While we often focus on delivered rates when talking about email deliverability, response metrics will soon be equally important in determining whether or not your email arrives. ISPs are increasingly looking at subscriber engagement levels to determine the validity of your email messages.  While not all ISPs are using engagement data and those that are all have different criteria, the fact is that opens, clicks and other engagement metrics are now playing a role in delivery decisions.

ISPs are expanding their measurement criteria because they want to confirm that your subscribers are real and active. If a subscriber logins and interacts with messages in their inbox, they are considered active users. The opposite behavior might mean that there are large numbers of inactive subscribers and therefore, standard reputation metrics may not be the best indicator of message value. Data on opens and clicks provide a more complete picture of the sender and it’s subscriber relationships.  So if you’ve been laser-focused on deliverability numbers, now is the time to expand your view.

What kind of data are ISPs using to determine engagement? Beyond opens and clicks to your specific message, ISPs are use TiNS data (this is not spam), panel data, trusted reporter data and inactive accounts as measures of engagement.

* TiNs data is gathered from users actively clicking a button that says “This is Not Spam”.  This shows that users really want your email and will help improve your reputation metrics over time.
* Panel data is a panel of users that determine whether email messages have been correctly marked as spam based on specific criteria specified by the email providers.
* Trusted reporter data is culled from accounts that have proven to be real users who display normal behavior when interacting with their email messages. To avoid issues overall, employ strong permission practices.
* Inactive accounts are mailboxes that do not have regularly activity. To avoid mailing to inactive accounts, segment out inactives every six months and alter your email strategy in consideration of their lack of response.

As a sender, you are not privy to these metrics, but knowing that some ISPs are using this data to determine inbox placement helps you prioritize your goals when it comes to list hygiene, messaging and your overall email strategy.

Carly Brantz
With more than 15 years of experience, Carly Brantz is an email deliverability and inbound marketing veteran. As the VP of Revenue Marketing at SendGrid, Carly empowers her team to transform marketing from a cost center to a revenue generator. With a key focus on funnel optimization, Carly leads the team responsible for content creation, lead nurturing, SEO/SEM, and website optimization. An accomplished speaker, Carly shares her email delivery and revenue marketing tactics as a headline speaker on SendGrid’s international roadshow as well as other Marketing conferences.