If you're experiencing deliverability issues, take a look at the frequently asked questions, below.
Deliverability is determined by a number of factors, including your domain reputation, how often users open or click your emails, how often users mark your messages as spam (email complaints), the content of your emails, your sending practices, your IP reputation, and other factors. This document is designed to help you identify the root cause of your deliverability issues and provide suggestions to resolve them.
Table of contents
Why are my emails going to spam?
Are you on shared or dedicated IPs?
- If you're on dedicated IPs, are they properly warmed up? It takes six weeks to warm up. There's a chance your email might go to spam during that time because your IP is still establishing a reputation with ISPs.
Are you using a new sending domain?
If you've shifted to a new sending domain, the domain reputation may need to build. In this case, consider the following best practices:
Send emails to your most engaged users first. This will speed up that process.
Give warning to users that you're switching domains so that they don't see the new domain and mark your email as spam (marking as spam does the most damage to your deliverability).
Are your DNS records set up?
To check if your records are set, go to Project > Settings > DNS Setup. This only applies if you are on shared IPs, this page is not used if you are on dedicated IPs.
All DNS records will show as true if they are set up properly. If you switch your sending domain, you will need to re-add your DNS records. DNS records can take up to 24 hours to update.
Is your "to" field customized?
- If you have these fields filled out in Project > Settings and are collecting this data from the user, the ISPs will be signaled that you know the user, which will improve deliverability.
Do you have mostly images and little-to-no text?
Every ISP has a different filter for this, but adding text and reducing images can help reduce the likelihood that emails go to spam.
Like all the best parts of life, balance is key, having nothing but images is not recommended due to deliverability, and having nothing but text is not recommended due to customer experience.
Do you vet emails before adding them to Iterable?
- If you send to a large number of disabled or misspelled emails, spam filters may detect your email as spam. To solve this, build an email validator into your signup form. That way, you won't even be sending to these emails, which will improve your deliverability.
Why do my emails have high soft bounce rates?
Did you see patterns in the bounce report?
- Download the bounce report for the email and look under recipientState to see the type of bounce. Is there a pattern in the type of soft bounces?
Here are the types of Soft Bounces and their definitions:
This is treated as a soft bounce because Iterable cannot determine the exact reason for delivery failure. It could be a non-standard error message, or too vague to be useful.
The connection timed out while trying to deliver the message.
The email server cannot deliver your email because the recipient's inbox is full.
The recipient's email server has blocked your email on the basis that the content resembles spam. This mail block is often triggered by something detected in your email content.
The ISP has detected content from your email that resembles spam. The trigger can be related to your content, IP address or sending domain that has a poor reputation.
Are you sending to disengaged/outdated emails?
If you're sending to emails that have soft bounced more than three times or emails that have never opened or clicked an email and have been on your list for more than six months, it could be hurting your reputation. We recommend building a suppression list as a dynamic list via a segmentation query like the one in Best Practices for Cleaning up Bounced Users.
In the bounce report, did you notice that all your bounces are from specific ISPs (AOL Hotmail, Yahoo, etc)?
Look more closely at user behavior and develop different email strategies for each ISP. For instance, do your AOL users open emails less often than other ISPs? Many larger companies adopt different strategies for each one as they grow. This allows soft bounces that are related to specific ISPs to be solved much more easily.
It can be a good idea to mass unsubscribe or suppress users who are marking your messages as spam. Often, after a few days of suppressing those users and re-building your reputation via other ISPs accepting your emails, the ISP that marked your message as spam will start accepting them again.
Why do my emails have high hard bounce rates?
How are you getting your email addresses?
If you're getting a lot of invalid addresses from your users, you may be experiencing a high hard bounce rate. Iterable automatically unsubscribes users who hard bounce the first time since the addresses are invalid, so any address will hard bounce only once.
If you're purchasing lists from a third party, you may be getting a lot of bounces because the emails are outdated.
If you're getting lists from partners, but they have not opted in to receive your emails, this is still a reason they would bounce.
Purchasing lists or sending to users who have not opted in to receive your emails is against Iterable policy and may violate CAN SPAM laws. If Iterable discovers that you are doing so, your account will be disabled.
- Also, see Do you vet emails before adding them to Iterable?, above.
Why aren't my emails going to Gmail's Primary tab?
Gmail has "secret" algorithms for determining which tab emails land in for Gmail users. The best way to have users receive emails in your Primary tab is for you to ask users to drag the email to the Primary tab.
If your transactional messages are getting caught in the Promotions tab, make sure they are being sent from a transactional message channel and that you remove the unsubscribe URL in the email. True transactional emails do not require unsubscribe URLs.
Also, see Are your DNS records set up? and Is your "to" field customized?, above.