Email Performance Metrics is challenging to understand for first-time senders. Knowing when a campaign is performing well, vs. when it isn’t, can be challenging. In the following answer, we discuss what is Best Practice for promotional campaigns and the reasons behind it.
|Bounce < 5%
|Spam Report < .02%
|Unsubscribes < 1%
Hard Bounce: A message returned because the recipient’s address is invalid. It can occur if a domain does not exist or the user may no longer have an active email account (Unknown User).
|Hard Bounce should not exceed 2%.
The reason relates to the quality of the contact list. The higher the Unknown User rate, the greater the likelihood that a contact list is old (Containing users greater than two years from first Opt-in) or it contains a purchased list. ISPs monitor Unknown User rates and depending on the rate of increase, can apply reputation based blocks (Soft Bounces) on a program’s future sends or result in your program getting listed on a Blacklist.
Soft Bounce: A message returned due to a temporary failure. Temporary failures can consist of a mailbox full, or reputation-based blocks. Most Soft Bounces will get retried for up to 72 hours. During that time, that status of the temporary failure will stay as ‘Deferred.’
|Soft Bounce should not exceed 3%
Unlike a Hard Bounce, exceeding the recommended threshold indicates that a campaign encountered a reputation based block. These blocks typically applied by the ISP and will require a change to the sending strategy of the Hotel. Standard solutions include reducing engagement filters (Anyone who’s last opened/clicked a message within the last year), sending to Confirmed Opt-ins, or reducing the frequency of the number of campaigns a user receives.
Spam Report: Commonly called a Complaint, a Spam Report is when a message that is marked ‘This is Spam’ by the recipient. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will track this information and use it to define a users Domain & IP reputation.
|Spam Report (Complaint) should not exceed .02%
ISPs value this metric above all the rest because Spam Reports (Complaints) is user-generated. Meaning the recipient was so moved, in a negative way, by the received message, it produced an action. The reasons for complaints can vary, but the most common are Email Frequency, Not Setting Clear Expectations at Signup or Lack of Value.
Unsubscribes: A user that opts out from all future sends. Unsubscribes include users who click the ‘Unsubscribe’ link located within the email template or the header unsubscribe. A Header Unsubscribe is often displayed within an Email Mail client.
|Unsubscribe should not exceed 1%
Often misunderstood, Unsubscribes can be both a blessing and a curse because unsubscribes require engagement (Opens/Clicks). Since unsubscribing requires engagement, this type of engagement is often considered a positive engagement from an ISP perspective. If unsubscribing was difficult, then usually a user will mark a message as Spam to avoid receiving future sends.
The most common reasons for Unsubscribes are Email Frequency, Not Setting Clear Expectations and Lack of Value.