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Almost One Quarter Of Marketers’ Emails Never Reach Inboxes, Study Reveals

Return Path logoNearly one quarter (22%) of marketing emails sent during the first half of 2013 with subscribers’ permission never reached their inboxes, according to the Inbox Placement Rate Benchmarks Report from Return Path, an email intelligence solutions provider.

Based on a sample of nearly one trillion messages sent worldwide, the report found that 18% of all marketers’ email messages were either blocked or went missing, while another 4% were delivered to subscribers’ spam or junk folders. That means billions of opt-in messages failed to reach their intended recipients, representing potentially dramatic revenue opportunity losses for marketers, officials noted.

“This is a universal problem for marketers, the opportunity cost is immense, and overall it’s not getting much better,” said George Bilbrey, Co-Founder and President of Return Path. “There are so many factors that determine whether messages reach the inbox, it’s impossible to point to reason or even a group of reasons for the global decline, but engaging subscribers is clearly becoming a far more important component of inbox placement. Senders that consistently reach the inbox tend to have higher read rates and more active subscribers. Senders whose mail is ignored — deleted without being read — are often the ones who struggle to get their messages delivered.”

The study also examined marketers’ success rates at reaching inboxes across large mailbox providers, including Gmail. Senders around the world found Gmail the most challenging, but inbox placement rates — the percentage of sent email delivered to addressees’ inboxes — were generally average or better. For example, 86% of American senders’ messages reached the Gmail inbox.

The complete study, including infographics, can be downloaded here.