No More Fishing for Competitive Insights: Check out the New Inbox Insight Features

Like many, I called my Dad on Father’s Day. He informed me that he was going fishing today for a few days. So, I’m proud to say that my Dad is the actual inspiration for this blog post. He, and the team at Return Path that has been working hard to get the new Inbox Insight features ready for prime time. As a consultant that works regularly with email marketers (and a former email marketer myself), I love actionable data. That’s why I’m so excited about the newest Inbox Insight features that Return Path is releasing today: more insights that marketers can easily leverage to make their emails stand out in the inbox. 

Which Company is Winning: Company Trout or Company Salmon?

Now, back to fishing. To put one of the newest features to the test, I reviewed two outdoor gear marketers (we will call them “Company Trout” and “Company Salmon”). With Inbox Insight’s newest feature, Subscriber Overlap, we are able to see how many subscribers Company Trout and Company Salmon share.  Not only can we see the percentage of the list that receives emails from both companies, but we can also see how these shared subscribers engage with individual campaigns from each company.

In our fishing example, we can see that 19% of Company’s Trout’s subscribers receive mail from Company Salmon. Moreover, Company Trout’s subscribers have a higher propensity to read Company Salmon’s email than Company Trout’s email.* Most interestingly, these shared subscribers received several Father’s Day campaigns from Company Salmon (that had high engagement rates) while Company Trout sent no emails to these shared subscribers.

Based on this data, Company Trout may have missed an opportunity to engage with these shared subscribers and win their Father’s Day dollars. Armed with this data, Company Trout can dive into the specific Father’s Day campaign subject lines and email creative to provide insights and guidance for campaigns centered around future holidays.

Which Company is Reaching their Daily Limit?

Just like many lakes have a limit to how many fish can be removed on a daily basis, there is also potentially a limit to the number of emails that you can send to your subscribers regularly. If you’re trying to monitor how many emails your competition sends over a week or month, it’s not easy if you have to manually sift through your inbox. With the new Trends feature in Inbox Insight, marketers can now quickly see how many campaigns are being sent by their competition while looking at engagement metrics simultaneously. See a spike in frequency?  You can quickly see if this resulted in decreased read rates or increase ISP-marked spam rates – all in one place.


So, what can we learn about Companies Trout and Salmon from the Trends page?  Looking at this data, we can see that Company Trout increased frequency the week of June 3rd and sent several campaigns to a large portion of their subscriber base. And while we can see there were emails sent by Company Trout focused on Father’s Day, we already know that none of these were sent to the subscribers Company Trout shares with Company Salmon.

We can also see that Company Trout sent emails to large portions of their file on Sundays with a read rate consistent with others day of the week. Company Salmon didn’t send any email on Sundays and might be missing an opportunity to engage with their subscribers across the entire week.

Looking to get started with email competitive intelligence? Keep these tips in mind.

  • Look beyond your competition’s marketing messages. How are they leveraging newsletters, transactional emails, and account-focused emails to advance their relationship with their subscriber base? Not sure what they are sending? Inbox Insight provides a window into the mailboxes of three million real subscribers.

  • Don’t simply copy your competition’s campaign. Evaluate what campaigns work for your competition and improve upon them.

  • Monitor your competition on a regular basis. Good email marketers are continually testing and the tactics your competition employ can change from week to week, even day to day.

  • Keep a pulse on your competition’s campaign frequency. High frequency is one of the leading causes for increased subscriber complaints (aka “This is junk”).  Just because your competition starts sending email every day, this isn’t necessarily a great idea for your subscriber base.

Want to see if you are standing out in the inbox and take advantage of all the competitive insights Inbox Insight provides? Current Inbox Insight customers already have access to these features so login and take them for a spin or contact your Account Manager for more details. Not currently utilizing Inbox Insight to optimize your campaigns and increase your ROI? Download the Inbox Insight Data Sheet or Contact Return Path to learn more.

* For the shared subscriber base, Company Salmon’s emails have a read rate 28% greater than the read rate for emails from Company Trout.

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