The Right Way To Measure Campaign Performance

A rumor’s been buzzing around the world of email saying deliverability is best measured through opens. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that isn’t true, and it’s time to put this talk to rest.

Opens are great, everyone knows that. Opens lead to engagement, connections, and best of all, revenue (ROI, anyone?). But think of this: you send a campaign to 100 people, and 50 people open it, does that mean you only placed 50% inbox? Absolutely not.

Let’s walk through two scenarios—one in which you measure deliverability by opens, and one in which you measure it, well, the right way. I’ll let you decide which one sounds better.

Scenario one: You send an email promoting a flash sale to 100 people. Once the flash sale ends, you check your opens to report on the campaign’s performance. You see that only 50 people had opened the email, and based on your logic, that means the campaign had an inbox placement rate of only 50%. You start to think you could have generated more traffic had you known there was a delivery issue. Now you have to figure out what went wrong.

You dig through the resources available to you, and everything seems fine. No user-marked-spam feedback, no bounces or blocks, and you’re not on top priority blacklists. So what did your delivery really look like? What happened to those other 50 emails? Did they go to the spam folder? Did your customers receive them but put them in the trash without ever opening? I guess we’ll never know.

So what will happen the next time you send an email? Just close your eyes and hope for the best! Or…

Scenario two: You obviously don’t want to go through that again. This time, you prepare like you would for a road trip. Check the oil, tires, brakes…I mean, check your IP address, HTML, and most importantly, you make sure the Return Path seed list is attached to the send. That’s right, we’re tracking true deliverability this time.

Ready, set, launch.

Two minutes into your send and you start to notice that Comcast is filtering your seeds to the spam folder. PAUSE. What’s going on? You start to dig. Inbox Monitor’s optimizer is reporting a high volume of spam traps. Where did those come from? Clearly you have a poor list that’s in desperate need of a cleanse. You stop the send all together and move on to the bigger issue at hand (see Justin’s take on it).

We all know that if you exceed a mailbox provider’s threshold for spam traps, your reputation take a hit, and you’ll get filtered to the spam folder, or even worse, blocked. But how can you be proactive in knowing this without tracking it the right way? If you continued sending to that faulty list, essentially in the dark, you’re only setting yourself up for a bad reputation, and ultimately little to no inbox placement at all. Kiss that ROI goodbye.

I promised to let you decide what the better route would be, but I’ll leave you with this: there’s nothing less efficient than to play a guessing game when it comes to your business. There are tools and data that help you make smarter decisions and processes. Know before you go. After all, it is your data.

Learn more about how Return Path can help you make smarter decisions with Inbox Monitor. No more sending in the dark.

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