SharpSpring uses industry standard metrics in order to report on how your emails are performing. This article explains the various email reporting metrics and how they are pertinent to you and your customers.
Normally, SharpSpring will attempt to send to any recipient on your contact lists that do not fall under the exclusions tab. Recently, with the implementation of a third party abuse prevention system, this may vary from your list size due to certain addresses being suppressed.
Delivered emails are messages that have been confirmed by the recipient's email box as having been accepted. Normally, the easiest way to calculate your delivery rate is to subtract your hard and soft bounces from your messages sent, and then divide that by the messages sent to see the percentage of emails that arrived at your recipient's inbox.
Your delivery rate can give you a surprising amount of information about your list and reputation. We will discuss this information in the Hard Bounce and soft Bounce sections, but if you seem to have consistently low delivery, it may be prudent for you to contact our policy and support team to help identify the specific issue.
Another interesting trend in the email deliverability ecosystem is the movement toward engagement-based reputation. With all of the tools and technology available to email senders, in order to be a good sender, one must do more than just not send spam. You should strive to send emails that your recipients want to read and emails with which they want to interact.
SharpSpring tracks your email opens by inserting a small, transparent tracking pixel into every email sent from the platform. When the email is opened in the recipient email client, the tracking pixel is rendered and the open event is captured in SharpSpring. However, if the recipient email client disables images, opens will not be tracked. This does not happen often and is a limitation of all marketing automation platforms.
NOTE: Preview Panes and Open Reporting
A Preview Pane (or occasionally ‘Reading Pane’) allows for recipients to view an email without opening the entirety of the message. Emails opened in a Preview Pane will only register as opens in SharpSpring if the recipient email client has images enabled for the Preview Pane.
Opens are a great indicator that your emails are engaging to your recipients showing that the email is ideally interesting enough to a recipient for them to view. Your open rate can be calculated by dividing the number of opened emails by the number of emails delivered. However, it is not a perfect statistic as a recipient may need to open an email to unsubscribe or report it as spam and there are ISPs that may falsely report opens if the email is simply previewed. This brings us to our best engagement statistic, clicks.
Your click rate shows the number of people that have received an email and then both opened and decided to click to be redirected to the intended site of the email. In nearly all cases, this means your email caught your recipient's eye, had enough engaging content to spark his or her interest while enticing the recipient to visit your site to learn more. A high click rate (clicks divided by delivered emails) indicates that you are creating high quality, successful email campaigns that should translate to a great sending reputation.
By using unique opens and clicks as a metric, you remove the risk that your rates may be inflated by a particular recipient opening or clicking multiple times, giving you a more objective view of how may recipients you engaged.
Spam Complaints (3rd Party Spam Complaints)
Spam complaints are direct complaints we receive through ISP feedback loops that let us know that a recipient marked your email as spam. A high third party spam complaint rate will have a direct negative impact on how an ISP views you as a sender, so keeping this rate as low as possible should be one of your top priorities.
There is a bit of difficulty using 3rd party spam complaints as a metric as the information provided to us varies from ISP to ISP. Most notably, Google provides no feedback on any spam complaints to us, though the industry standard ceiling for your send should be no higher than 0.1% spam complaints in your entire send. Additionally, SharpSpring’s Unsubscribe Survey can provide a bit more information on spam complaints through our own feedback loop. This will be described below in the Unsubscribe section.
Unsubscribe (for Non-Spam Reasons)
In the unsubscribe survey, we also have options to indicate that the recipient considers the email spam or did not opt-in to receive it. While this choice will not necessarily affect your reputation with ISPs, SharpSpring uses this information internally for determining your reputation pool and sending reputation. As third party spam complaints feedback can vary from ISP to ISP, tracking these unsubscribe for spam complaint reasons provides us with our own feedback loop. Like third party spam complaints, you should strive to keep these types of unsubscribes at a minimum by confirming opt-ins and providing quality content in your emails.
Hard bounces are emails that are rejected by the recipient ISP and marked as permanently undeliverable. The most common reason for a hard bounce is that the email recipient does not exist or the address that is being sent to is formatted incorrectly. While hard bounces are not inherently bad, an abnormally high bounce rate can be indicative of an out of date list or a purchased list. Purchased lists, in particular, can be dangerous as they may be riddled with ISP spam traps and have a much higher chance to be flagged as spam than opt-in lists, which is why SharpSpring does not allow the use of purchased lists.
Additionally, remember to calculate your bounce rates using total sends as the denominator instead of deliveries, as deliveries already calculates out for your bounces.
Soft bounces are emails that are rejected by the recipient ISP and marked as temporarily undeliverable. There are a number of reasons that an email may be temporarily rejected from a recipient’s box, so soft bounces are not a great indicator of poor email performance. However, don’t think that a high soft bounce is inconsequential. While an email may be rejected as the recipient’s box was full, other soft bounces could be a result of a rejection based on the sender’s reputation or that the the email was rejected as it was sent to a protected domain.
These are emails that we suppress in order to prevent sending to bad recipients. SharpSpring has three types of suppressions:
- Invalid Email Addresses: Email Addresses that would normally hard bounce due to bad formatting. For instance, person@company or person.company.com.
- Non-Repeating Emails: Emails that are marked to not be sent to a recipient multiple times that have been queued to be sent to a contact again.
- Toxic Addresses: SharpSpring is integrated with a third party application that will remove addresses that match with their known ISP spam traps or bad domains that would otherwise ruin your reputation.
These suppressions are not sent to your list and should account for any discrepancies between your list size at time of send and the number of sends that show up in your email job report.
Understanding how your jobs and lists are performing is paramount ot achieving a good sending status and ensuring your emails continue to reach your contacts. In order to ensure delivery of your email campaigns to your contacts, it is important to prove to ISPs that you have a history of providing relevant content to recipients who want to receive it. With ISPs turning further and further to your particular domain's sending reputation, every job you send has the potential to impact your sending reputation. Understanding these metrics helps get your emails to the inbox.