Tips for Using Third-Party Email Delivery Tools

August 07, 2019
Written by
Alex Price
Opinions expressed by Twilio contributors are their own

Tips for Using Third-Party Email Delivery Tools

Email infrastructure has evolved a lot in the last 5 to 10 years. With that evolution, the amount of data that we have access to has increased at a similarly exponential rate.

Businesses seeking to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to them by this wealth of data have offered a number of services promising to provide unique insight into recipient behavior in the inbox. We wrote about some of these email testing services earlier last year and the tests you can do to ensure you're getting an accurate picture of that data.

Although more data rarely is a bad thing, in this data-rich environment, it is imperative that we are able to separate the wheat from the chaff.

In an effort to aid that process, here are some helpful tips to consider when analyzing your deliverability using third party tools/services.

Prioritize Your Own Data

Third-party data should be used to supplement existing theories that have been created using 1st party data.
When analyzing the performance of your email program, the primary factor driving the conversation should be your own data.

If you believe you are experiencing delivery issues or that your program is not fulfilling expectations, does the data corroborate your theory? Are you seeing lower engagement? Higher bounce and/or block rates?

Third-party tools can serve as a great resource to alert you to potential upcoming issues or they can act as a secondary data source to confirm your suspicions about ongoing deliverability issues you might be facing.

However, they should never occupy the role of the primary data source. One of the main problems we see with businesses using these services is that they place too much emphasis on a singular point of data (e.g. inbox placement reports) rather than looking at the big picture.

Consider changes to the data privacy landscape

Over the past 24 months, there have been significant changes made in the world of data privacy. Privacy legislation, like GDPR, and restricted insight that ISPs, such as Gmail, now provide to the third-party delivery tools have significantly reduced the data available to these email tools.
As a result, the data these tools provide may not be as representative of your audience as it was before.
Making sure you are aware of these changes and how they impact your business is key.

There is no silver bullet to email deliverability

If you’re entertaining the idea of employing one of these services, one of their key pitches will revolve around the relationships they claim to have with key players in the industry.

That’s not to say those relationships don’t exist because, in a lot of cases, they most certainly do. However, it is in their best interests to exaggerate the nature of their relationship and the impact that it can have when it comes to your particular business.

In reality, there is no silver bullet solution to deliverability. While these relationships may indeed provide a temporary bump in reputation, only the quality of your data and the soundness of your strategy will determine the long-term success of your email marketing program.

If you have questions about what story your data is telling or how best to utilize these third-party services in conjunction with your existing infrastructure, please reach out to our team here at Twilio SendGrid and we’d be happy to help!

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