I am always fascinated by how far technology has brought us. It seems like only a few days ago that I was sitting on the school bus with my brand new Gameboy playing Tetris. I really haven’t changed that much since then; besides a few inches here and there, I’m still a nerd. The Gameboy is a different story though. It has somehow transformed into a touchscreen smart phone that has more processing power than the Apollo 11 rocket, and enough battery to last two whole hours. Okay, so not all advancements have been for the better, but even so, they still manage to take my breath away.
The email industry is not immune to these effects either. Even though the processes and strategies behind email marketing haven’t changed much, you would be surprised at how much power a single click can have. An email intelligence agency known as ReturnPath has recently released their quarterly report detailing some surprising statistics about email marketing.
According to ReturnPath’s research, email marketing is the Return On Investment (ROI) King, paying $40.56 on the dollar. A trailing second place is Search, which comes in at $22.24, or nearly half as much. This accounts for the explosion in commercial emails over the past few years. More and more marketers are discovering the power of email.
Unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword. While commercial emails now account for 18% of total email volume, that same 18% accounts for 70% of all spam complaints, and 60% of all spam traps hit.
Because of this, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Email Service Providers (ESPs) are cracking down on commercial emails, and the bar is being raised like never before. Utilizing blacklists and reputation systems, commercial emails are now flowing into the spam folder more often.
If you are not familiar with an email spam trap, they fall into two different categories: recycled email addresses and honeypots. A recycled address is an abandoned or closed email account that is converted into a trap after a few years of inactivity. A honey pot is an address that was created for the sole purpose of catching spammers. Both of these traps function by inspecting any emails they receive and then adding those senders to a blacklist.
In the same way, spam buttons no longer simply block an address. They now contribute to an ISP-wide reputation for the sender of that email. Beyond a certain threshold, a sender’s emails can be considered to be spam, simply because of the reaction of their recipients.
It is important for marketers to review and revise their email marketing practices and figure out how to prevent spam complaints. Opt-In is not enough anymore. A strict regimen of list cleaning and engagement audits will be necessary to stay in the inbox, and out of ISP/ESP crosshairs.
To Read the full ReturnPath report, which contains a lot more information about these statistics, you can view it on their website at: http://blog.returnpath.com/blog/return-path-2/email-intelligence-report-q3-2012.