NEWS RELEASE: Inbox placement rates drop 3.5% over 18 months in the United Kingdom

UK marketers’ emails are not delivered to their customers far more often than their French and German counterparts

UK marketers continue to fail to reach the inboxes of millions of customers who want to receive their emails. Inbox placement rates – the percentage of emails that go straight to consumers’ inboxes – have fallen 3.5 per cent since December 2009 despite greater awareness of simple best practice methods that tackle the problem.

The findings come from Return Path’s latest bi-annual Global Email Deliverability Benchmark Report, which measured how many emails make it into the inboxes of consumers with the largest ISPs worldwide between January and June 2011. Return Path, the global leader in email certification and reputation monitoring, has been collecting data on the success of millions of email marketing campaigns since July 2009 to gain the most comprehensive picture of global inbox placement rates.

Return Path’s first benchmark report for the UK, released in December 2009, found one in ten legitimate emails (10.1 per cent) failed to reach consumers’ inboxes. Marketers’ inbox placement rates have since declined to 86.4 per cent as many marketers are not utilising best practices and are turning a blind eye to the fact that their sent emails are not reaching their intended targets. Implementing best practice tactics – such as tidying up email address lists, implementing win-back campaigns and acting upon consumers’ unsubscribe requests – ensures that marketers’ emails reach consumers who have requested to receive their emails.

Richard Gibson, Channel Relationship Manager at Return Path, said: “Early adopter email marketing managers at companies like Friends Reunited and Groupon have proved that it is possible to dramatically improve inbox placement rates, and even achieve 100 per cent of emails reaching consumers’ inboxes, by acting on best practice and new technology improvements.

“Our research shows that high percentages of leading UK brands are still not reaching the inboxes of their consumers. They are aware of what needs to be done but have been unable or unwilling to include even the most basic best practice methods, such as sending new customers a welcome message, enabling a simple email subscription opt-out process and offering consumers appropriate permission levels in their emails. If marketers do not adopt these simple, but efficient, best practice methods their email marketing campaigns will continue to fail.”

UK marketers’ emails go missing more often than European counterparts
UK marketers continue to struggle to reach the inboxes of consumers that have requested to receive their emails in comparison to their European counterparts. One in every 13 legitimate emails sent by UK marketers (7.8 per cent) now goes missing completely – – compared to just one in 37 legitimate emails sent by their German counterparts (2.8 per cent) and one in 17 legitimate emails sent by French marketers (5.8 per cent).

Gibson said: “Marketers who still rely on the ‘bounce rate’ metric for their inbox placement rate – which simply subtracts the hard bounces returned from the number of emails sent out – are given a false sense of success of their email marketing campaigns. This practice does not take into account emails that go straight to spam folders or messages that simply disappear into the ether without providing the sender with a notification that it has not been received by their intended recipient. It is vital that marketers take responsibility for knowing exactly where every single one of their sent emails goes and continuously monitor their inbox placement rates.”

The report shows that marketers around the world continue to face deliverability challenges. For the first half of 2011, the global average inbox placement rate was 81 per cent, with 7 per cent of legitimate emails only reaching spam folders and 12 per cent going missing completely – meaning emails were not de¬livered to any folder consumers could access.

Regionally, North America has the highest inbox placement rates with 86 per cent of legitimate email reaching the inbox. European marketers followed closely behind in second with 84 per cent. Of the 16 per cent of emails that didn’t reach European consumers’ inboxes, 6 per cent went to spam folders while 10 per cent went missing completely.

The full report is available at:

Notes to editors:

For further editorial information or to arrange interviews email [email protected] or call +44 20 7609 1900.

About Return Path:
Return Path makes email work better by scoring and certifying email senders from around the world. We help marketers, publishers and other large-volume email senders increase their response rates by providing the world’s leading inbox deliverability solution. We help mailbox providers and email administrators at ISPs and enterprises block unwelcome and malicious email by providing near real-time IP reputation scores and other data-driven tools. Taken as a whole, these tools and services improve the consumer experience of email by protecting them from spam, phishing and other abuse. Return Path offers free access to Sender Score, the email reputation measure compiled through our cooperative data network of ISPs and other email receivers, at our reputation portal: Information about Return Path can be found at

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