Beth Guest writer
Posted 11th April 2019

Think you have poor deliverability? 7 reasons not to panic

Topics: Deliverability

This blog post has been written by Beth Woods, a member of the Ometria Deliverability team. In this post she’ll discuss what to be on the lookout for to ensure your inbox health is at its highest. 

Let’s paint a picture of your day. It’s another day, you get into the office with minimal mishap and you’re planning next month’s campaigns. You check your inbox and freeze. An email has landed telling you that your inbox placement rates are low. 30% of your messages, they say, are going straight into the spam folder and some might not even be being received at all.

Morning ruined, panic ensues.

A common sales tactic of providers in the email space is to note a supposed issue with your current set-up and to let you know that they can solve all your email-related problems. But to solve them, they need to detail to you what’s wrong. This time it’s your deliverability. They’re looking to devalue your current sending status and your successes with your current deliverability team as a way to make you unsure of your current strategy and of course, that’s a pretty handy sales tactic.

In the email, the salesperson has quoted figures from an inbox placement monitoring tool. The figures are likely to be derived from a panel of subscribers who receive your campaigns, made up of active and inactive inboxes, and could range from between 2 – 100 subscribers. The data set, therefore, may be so small in comparison to the size of your list that it’s insignificant.

And let’s not forget, just to make you that little bit more panicked, they’ve probably selected the inbox placement percentage for your worst performing campaign.

That is not to say the information is worthless. As a data point in a wider set of information on your sending health, the inferred inbox placement rates for your domain are a helpful metric to understanding if there are problems with your email marketing reach.

So, what do we do now?

Inbox placement is as much an art as it is a science and the results are based on your sending reputation with mailbox providers. The key factor to a good reputation – and therefore good inbox placement – is positive engagement from your subscribers.

Without having direct access to inferred rates a sales pitch telling you your inbox placement rates are low can be a red flag that your email marketing isn’t going as well as you thought it was.

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But don’t panic, here are the next steps:

Find who the email came from

  • Think about the source of their information as detailed above, how have they got this number? Is it just their address that is going to spam, or have they explained the way the data has been accessed?

Find a benchmark with you in mind

  • Your open rate, as a key measure of your subscribers’ engagement with your campaigns, is a strong indication of inbox placement health. Without access to an inbox monitoring platform, your open rate should be your go-to metric to check if anything is amiss. Find a useful – and reliable – benchmark for your industry. Don’t worry if you’re a few points off as these are usually published by ESPs using their own client’s metrics and are therefore sometimes inflated slightly.

Check your spam complaint rate

  • Your spam complaint rate and unsubscribe rate are also useful indicators of your sending health and how you’ll be being viewed by the mailbox providers. Typically, your spam complaint rate should be below 0.01%, and your unsubscribe rate below 0.2%. If it’s any higher, this could be causing issues for you and you should consider why this is occurring to reduce for the future.

Check your open rate

  • Inbox placement can degrade over time. Your open rate is good now, but has it started dropping over time? If your open rate now is within the range of the benchmark and it has stayed consistent or improved, your inbox placement is unlikely to be a cause for concern.

Send only to engaged contacts

  • You know the basics right? You’ve been doing this a while now. You only send to your engaged contacts and never send emails without a relevant subject line. Great, check against our best practice guide for any small changes you could be making to your practices.

Make sure your list acquisition is secure

  • Re-captcha on your site prevents bots adding email addresses into your sending list and asking customers to enter their email addresses twice reduces the number of spelling mistakes and typos that might damage your list hygiene.

Speak to your deliverability team

  • If you’re still really not sure, speak to your deliverability team. They will have access to similar tools that the salesperson is quoting and will be able to help you if there are issues with your sending.


If you choose to speak to your deliverability analyst, ask them to give you a complete 360 of your sending health including your delivery rate, the bounces you are receiving and whether they can review your sending practices to make sure you are making the most of the available practices.

After all of this, you can go back to the email you received and hit reply. You can thank them for their interest in your company, and for giving you a reminder to look into the health of your sending, but ultimately if they want to talk to you again you’d like to know about the strengths of their company and how that can help you achieve your goals, rather than just trying to alarm you about your current practices.



This blog post has been written by Beth Woods, a member of the Ometria Deliverability team.


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