent lift in unique click-through rates from the first quarter.

"Newsletters are becoming very dynamically generated," Della Penna said. "Marketers are putting things in news headlines that allow consumers to click and personalize categories further. That's performing well for a lot of publishers."

Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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