Previously, Internet service providers looked at three particular metrics when assessing the legitimacy of an e-mail sender:
- How dirty the list is: Are a lot of invalid e-mail addresses being targeted?
- Spam complaint volume: How often do subscribers hit the “Spam” button?
- Content: Is the offer spam?
This notion has been turned upside down. AOL Google, Hotmail and Yahoo earn more revenue from engaged consumers; the more ads served up that match consumer preferences, the more revenue each subscriber generates. As a result, it's crucial for such companies to ensure that their e-mail offerings are engaging for their audience, so they are now examining the following:
- How many people open an e-mail?
- What percentage of the people who open an e-mail click on the links?
- How many of the e-mails are forwarded?
Google is taking this one step further by putting the best performers in the most prominent position as part of its Priority Inbox offering; Google's algorithm makes predictions on which e-mails are important to the receiver based on e-mail history. Those that are regularly opened and/or responded to will be sent to the Priority Inbox, and according to Google, the determination is made based on “who you've e-mailed and chatted with most and which keywords appear frequently in the messages you opened recently.”
This is all the more reason to ensure your e-mail marketing campaign is engaging the subscriber. If your e-mail is generating lower open and click-through rates, revamp your campaign so that it resonates with your audience. If not, be prepared for your e-mails to end up in the “everything else” part of the inbox with the rest of the e-mails that go unnoticed and unopened.
John Murphy is president of ReachMail (www.reachmail.net), a provider of e-mail marketing services, solutions and advertising.