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Are Your Emails Ousted Before Hitting Inboxes?

Twenty-two percent of marketing emails sent with subscribers’ permission are not reaching customers’ inboxes during the first half of 2013, according to Return Path’s “Inbox Placement Rate Benchmarks” report. The email intelligence agency sampled approximately one trillion messages sent worldwide.

While Inbox Placement Rates (IPR) declined globally by 4%, American senders rank among the best in the world with an IPR of 86%. On the other hand, the other 14% represents billions of emails either lost or sent directly to the spam folder.

“Firstly, you need to see if you even have a problem,” says Tom Sather, senior director of email research at Return Path. “The key thing for marketers is to keep on top of IPRs. Additionally, [direct marketers need to] keep an eye on their own email reputations, how much email they’re sending, how much of that email is being opened and how much is being sent to inactive accounts.”

Nonprofit organizations saw a massive IPR increase, placing 90% of their emails in subscribers’ email inboxes. Social networks represent one of the largest industries with the lowest IPR. Twenty-five percent of social networks’ email failed to reach subscribers’ inboxes.

“We’ve been seeing a decline for quite some time,” Sather says. “Keep in mind that many of these emails are notification emails. [For instance,] if I get tagged or someone wants to send me a friend request, these are emails I have no control over. For a lot of people now the volume is too much. They’re getting too bombarded with social notifications. People may not be opening those emails.”

Internationally, marketers have found Google’s Gmail to be the most challenging inbox to land in. In the United States, however, 86% of emails were sent to Gmail.

“Look at the three top mailboxes: Gmail, Yahoo, and Microsoft Hotmail and Outlook,” Sather says. “I think we’re used to them and I think those marketers are a little savvier when it comes to all the nuances for those mailbox providers.”

While billions of emails are lost or marked as spam, Sather says that email is still the most viable channel for any direct marketer.

“Our inbox is a personal thing and we spend a lot of time in there,” Sather says. “If [marketers] don’t pay attention to their [IPR], the problem can exasperate itself and get worse. The key takeaway is that any direct marketer who doesn’t pay attention to IPR will lose money by lost sales and they’ll be spending a lot of money on fixing the problem if it gets worse.”

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