Deliverability Obstacles: What Prevents Your Email from Going to Inbox

The first step toward fixing deliverability is understanding what factors influence 20-Email-marketing-Toolsdeliverability and email placement. What determined email deliverability in 2015 was the sender’s reputation. And the reputation in its turn is built based on three main elements:

  • recipient’s engagement,
  • spam complaints, and
  • inactive accounts.

These three elements are considered by the Internet service providers (ISP) to measure the reputation of a particular sender and take the decision about the email messages sent by that particular sender.

The recipient’s engagement is considered as the aggregate of actions users take on the messages received from a sender. Positive actions such as opens, clicks, replies, moving the email from spam to Inbox, adding the sender to the address book favor the reputation and, consequently, Inbox delivery.

Obviously, negative actions like deleting the email without opening, ignoring it, moving it from Inbox to spam, sending a complaint or unsubscribing factor negatively into how ISP and mailbox providers treat the sender and his emails.

Moreover, a few of the top mailbox providers like Gmail and Yahoo have adopted a personalized approach to the delivery of emails to each user based on how the user engages with a particular sender. Thus, the more positively someone acts on your emails, the more likely your messages are delivered to the Inbox for that person.

The second biggest obstacle to Inbox deliverability last year was recipient’s complaints. The old good “report spam” button allows email users to quickly notify their mailbox provider or Internet service provider how they treat a particular sender and his email. Every time a recipient marks an email as spam, the sender reputation goes down a little bit.

Big email service providers like MailChimp, GetResponse or ConstantContact and delivery services like Amazon SES are signed up for feedback loops with major ISP to watch complaints about their clients’ mailing activity. To provide a good deliverability to all their clients, they have a low threshold for complaint rate from each email campaign and penalize unscrupulous senders by suspending their account.

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So, email marketers couldn’t afford to ignore spam complaints anymore and had to address them timely. Not only have they to remove complained recipients from their mailing list, but they also have to take measures to minimize complaints their campaigns generate. We’ll talk more about it in chapter two. Keep reading…


Let’s consider the third factor leading to low reputation and deliverability that is low mailbox usage. To apply the spam-filtering algorithm appropriately, mailbox providers also look at how many “half-dead” email addresses marketers are emailing to.

Low mailbox usage is different from low engagement. Low engagement means that the user often checks mail in his mailbox but rarely opens emails, clicks links, replies, etc. Low mailbox usage means that while the user’s account exists and can accept mail, the user rarely logs in and rarely reads mail or does anything else with emails.

If a marketer has a lot of “half-dead” email addresses on the list and continues mailing to them, it’s a sign for mailbox providers that the marketer does not manage his properly and may be a spammer.

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