19 Apr 2016

How is your email deliverability measured?

Over the past six months or so, my inbox has had a constant stream of communication from various email providers with combinations of tutorials, recommendations and advice on how to improve email deliverability. Of course each of these communications is a thinly veiled sales piece, but they all have some very good points that everyone should adopt.

A number of these communications contain data about how good the providers deliverability is compared to “industry standards” or “third party reports”.

At Cumulo9 we decided to conduct some “unofficial” research on how email providers report deliverability and what we discovered was quite enlightening. Here is a summary:

  • We can’t find another organisation that publishes “audited” deliverability figures for their entire email volume,
  • Most third party reports rely on data that has been extrapolated from “self-reported”, “non-audited” figures,
  • A number of leading providers are relying on statistically extrapolated numbers based on rather small data samples (sometimes – according to their own figures – the extrapolations are 1:1,000).

While this is all probably acceptable in the often vague world of “marketing” statistics, enterprises sending large amounts of transactional email should be looking for a much clearer assurance around deliverability as it directly impacts their costs, credibility, compliance and ability to collect funds

We should add that statistically extrapolated data is extremely valuable and the actual data that is extrapolated from can provide some useful insights.

However, if a transactional email provider quotes a statistically extrapolated deliverability percentage, then shouldn’t you be asking:

  • Why can’t they measure their own deliverability?
  • Why do they need to rely on an extrapolated number? Could it be their actual deliverability is lower?

Here at Cumulo9 we will continue to rely on our customers to audit our actual deliverability across our entire platform and thus report a true and meaningful number.

We’re proud of the IP and processes that we have developed down here in New Zealand and our Mailpost rolling 90 day average deliverability of 99.9866% is a testament to that.

News is the first draft of history

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