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5 Reasons: Part 2 - 5 Improving The Deliverability of Your Messaging

  • 4 March 2018
  • Author: Sean Mcdonald
  • Number of views: 5968
5 Reasons: Part 2 - 5 Improving The Deliverability of Your Messaging

The Challenge:

Improving Deliverability

Deliverability rate is the percentage of email or mobile messages delivered to your recipients’ mobile and email inboxes versus the total number of messages sent. It tells you how many of your messages bounced back or were simply never received, and if that number is high, it’s a sure sign of inactivity.

Typically, you should expect between a 9–15% open rates for email depending on the content, list engagement and the relevance to the subscribers. If you are lucky enough to have started building your mobile lists, you can expect open rates on this channel at around 95%.

Wow I hear you say! Well you know what they say about marketing. Don't believe everything you see and hear.

To really measure the effectiveness of your marketing outputs, you should consider the actual ‘read rates’, and not simply the open rates of email and mobile messages.

Email for example, suffers from spam filters, junk and promotion folders, plus a range of other filters, not to mention the sheer volume of emails hitting your audience inbox. The ONLY result you should be focused on are the ‘read rates’, that is, how many are actually opening and reading your message.

Let’s use the example diagram below to illustrate this point. Starting with 5,000 list contacts and assuming a healthy open rate of 18%, we end up with 900 contacts engaged with your content. For 99% of email, there should always be a ‘call-to- action’ i.e clicking on a download, website, or order link. Industry statistics (https://mailchimp.com/resources/research/email-marketing-benchmarks ) report that on average, only 2% of your list will actually click on your ‘action’ links. So, for every 5,000 contacts, only 100 of those are actually engaged. 

In contrast, mobile (SMS and MMS) conversion rates are radically different. So why is this? 

For a start, every contact in your list has ‘opted in’ to receive your content. It is also illegal in most countries to obtain/buy/rent mobile lists and broadcast (read spam!) messages to them. For this reason alone, mobile enjoys a unique position in your marketing stable. Assuming you have built your lists correctly, and with the right compliance disclaimers, your audience are likely to 160% more engaged than email. 

Let’s consider the illustration below. 

With a list ten (10) times smaller, your open rates of 98% look astounding. Not so fast Batman. 

Remember what I said before about hype? The open rates on the mobile channel differ greatly to that of its email cousin. By default, virtually every message sent via SMS is delivered. On this basis, since there are no spam filters or junk folders, one assumes they have been opened. This is not always the case. A mobile vendor that cannot provide detailed information about the delivery and receipt status should not be used. Some providers refer to a read message as having been ‘delivered’. Watch out for this one. Messages sent or delivered DO NOT mean that they have actually been received to the mobile device. Premier mobile providers like MOBIT will track every message to the device, AND report a confirmation message back to your account when the message has been opened by the recipient.  So, assuming you are working with a solid provider like MOBIT, let’s look at the real engagement rates of mobile.

So open rates are great at 98%. That’s 490 contacts from a list of 500 that have opened our message. What we are interested in though as marketers (you should be) is the ‘click through’ rates. I.e How many contacts are actually clicking our ‘call-to-action’ links, and interacting with our content. In the MOBIT world, this is someone that is clicking on your MOBIT automation link (e.g mbit.ly/1a87) and landing on one of your mobile pages from your campaign.

Using average click-through rates from thousands of our clients around the world, the average ‘click through’ rate is 58%. Now, some industries are lower, others much higher, but the average is 58%. That equates to 261 people from your list of 500 that open, and then engage with your content. Now that is something to get excited about. 

Regardless then on which channel you are measuring, if you are experiencing lower click through rates, one of the following factors may be responsible: 

WHY ARE marketers so afraid of low deliverability rates? 

Low deliverabilty rate might get you blocked by ISPs (internet service providers) or the mobile carriers. If your list is loaded with inactive emails or wrong mobile numbers, you don’t have a sense of your true complaint rate. While many marketers just look at total complaints over total list size, the ISPs and mobile carriers are actually looking at total complaints over number of active users. 

ISPs can also mark abandoned email addresses as spam traps. This means that, even if you acquired emails in a legitimate manner, the abandoned addresses may have morphed into spam traps. Aside from all the ISP problems, low deliverability rate also means you are wasting money sending messages to nonexistent addresses. 

The mobile carriers are no different to their ISP counterparts. They are constantly monitoring your messaging activities and campaigns. If they see high ‘opt out’ rates or messages that even look remotely like spam, your account will be reviewed, audited, and even cancelled. For mobile messaging and marketing, you also have strict compliance rules. The USA have the TCPA, and its close Neighbour Canada, have the CTIA.


Practice good email and mobile list hygiene.

Regular maintenance

Clean up your email and mobile lists by removing those addresses and numbers that are no longer engaged with your content. You can identify these addresses and mobile numbers with metrics such as open and click rates. 

A stricter opt-in process 

If you have a really serious problem with deliverability, you might want to redefine your opt-in process to prevent invalid emails and mobile numbers from getting on your list. 

Either ask people to enter their email twice or experiment with double opt-in. For Mobile, use the double opt in processes to scrub your lists. Have recipients reply YES, to receive your first message, then, every other message, ensure you provide them with clear opt out means.

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