Delivery vs deliverability: email bounce rate explored in-depth
Metric Stack 29: Email Bounce Rate and more!
Some of you might feel it’s too early in the week to understand the subtle differences between two similar sounding words. But I don’t think so!
In this edition of the Metric Stack Newsletter, you’ll learn how to measure Email Delivery through two key metrics, Email Bounce Rate & Inbox Placement Rate.
As always, I’ll take you through the latest industry benchmarks - so read on! Let’s start with some definitions:
What is Email Bounce Rate?
Email Bounce Rate measures the percentage of unsuccessful email deliveries resulting from each email you send. Here’s the formula:
Email Bounce Rate = Email Bounces / Emails Sent
You might have heard of unsuccessful email deliveries through another name: Email Bounces.
And there are a couple flavours: Email Hard Bounces happen when there are permanent, irreversible problems such as incorrect email addresses on your list or email service shut downs. Email Soft Bounces are much more temporary and occur due to issues such as server down time and full inboxes.
Essentially, Email Bounce Rate is your go-to metric for measuring email delivery.
What’s the difference between email delivery and email deliverability?
Email delivery is when your email successfully reaches your recipient’s inbox. That includes the spam folder! Measure email delivery with the Email Bounce Rate metric.
Email deliverability is the art of sending emails that land in your recipient’s primary email inbox - or at least in promotions. Any email that lands in junk or spam folders is said to have low deliverability. Measure email deliverability with the Inbox Placement Rate metric.
Which metric should you prioritize? I’d say start with Email Bounce Rate first to ensure your email is actually reaching inboxes, and then focus on getting placed in the primary inbox.
More tips on how to achieve both delivery and deliverability later, but first: benchmarks!
What’s a good Email Bounce Rate benchmark?
The global average for Email Bounce Rate is between 0.7% and 2%. That’s right - less than 2% of your sent emails should bounce. Take a look at the split by industry and day of the week as of 2020:
What’s a good Inbox Placement Rate benchmark?
A good Inbox Placement Rate benchmark hovers around 91%, based on Return Path’s study of more than 2 million emails. Take a look at this fascinating breakdown of the Inbox Placement Rate benchmark by industry:
How do I improve email deliverability?
Start by making sure you follow email best practices such as regularly cleaning your email list, email address verification through double opt-in, and using reputable email marketing tools such as HubSpot or Mailchimp.
This should reduce your email bounce rate - you’ll always have some bounces but your aim should be to stay below that 2% threshold.
Beyond that, it’s not entirely under your control where your email lands in your recipients’ inboxes. Here are the top three tips to increase your chances of a high inbox placement rate:
Maintain a high email CTOR: when highly engaged users demonstrate the value of your content by clicking on your links, your emails are more likely to land in their primary inbox.
Prune your email list: experts recommend actually removing addresses from your email list that haven’t opened your emails in over 6 months. This boosts your open rate, engagement rate, and eventually, your inbox placement rate.
Preserve the quality of your emails: Frequency of emails, ease of unsubscribing, personalization, and relevant content to your readers are just some of the ways you signal to an email service provider that you’re not spam.
How do I track email deliverability metrics for my business?
If you’re tracking your email marketing metrics side-by-side with your other KPIs, a dashboard is the best way to proceed.
With Klipfolio PowerMetrics, a free-forever analytics tool, you can pull your data from multiple sources including HubSpot, Mailchimp, Google Analytics, and 100s of other data sources.