Return Path – Why Are My Emails Going to the Spam Folder? How Subscriber Complaints Affect Inbox Placement.
By: Return Path
Many people see email marketing as a one-way communication. Email marketers are sending emails to their recipients, who are then reading and/or deleting with no real dialogue back to the sender. However, it’s important to understand that it is a two-way street as subscribers do have various ways to communicate back to the sender via email activity (opens, clicks), spam complaints and trusted subscriber voting. And these communications from the recipients can negatively affect your inbox placement causing your emails to be delivered to the spam folder.
You’ve heard all about subscriber engagement used in spam filtering and how having an engaged list can help your deliverability. But what does that really mean? On one side, we’re talking about your open and click-through rates. The more subscribers engage on this level with your emails, the more favorable you will look to the internet services providers like Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail, as they will see that you’re sending to a clean and engaged list, and that your subscribers actually want to receive your emails. This shows the internet services providers that you have a clear opt-in process and are sending relevant emails, which will lead to less email in the spam folder and more in the inbox.
But the other side of that is spam complaints. Most ISPs will have a “This is Junk/Spam” button that recipients can easily click on, and these votes will also impact your deliverability. If enough people are voting that your emails are junk/spam, then your emails will begin to be routed to the junk or spam folder. Conversely, if enough recipients are moving your emails from their junk or spam folder to their inbox by clicking on the “This is Not Spam/Junk” button, then this will improve your deliverability and inbox placement.
Note: Many ISPs participate in feedback loop programs that work to notify you of “This is Junk/Spam” votes so you can then remove those complainers from your list(s). If you are not yet signed up for all available feedback loops, contact your Return Path account manager today to get started.
Keep in mind that there are also other ways that a recipient can register a complaint. The first is through emailing the postmaster or spam agency, like SpamCop. These methods are typically used by more savvy recipients, and therefore can take on more weight than the “This is Junk/Spam” marking would.
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