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One in Six Emails Never Reach the Inbox: Return Path

9/16/14
 
By Ken Magill
 
One in six email messages sent worldwide never reach the subscribers’ inboxes, Return Path reported today in its annual Inbox-placement Benchmark Report. 
 
According to the email intelligence firm, based on a sample of nearly 500 million messages from permission-based email marketers, 11 percent of all email messages went missing and another 6 percent were delivered to subscribers’ spam or junk folders.
 
This is consistent with last year’s findings, according to Return Path.
 
On a country-by-country basis, Australian and German senders were the highest rated with an 89 percent inbox-placement rate, while Brazil was ranked lowest with a 60 percent inbox-placement rate, according to Return Path.
 
U.S.- and U.K.-based senders both had 87 percent inbox-placement rates, according to Return Path.
 
France’s was 84 percent, Canada’s was 83 percent and Spain’s was 76 percent, according to Return Path.
 
“On the whole European marketers struggled more than others with missing messages, but saw less mail routed to subscribers’ spam folders than North American senders did,” the study said.
 
As for business sectors, health and beauty had the highest inbox-placement rate at 96 percent while software and Internet had the lowest at 43 percent, according to Return Path.
 
Automotive, apparel and food and beverage also clocked in high inbox-placement rates at 91 percent, according to Return Path.
 
Not-for-profit and retail both had 90 percent inbox-placement rates, according to the study.
 
Senders overall had their highest inbox-placement rates in Gmail, but only when their messages were delivered to the promotional folder, according to Return Path.
 
“Doomsayers foresaw the decline of email marketing in last summer’s widespread introduction of the tabbed Gmail inbox, but a year later it appears to be a net gain for commercial senders,” the study said. “Read rates for messages in the Promotions tab have approached 20 percent in 2014, and inbox-placement rates there are among the highest for any large mailbox provider’s.”
 
Campaigns intended to convince Gmail inbox holders to move brands’ messages into the primary folder were almost universal failures, according to Return Path. However, the report said, the campaigns’ failures benefited senders.
 
“Brands delivering messages to the Primary tab saw much more mail diverted to the spam folder,” the study said. “Gmail warned that commercial mail in the Primary tab would be held to a higher standard, kicked into the spam folder if subscriber behavior didn’t clearly indicate it was wanted. That appears to be exactly what happened.”
 
The study also determined that overall inbox-placement rates do not drop during the Christmas shopping season. It also includes a bunch of other interesting stats.
 
Download it here.
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