Four metrics that matter

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Matt Blumberg, Chairman and CEO, Return Path
Matt Blumberg, Chairman and CEO, Return Path

For a marketing department to succeed in 2012 and beyond, marketers need to be analytical, focused on return on investment and deeply embedded in the data that makes their programs hum. When it comes to email, many marketers focus on all the wrong things. 

They spend lots of time looking at opens and clicks, and maybe some try to match those up to some kind of conversion data. But there is a handful of other, not sexy but super important metrics that you need to understand to make your program successful. 

Inbox Placement Rate (IPR): Don't settle for reports that tell you that your email was "accepted," or worse, "delivered." These are the standard report metrics and all they tell you is how much of your email got past the gateway of the Internet Service Provider (ISP). While this sounds good, our research shows that the average mailer only gets 50% to 80% of its email to its customers' inboxes.

Number of phishing attempts: Whether you know it or not, your brand is probably the subject of phishing and spoofing attempts. According to Symantec Corp.'s "State of 
Spam & Phishing Report," the overall phishing landscape increased by 6.67% just between April and May of 2011. These attacks cost companies a lot of money. A Cisco Systems report found that the hit to an organization's reputation is greater than the direct monetary loss suffered through cyber fraud. Cisco estimates that the reputation cost per infected user is $1,900, or 6.4 times that of the direct monetary loss.

Time to inbox: You hit "send" and then it can be hours, sometimes longer, before those emails arrive in the inbox. The amount of time it takes to reach that inbox is not the same for everyone. Lower reputation senders will be subjected to throttling, which can slow down the send considerably. A test run by Groupon showed that when it sent email on a Certified Internet Protocol (IP) address — a credential which shows ISPs that the sender is meeting the very highest reputation standards — its messages arrived 40% faster than when they were sent off an IP address that wasn't certified. 

Percent of messages read on a mobile 
device: iPad and other tablets are completely changing the landscape of where and when subscribers are consuming email. Knowing what percentage of your email is read on desktops or mobile devices can give you valuable insight into when and how to deliver the right content at the right time and in the right format.

By analyzing these four metrics, marketing departments can ensure a higher inbox placement rate, protect their brands from phishing and ensure timely delivery of their email across all platforms and devices.

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