Hate to bust your bubble, pal, but the answer is “Not really.” 85% deliverability means 15% of your emails triggered a spam filter somewhere along the way and didn’t make it to the inbox.

What’s happening is that 15 of every 100 recipients are not seeing your emails unless they regularly check their spam folders. That’s 15 fewer potential sales, 15 new customers you won’t connect with, 15 subscribers who won’t get your “Happy Birthday” message.

If you have 100,000 subscribers, that’s 15,000 people who won’t see your messages. One million subscribers? Now we’re talking about 150,000 missed opportunities, and that’s a lot of wasted effort.

Whose spam filter did my email trip?

Most ISPs have a complex set of filters to detect spam and route it to the spam or junk folder. ISP. But other filters belong to recipients who set up their own filters based on words in the subject line, the sender name or the domain the messages are coming from.

Either way, your message went to the spam folder and likely will remain there until it automatically empties. Only a small percentage of email recipients check their spam folders regularly.

Delivery versus inbox placement (deliverability)

As we explained in Part 1 of our series, Are Email Delivery & Inbox Placement Rates the Same Thing?, email delivery and deliverability or inbox placement are not the same thing.

  • Email delivery measures how many of your emails got delivered somewhere at an ISP.
  • Deliverability, or inbox placement, estimates the number of your emails that made it all the way to the inbox instead of the spam folder.

Having 85% inbox placement isn’t completely awful. You’re still getting the majority of your messages in the inbox. Having an 85% delivery rate would be a real problem, because it means ISPs are rejecting 85% of your emails for invalid accounts, blacklists and other causes. It would also mean your inbox placement rate would be even lower.

According to recent deliverability reports, overall inbox placement is getting better, at 85% globally. That’s better than where we were 10 years ago, when deliverability (meaning inbox placement, not just acceptance of email) was below 80%.

Next up: What’s Keeping You Out of the Inbox?

Our series concludes with a quick look at the factors that cause ISPs to route your emails to the spam folder and what you can do to increase your chances of reaching the inbox.