Marketing terms or the main idea?

The word “delivery” is absent from dictionaries and has not been identified by any official body yet. This is the door open to abuse, because when it comes to email, the term is omnipresent. With meaningless promises, such as: “99% Delivery Guarantee”.

But behind these flashy, for-sale formulas, there’s nothing tangible. We notice it once we dig a little. Let’s see this in detail.

According to the return path, approx

25% of legitimate emails Do not reach their destination!
This impressive number means thatWe all miss very important emails : order confirmation, or the newsletter we have subscribed to, for example. It actually happened that I missed an event, due to an invitation that was passed in spam… This kind of event is as embarrassing to the recipient as it is to the sender.

The problem is due to the fact that the percentage of SPAM has exploded over the past 20 years: it has increased from 5% to 95%. In 2012, out of 10 emails sent, over 9 were spam! To protect themselves, ISPs had to interact and set strict filtering rules. Hence the number of unreceived emails, including legitimate ones. It is in this context that the term “deliverability” was born.

an orphan word without definition

The term “deliverable” was first used in English. But if “deliverability” returns 1.5 million results in Google, it is impossible to find an official definition. This idea has become a major criterion that, when choosing an email solution, is a major concern: everyone talks about it but no one seems to know what it’s all about.
To avoid this, the basic concepts of email have been defined by the SAME project. We owe this initiative toEmail Experience Board (European Economic Community), an organization associated with influencers Direct Marketing Association (DMA). The goal was to prevent email providers from choosing disparate calculation methods for click rates, open rates, etc. In June 2010, the European Economic Community presented a document Establish definitions to be adopted. But… the term “deliverability” has unfortunately been excluded. In the face of this void, the word has been overused.

What “deliverability” is not

Every time someone talks about the “delivery rate,” they are talking about the rate of “delivered” emails, which really corresponds to the percentage of “accepted” emails. The email is already considered “delivered”, if it does not result in an error (echo). “99% deliverability” just means that “99% of emails were accepted by the recipient’s server”. This does not let you know if the message has been placed in the inbox, or even if the message has been reported as spam.

Sometimes the term “delivery rate” also refers to “incoming mail mode rate” (IPR): this indicator is measured by checklists. Thus, IPR is not an absolute, but an assessment of the probability of emails reaching the inbox. RPI is a powerful indicator, but it is complicated and therefore expensive to obtain.

What is “delivery”, a proposal to define

We understand deliverability when we realize that it is not an indicator, but a qualitative goal. If I had to come up with a definition, I would formulate it like this:Deliverability: The ability of an email to reach the inboxes of its recipients.


Deliverability can be assessed (in particular) using the above tools: the number of emails “delivered” or “intellectual property rights”. But it is not equivalent to a measuring instrument. To be clear, I would like to take this picture: If you wanted to improve “road safety”, you would measure the number of car crashes. But it is clear that the number of accidents cannot be captured in the general concept of “road safety”. Same goes for “IPR”, “emails delivered” and “delivery”.

In marketing as elsewhere, a goal is never equivalent to the tools we use to see if it has been achieved. In other words: (It’s my philosophical aspect that stands out): “Adjective is not a quantity.”

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