That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that those deliverability rates are dropping in nearly every geographic and industry category.
Those are the key takeaway findings in the new global figures released by Return Path in its 2015 Deliverability Benchmark Report. This year, e-mail deliverability rates are sitting at approximately 79%, meaning that around one in five e-mails are not reaching their intended recipients. (Both spam trap e-mails and missing e-mails are included in the stats.)
More troubling is the trend line. In 2014, only 17% of e-mails failed to reach their intended recipients.
The Return Path statistics are particularly important because of the sheer size of the analysis it conducted. The 2015 report analyzed inbox placement statistics by country and industry in addition to e-mail provider, based on a representative sample of the ~357 million e-mail marketing messages tracked by Return Mail and involving ~150 mailbox providers. The evaluation covered permission-based e-mail messages sent between May 2015 and April 2015.
In the United States, deliverability rates are faring worse than elsewhere. It experienced one of the sharpest declines in deliverability, going from 87% in 2014 down to 76% this year.
Most other countries experienced declines as well — just not the same degree. They include Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Only Italy and Brazil saw increased deliverability percentages (Italy by a little … Brazil by a lot), while Spain’s deliverability rate remained the same (at 76%).
Consumer-type industries tend to have the highest deliverability reporting, according to Return Path (typically 90% or greater). Deliverability is far lower in the industrial, software and technology sectors, with rates hovering in the 45% to 65% range.
What’s behind the decline in e-mail deliverability? The Return Path analysis posits several factors:
- The introduction of new spam filtering systems, including those for Yahoo Mail and Gmail.
- Increasingly sophisticated algorithms applied based on user behaviors, designed to counterbalance the increased volume of e-mail traffic overall (~16% higher in just the past two years).
Additional findings from the 2015 Return Path evaluation can be reviewed in this summary report, along with a detailed description of the study methodology.
It would be interesting to know if individual companies are experiencing similar trends in their own e-marketing programs. If anyone has particular perspectives to share, please do so for the benefit of other readers.