Question: What is an email placement rate? And how do ISPs define what should go in the inbox vs. spam?
Answer: To define placement rate, we first need to determine what Inbox Placement and Spam Placement are.
How does this work: There’s a lot that goes into how an Internet Service Provider (ISP) defines a placement rate. In the Deliverability Strategy video, we separate it into two groups — positive and Negative engagement.
- Positive Engagement: Opens, Clicks, length of reading Time, or Pulling Messages out of Spam (TINS).
- Negative Engagement: Complaints, No Opens/Clicks, Spam Traps, and Unknown Users.
Common Misconceptions: Here are a few common misconceptions that senders have about Placement Rates.
- Senders (Hotels) assume that all messages either go into the inbox or spam folder - This isn’t the case. ISPs will adjust the placement rate percentage depending on past engagement rates. If the favorable engagement rates outweigh the negative engagement rates, then ISPs will improve placement rates until that changes.
- Negative engagement is not the only negative factor that can impact deliverability - ISPs will take into consideration other outside resources (Often found in firewalls) to impact deliverability. This can include Blacklists (Domain/IPs), Content (Spammy Words), and Similar Content related to Spam.
Solutions to Placement Rate Issues: If your hotel is experiencing reduced placement rates (High Spam Rates), it’s recommended to make the following changes to future promotional sends.
- Segmentation: Is to target different user segments to ensure optimal performance results. Three must have filters to maintain best practice are the following:
- Stay recency filter: It is the best practice not to email anyone that had their last stay in the hotel longer than 2, maximum three years ago. Expanding the time frame longer will result in low engagement and increased bounce rates.
- Remember to exclude all guest.booking.com email addresses: These emails are only valid for a short amount of time after guest’s stay and if emailed later will show low campaign engagement. Ideally, you will not have many of those in your database and recollect guests’ actual emails during the check-in, but if you do, it’s best not to email to those.
- Exclude guests with future stays in your promotional campaigns: This will ensure guests are not canceling and rebooking lower rates.
Engagement Filtering: Is to send to past users who’ve last opened/click past promotional campaigns. It’s best practice to exclude any user who hasn’t “opened or never received any marketing campaign in the last two years.” This will reduce older guests or email addresses which may no longer be valid.
Campaign Volume & Cadence: Keeping to a consistent send, and avoiding any significant volume spikes will help mitigate future issues. This means avoiding significant volume spikes (Example: Sending to all users three times in the same week) and sending a consistent campaign every month. Over sends are often the most significant driver in poor performance, so limiting that down will considerably help future placement rate issues. Please review the following Best Practice: Volume for more information on volume and cadence strategies.
Email Design: Making sure the email contains content and information that best reflects the hotel’s brand is essential when it comes to avoiding the issue. This includes not using enough personalization, including spammy words, not having enough text (Low Text/Image Ratio), Email Length, Alt Text, and Images not Correctly Link.
Contact Lists & Double Opt-in: Having a Clear Opt-in and setting correct expectations is critical for a successful send. Including users, who are from a third party list, or have limited exposure to the Hotel will often be disastrous for any successful campaign. For more information on this or the legal implication of not getting explicit consent, please review the following GDPR webinar.