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BizReport : Email Marketing : August 13, 2010

Return Path reunites emails with social network subscribers

When Friends Reunited took a closer look at their email deliverability, the social network discovered that many of their messages ended up in subscribers' spam folders or, worse still, disappeared into thin air. According to Return Path this scenario isn't unusual for social networks.

by Helen Leggatt

friends reunited.gifThe original social network, Friends United, sends around 30 million emails each month to its 20 million-plus member base. However, when they employed a suite of tools to monitor their email deliverability they were stunned.

While almost 6% of emails ended up in subscribers' spam folders more than a quarter (27%) simply went missing, never to be seen again.

The figures reflect Return Path's findings that social networks' email is marked as spam 100% more often than email from other sectors. High volumes of spam complaints are a major driver of email deliverability failures, meaning the emails that social network subscribers actually want can be diverted to spam folders or blocked outright at ISP level.

According to Margaret Farmakis, senior director of response consulting for Return Path, about one in five commercial permission-based emails are blocked globally.

"We're not talking about spam, these are emails that people have asked to receive, but that are being treated like spam," she told PC Pro. "It doesn't affect one-to-one emails, but a lot of marketing emails and communications from social networks, for example, are never delivered to the end user."

After just one month of working with Return Path, Friends Reunited's email deliverability was boosted from 67.1% in May to 92.5% in June 2010.

"Email reputations change in accordance with companies' changing their email marketing practice so they need to ensure they keep monitoring their deliverability metrics," said Guy Shelton, vice president of sales and service at Return Path.

Tags: email deliverability, email marketing, email monitoring, email reputation, ISP, social network, spam

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