The Direct Market Association (DMA) has urged email marketers to focus more closely on deliverability after its figures showed another drop in delivery rates in the second quarter of the year.

The group’s latest stats suggest that delivery rates fell to 68% for acquisition emails and 80% for retention emails in the period, continuing the drops seen in Q1.

Skip Fidura, deputy chair of the DMA’s Email Marketing Council, said:

“The first step in any marketing campaign is getting the message to the consumer. Regardless of how good the copy and creative are and how compelling the offer is, a campaign will fail if your target audience never sees the message.

"It’s therefore vital that email marketers place more importance on ensuring that a message reaches the inbox.”

The report points to reputation as the most important factor in deliverability, while list hygiene, content and authentication were also seen as significant. Yet it also found that tracking of delivery rates was low in some cases, with 22% of ESPs failing to monitor soft and hard bounces.

This echoes the findings of our recent Industry Census, which showed a lack of measurement in general among some email marketers. Almost half of the firms we surveyed, for example, did not know what their company’s Return on Investment from email marketing was.

To address the deliverability issue, the DMA report recommends that brands make more use of spam filter checks, ensure they have obtained all necessary permissions, maintain their list regularly and develop good ISP relations. There's also a list of tips here, courtesy of Justin at Palmer Web Marketing.

Richard Gibson, chair of the Email Marketing Benchmarking Hub, added:

“The continued growth of email marketing is a clear demonstration of the effectiveness and ROI of email marketing.

"Clients are obviously seeing returns from email marketing and are budgeting for further increases in their marketing mix. However, to ensure its continued success, it is vital that email marketers make deliverability a priority.”

Related research:
Email Marketing Industry Census 2007
Email Marketing Buyer's Guide

Related stories:
Email Marketing: Making Bacn not Spam


Published 13 December, 2007 by Richard Maven

529 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (1)


Nigel Williams, MD at Emailcenter UK

This research is utter nonsense in my opinion and gives a completely false impression as to the difficulty in getting email delivered.

The DMA define "Delivery Rate" as total emails sent minus bounces. While a small percentage of delivery issues may result in the email being bounced the vast majority will appear as delivered. Bounces on the whole result because the address no longer exists, it is a minority that occur because of it being rejected as junk. "Delivery rate" does not take into account all of those emails that land in the junk folder or get put into a black hole by the ISP.

If the findings of the research are to believed the only thing we can draw from it is marketers are not maintaining their lists, hence why bounce rates are increasing and therefore delivery rates falling.

However if the industry wants to look at the impact of junk mail filters on inbox placement of marketing emails then it is much better to look at the likes of and inbox seeding tools that analyse where messages have been placed.

There have always been challenges in getting email delivered but from someone who has hands on experience of working with hundreds of email campaigns a week for the last 5 years I would say there is nothing we have seen that suggests it is getting harder to deliver into the inbox.

If anything it is getting easier as good senders are starting to benefit from having evidence of low complaint, bounce and unsubscribe rates!

over 10 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.