Engagement, Engagement, Engagement
I saw a headline today:
New Research from Return Path Shows Strong Correlation Between Subscriber Engagement and Spam Placement
I have to admit, my first reaction was “Uh, Yeah.” But then I realized that there are some email marketers who do not believe engagement is important for email deliverability. This is exactly the report they need to read. It lays out the factors that ISPs look at to determine if email is wanted by the users. Senders have to deal with vague metrics like opens and clicks, but the ISPs have access to user behavior. ISPs can see if mail is replied to, or forwarded or deleted without reading. They monitor if a user hits “this-is-spam” or moves the message to their junk folder. All of these things are signals about what the users want and don’t want.
Still, there are the folks who will continue to deny engagement is a factor in deliverability. Most of the folks in this group profit based on the number of emails sent. Therefore, any message about decreasing sends hurts their bottom line. These engagement deniers have set out to discredit anyone who suggests that targeting, segmentation or engagement provide for better email delivery and getting emails to the inbox.
There’s another group of deniers who may or may not believe engagement is the key to the inbox, but they don’t care. They have said they will happily suffer with lower inbox delivery if it means they can send more mail. They don’t necessarily want to discredit deliverability, but they really don’t like that deliverability can stop them from sending.
Whether or not you want to believe engagement is a critical factor in reaching your subscribers, it is. Saying it’s not doesn’t change the facts.
There are three things important in deliverability: engagement, engagement, engagement.