COVID-19 Deliverability Strategy Guidance

Marketo Employee
Marketo Employee

Executive Summary

Worldwide, COVID-19 has presented us with tremendous uncertainty.  Globally, businesses are feeling the impact.  During this time, Adobe is doing all we can to provide continuity and support customers like you.  From a deliverability perspective, there are a few strategies we want to remind you of to prevent negative impact to your sending reputation and inbox placement.

 

Relevance and Subscriber Fatigue

Naturally, there are a lot of messages that are critical communication related to COVID-19. This results in high volume of email to consumers and businesses alike. To minimize subscriber fatigue and prioritize relevance, consider the following:

  • Evaluate if sending a COVID-19 communication is a necessity that provides brand-relevant details to the subscriber.
  • Monitor subscriber response. If opens and clicks are on the decline, consider adjusting frequency or type of communications to drive engagement.
  • Adjust and/or introduce new segmentation to maximize engagement and keep sending reputation high.
  • Monitor and develop creative, relevant ways to differentiate your brand in the inbox that are audience appropriate.
  • Test, measure and adapt. This crisis is unprecedented, and the market is forced to evolve with it. While best practice guidance remains consistent, shifts in subscriber response may occur that will impact reputation and deliverability.

Large Sends

Many customers are contacting their entire audience to announce business closures, event cancellations, crisis response, health precaution measures and other COVID-19 information.  This is critical communication, but also important is to ensure that you do this cautiously to mitigate reputational risk.    Here are expert guidelines to avoid deliverability issues for large sends.

 

Mailing on a Dedicated IP?

  • Do not exceed your daily volume maximum by more than 20%.  Look at what your average maximum volume is over the past 30 days and ensure you don’t exceed that by more than 20%.  High volume spikes in sending can trigger throttling by the receiving networks and slow down your send or even result in soft bounce failures.
  • Consider segmenting large volume sends over several days if possible, starting with your most actively engaged audiences first (openers/clickers.)  Blending this volume with your standard mailings will allow you mitigate the reputational hit you’d risk if you mail to a large volume without your typical daily mailings. 
  • Segment your audience if you have many subscribers at large business networks/domains.  If you are sending more than 300 messages to a domain, split the volume to less than 100 per domain. 
  • Do not send to subscribers who have not engaged (opened/clicked) in more than 12 months. 

 

Mailing on Shared IPs?

  • Shared IPs are leveraged by multiple senders, which means as your volume scales, the volume on the shared range may scale exponentially.  That increase could result in throttling across the network. 
  • Do not exceed your daily volume maximum by more than 15%.  Look at what your average maximum volume is over the past 30 days and ensure you don’t exceed that by more than 15%. 
  • Segment your audience if you have many subscribers at large business networks/domains.  If you are sending more than 300 messages to a domain, split the volume to less than 100 per domain. 
  • Do not send to subscribers who have not engaged (opened/clicked) in more than 12 months. 

Sending an Operational Email?

  • The Operational feature in Marketo Engage allows you to bypass unsubscribes to send to your entire audience.  Before you do that, consider if mailing to everyone is necessary.  It may be unwise and result in mailing to invalid addresses, spam trap addresses, (which may trigger blacklistings or blocks), or those otherwise unengaged with your brand. 
  • Our recommendation is to segment the audience by engagement as a first mechanism to determine who MUST receive the message, then layer in those who are lesser engaged up to 12 months of activity.  Do not send to subscribers who have not engaged (opened/clicked) in more than 12 months. 

Consistent Cadence

Consistent cadence is important to maintain your reputation over time.  With business closures, economic instability or other reasons, you may be tempted or required to halt some communications.  Be aware that receiving networks make filtering decisions in part on consistent sending patterns, including frequency and volume.  It may take time to reset your reputation if volume spikes or drops significantly.  Know that if you must make these kinds of changes, it is extremely important that you work with your Deliverability Consultant to navigate this approach to prevent your sending IP or domain from becoming cold (which would require rewarming). 

 

Large drops in volume can also lead to complaint hangover. Complaint hangover is the phenomenon in which complaints (subscribers clicking this is spam) from previous campaigns continue to cycle in without volume to offset them.  The result is a spike in complaint rate, which ISPs use as a premier reputation indicator. You can best protect your reputation by planning through these items:

  • Evaluate introducing a reduction in frequency versus a complete cool period.
  • Be sure to cool down IPs effectively by slowly siphoning off volume and/or frequency. This helps to protect against complaint hangover.
  • Work with your Deliverability Consultant to rebuild reputation (re-warm) after the cool period, which may include withholding certain messaging and/or targeting as you focus on highly engaged subscribers or campaign types.

You may have other unique concerns or issues during this time.  Please leverage your Support and Deliverability resources to assist with any Deliverability concerns you may have.

 

Best regards,

Marketo Engage Deliverability Team

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