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Marketers must understand ISPs’ new filtering practices or risk losing sales

24 Apr 2012 1:54 BST Back
Marketers must understand ISPs’ new filtering practices or risk losing sales
DMA News

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New White Paper from DMA reveals email deliverability is becoming more challenging

Marketers that fail to get to grips with Internet Service Providers’ (ISP) new spam-blocking filters are at serious risk of failing to deliver emails to the inboxes of consumers and potentially losing business for clients, according to Guy Hanson of the Direct Marketing Association’s Email Marketing Council (EMC).

Speaking at the publication launch of the DMA’s new white paper on email deliverability on 24 April, Hanson said:    

“Marketers need to understand how Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and spam filters are significantly changing the way they monitor and process commercial email or face the real danger of delivering ineffective email marketing campaigns. Failing to reach the inbox ultimately means losing sales.”

The white paper reveals that ISPs and spam filters are shifting away from penalising ‘bad’ email and moving towards rewarding ‘good’ email instead. To do this, engagement metrics are being used to provide a view of whether subscribers are interacting positively or negatively with their marketing emails.

ISPs have been attempting to deal with rising spam volumes by using increasingly aggressive tactics to identify and block unwanted commercial email. However, with the percentage of so-called  ‘false positives’ generated by this approach reaching unacceptable levels, ISPs have introduced a new set of behavioural metrics to improve the way they identify and eliminate spam to prevent blocking legitimate commercial email activity.

Subscribers who don’t delete without reading, who nominate emails as “Not spam”, and who retrieve emails that have been mistakenly routed to the spam folder, are all demonstrating positive interactions with their marketing emails, with senders of these emails being rewarded with preferential placement in the inbox.

The study shows that sender reputation remains the cornerstone of email deliverability, and the primary factors that influence reputation metrics (infrastructure, data quality, and complaints) represent the key metrics that email marketers need to have their fingers on. Now, however, the subscriber behaviours that are being observed are playing a role in determining the visibility that the senders’ emails enjoy.

Hanson, Director, Response Consulting at Return Path - the white paper’s sponsor – added:

“The email landscape has altered dramatically over the last few years, with ISPs having to devise increasingly more intelligent systems to filter ‘good’ emails effectively. This white paper highlights that engagement metrics and sender reputation are key to successful email deliverability. Marketers must understand the changing focus of ISPs and how good email marketing practices are recognised and rewarded.”

Click here to download a full copy of the DMA Email Deliverability Review whitepaper sponsored by Return Path.  


For press enquires and copy of the report please contact: 
Tristan Garrick, DMA PR manager
Tel 020 7291 3315

Notes to editors

Based on the findings of the Email Deliverability Review, the 10 key tips that marketers should follow to improve deliverability are:

1. Improve data collection – with the rapid rise in the importance of sender reputation, the quality of the email address data that is being used is absolutely vital

2. Implement authentication – with the explosion of “phishing” and “spoofing” emails it is essential for the various parties who process emails to have a mechanism that proves the email really has been sent by the party that it is claiming to originate from

3. Monitor your sender reputation – this is now the single most important factor used to determined email acceptance by ISPs and it is therefore vital to maintain a good rating.

4. Manage your IP addresses carefully – IP addresses used to send emails play an important role in determining a sender’s reputation and therefore should be carefully managed

5. Practise good list hygiene – this is vital to the successful deliverability of an email campaign. There are a number of ways to optimise list hygiene including conducting a data audit, implementing a bounce back management programme and spam traps.

6. Use complaint feedback loops – these will enable email senders to retrieve details of recipients who have complained with their ISP/webmail provider when receiving the sender’s email

7. Monitor blacklists – there are many out there that are made public and can be referenced by any organisation wishing to filter spam from their email traffic

8. Reduce spam complaints – there is a direct correlation between spam complaints and subscriber engagement levels. Because of the algorithms that are now being used by inbox providers to determine placement and positioning, it is vital that the marketing mantra of “right message, right target, right channel, right time” is observed.

9. Conduct pre-broadcast testing – testing before sending with major ISPs will help spot any content related issues

10. Accreditation schemes – these establish a sender’s credentials, and then confer a range of benefits such as reduced throttling restrictions, preferential treatment by spam filters, and auto-enablement of images

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