Postmaster Empathy and Email’s Half-life: How Email Will Step Out of the Pandemic

Our latest State of Email Live webinar featured a lively ESP roundtable with global email experts Steve Henderson, Head of Deliverability at Emarsys, and Tom Corbett, Senior Deliverability Consultant at Cheetah Digital.

We kicked things off with our regular Email Analytics slot, presented by Kayla Fuller. Her analysis shows the phenomenal email growth of the past year is stabilising, spam filtering is increasing, and subscriber engagement is trending downwards. What does this mean for senders?

While email fatigue is a consideration, both guests pointed out that as lockdown measures ease, subscribers are spending less time engaging with email. So how should senders adapt?

  • Email’s Half-life: Steve came up with a great analogy based on email’s half-life: just as radioactive atoms decay at a predictable rate, so too must senders build a reengagement plan based on a gradual ramp-up of email volume. Many programs that have been on ice during the pandemic are now scaling up again, and they need to take a measured approach. When mailbox providers (MBPs) see sudden spikes in volume, it creates an impression of a program that has been compromised and causes deliverability to tank.
  • Postmaster Empathy: While most of the global MBPs factor subscriber engagement into their sender reputation calculations, many regional providers still take a more rules-based approach to their spam filtering. Tom socialised the concept of “postmaster empathy” – i.e., whether the context is global or localised, senders need to put themselves in the shoes of the MBP postmasters and evaluate how they would view these emails if they were receiving them. He recommended this blog post as a way to better understand the challenges MBPs face.

We also talked about popular deliverability myths, current email challenges, which markets are toughest for getting good inbox placement, pandemic best practices, the merits of sending higher volumes, and the most important KPIs to monitor. Steve and Tom finished the session with their top three tips for improving deliverability, plus some bonus recommendations for successful warm-ups.

If you missed the live show, you can watch the full session below. Happy sending!

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