Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Email: Send It And Pray

.. and some people say RADIO isn't accountable enough! Email has clearly evolved into being the pivot point for online communication and commerce, but a recently reported study by the Deliverability Roundtable of the Email Experience Council found that email metrics and bounce management have not kept pace with email's evolution. 321 Mailers and 29 ESPs, representing a cross-section of both groups, showed that the lack of standards around industry metrics, bounce data, definitions and bounce management practices resulted in the inability of Mailers and ESPs to properly execute, measure and compare results on their programs.

The study says that, while four-fifths of ESPs calculate "delivered" by deducting all failures from total mailed, the remaining one-fifth calculate it by deducting only hard bounces from total mailed. Consensus for Mailers is even less pronounced. Two-thirds of Mailers expressed uncertainty as to how delivery was calculated, or just guessed. Methodologies for calculating open and click rates were even more convoluted and inconsistent.

In addition, the surveys revealed considerable confusion around one of the key processes effecting deliverability - bounce management. There's widespread industry disagreement on how bounces should be defined and treated, and an acute lack of visibility into specific bounce reasons. The surveys also highlight a problem with inconsistent bounce data being provided by ISPs.

Collectively, concludes the report, these issues pose a significant, bottom line risk to email marketers who are unable to adequately measure their results, clean their lists, improve their practices and safeguard their reputations because of inconsistent metrics and unreliable or inadequate data.

Email is the only direct marketing channel that lacks a standardized set of metrics, says the Whitepaper summarizing the survey.

No comments: