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EEC Webinar addresses confusion about e-mail metrics, bounce management

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A webinar last week sponsored by the Email Experience Council expanded on the organization’s recent surveys of 300 e-mail marketers and 29 e-mail service providers. The surveys looked at the current state of e-mail metrics and bounce management. While much of the news was good—for example, 83% of mailers and 88% of ESPs rate “e-mail delivery” as high or above average in importance—overall, the surveys reveal confusion and miscommunication in the e-mail marketing industry.

Jeanniey Mullen, the EEC’s founder; Deirdre Baird, EEC deliverability roundtable chair; and Dave Lewis, EEC project cochair, provide these suggestions for understanding your e-mail metrics and deliverability.

  • Ask a lot of questions about how your company or ESP is calculating e-mail metrics. If the method doesn’t work for you, change it. Baird explained that not asking such questions can prevent you from making good choices for your e-mail marketing program and result in lost revenue.
  • Talk to your ESP or ISP about bounce metrics. The EEC study found that only a third of mailers have good visibility into why their messages are bouncing, while another third have poor visibility—they only know what’s been mailed and the total number of bounces overall. This isn’t surprising because 25% of all ESPs don’t break out hard versus soft bounces. Make sure you know where your provider stands, and ask for better statistics if you’re not seeing the entire picture, Lewis said.
  • Assume discrepancies exist. One company may define hard bounces as messages that have been blocked as spam and another may count only those messages that have bad e-mail addresses.
  • Become an advocate for change. The EEC has in the past called for a nonpartisan agreement on metrics. The more companies that call for this change, Lewis said, the better.
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