Category Archives: Email Deliverability

Why Email Open Rates Have No Bearing On Delivery

Email open rate data simply Has To Many Variables Too Be Dependable…

Time of day

Day of week

Subject Line

Mindset of your subscribers

Your own mailing history and pounding the list as most of us do

Gmail Promotions tab (that has nothing to do with the email platform you are on)

Gmail personalized inboxes

Gmail algorithms over all

Mailbox Provider footprint

Christmas Season (Nov 1st till January 2nd)

Summer vacation and kids

Back to school season

Tax day

Presidential election years (as in Trump vs Hillary)

Holiday weekends

In short ATTENTION: Do I have your attention for Christ? (glengarry glen ross reference)

Here is the big one:

Email list quality

Scrub your list with Klean13 and then tag the emails with our 11 indicators of quality.

Next mail only the Verified emails. That will give you accurate open rate data. Because your list quality is the first thing that above all returns inaccurate data.

And list quality is the #1 thing that skews open rate data.

Bottom line: Open rates are an indicator of quality, not a metric that measures delivery…

Top 10 Gmail Promotions Tab Myths Debunked

“After a year of managing email lists totaling 10’s of Millions of subscribers? Gmail is weighing in at 43% of total list on average; 20% at the minimum (rarely) and as high a 65%- A well orchestrated Gmail strategy without trying to game the system is more important than ever!” – Chris Lang

“Why is my email going to the Gmail Promotions Tab” is probably the most often asked question I still hear these days, two years after Gmail released tabs.

So let’s take a look at the Gmail Promotions tab from a non-techy perspective and count em down like Letterman…

#10 – You Don’t Believe “They Are Just Not That Into You!”

The Gmail Promotions Tab is highly dependent on language. So when you talk about yourself, or your product you use words like; I, me, we, our and of course, the name of your product?

Well, that is a promotion.

Stay away from hard hitting copy as well. Mentioning; money, click here, limited time only, discount, buy now and of course, reusing the same copy over and over. That goes double for heavy footer text in emails.

#9 – Only Mail Your List When You Are Promoting Something

Let’s face it, you and I subscribe to some email lists just because we want discounts and rightly those kind of emails go to the Promotions tab. That does not mean you have to send emails with the same footprint and join them, do you?

#8 – Use Small Text Because “Hey! I Have a Really Big Phone…”

When it comes to civilian email readers, the normal everyday person that reads your email will resoundingly be a iPhone 5 owner. And that is a very, very small screen.

You can easily see your own device stats at; Google Analytics >>> Audience >>> Mobile >>> Devices… In the left hand navigation menu.

Use a font like Arial that is easy to read, and set your font size between 18 pixels and 22 pixels. 18 px is what most email list owners prefer, I myself prefer like 22 px.

#7 – You Use Your Business Name As The From Address Text – And Pay Close Attention To Those “Branding Experts” :]

Using the name of your business as the from text in your email’s from field, may be great for your business, but it’s not how you get to the Gmail Primary tab. Businesses promote, hence… Promotions!

Use your own name and create personal connections!

#6 – Use Lots Of Images – Because… Well- Pinterest!


Ancient Aliens guy explains how to go to the Gmail Promotions tab...

Translation: If you see aliens and get a great selfie with the little green men and women, you only need one image in an email or blog post to get your readers attention.

Every email marketer that has written about the Gmail Promotions tab agrees, one image per email.

So when you have a business name, banner style logo image at the top of your email, you have already reached the recommended daily allowance for images. Why waste that image on a business logo?

#5 – Use Big Phat Newsletter Style Templates – We All Want An Entire Magazine In Our Email

The email digest type newsletter layout has been popular and effective as a marketing tool for a long time now; It looks impressive, publishers love them, and so do businesses.

And that is the problem. Businesses love them, and businesses belong in the promotions tab.

#4 – Use A Sig File And Link To All Your Social Profiles In Every Email

See #3 and #10

#3 – You Add Lots Of Links In Your Email – The More Links, The More Clicks You Get Right?

All fun aside, the more links you have in your email, the more Gmail weights that in over 450 algorithms that make up Gmail’s decision making process that decide where your email is going to go.

One link please, and one link only!

#2 – Do You Say “Whitelist my email” Cuz Everyone Knows How To Do That Huh?

Please raise your hand and scream “Yayes” in your best Sunday go to meeting voice and tell me you know how to whilelist an email address!

Expect that your reader does not know how to whitelist your email either, and instead use my email whitelist generator!

#1 – You Change Your From Address Often

Use a stable from address and Do Not change it…

Google and Gmail especially hate it when you change your from address to your email list. In fact, this is a footprint that is well known among spammers.

User whitelisting is automatic in many email clients like Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo and your phone. Plus it’s the front line to detect spam in many spam filters. Changing your email from address and or using a no-reply@ email address breaks their built in address book lookups.

Gmail does like variety when it comes to email. But not when it comes you your email address!

The Bottom Line

No one but Gmail knows the actual algorithms and the weight of somewhere around 450 different algos that make the final decisions at Gmail.

And just because you have 10 links in an email does not mean you are fore-shore going to the Gmail Promotions tab.

As I said proved in the Email Delivery Webinar with Mari Smith, Gmail is:

  • Highly Customized and Personalized
  • Algorithmic and Dynamic
  • Like Google overall; Forever changing…

Cover image of email delivery book

This has been just 10 of over 100 step by step Email Delivery techniches and strategies real people can use no matter what platform you send your mail from, to Get It To The Inbox!
Click Here to get the rest…

10 Reasons Why Your Bounce Rate Is Up and Open Rates Are Down…

Two Words: August & September – The 2 Worst Months For Online Engagement


Do people actually read email on vacation?

On a number of threads, a larger number of people keep going on and on and on about how there is something wrong with their Mailer / ESP (mostly AWeber) or what ever mailer they are using, and that it’s the mailer’s fault they are seeing:

1) Higher than normal bounce rates
2) Lower than normal open rates
3) Overall lower email list engagement

BTW- AWeber is experiencing a SpamCop listing- Here is Why You Should Not Care

This is NOTHING NEW.

ALL mailers get listed in filters from time to time. It only lasts a short time, then the block goes away and we are back in the saddle. It could just as easily be everyone’s favorite, Active Campaign. It happens folks, it’s just how email is these days.

IMHO- It has way more to do with the quality of your own list and whether or not these short term listings all mailers / ESPs experience, are showing up as slightly higher bounce rates in your own dashboards.

As far as I can track down the slightly elevated bounce rate in AWeber? It’s Comcast addresses that consume the SpamCop blacklist.

No, there is no reason to get all excited and start posting bad things about AWeber or posting threads about what mailer to move your list- To which: Will return about 50 people saying you should move to Active Campaign.

— Here’s MORE On Why You Should Ignore Lessor Email Performance —

“Cables” as us deliverability guys call them, like COX and Comcast are Notoriously bad for delivery. Don’t get excited if they are the cause of your bounces.

It’s August, people are on vacation and getting ready for back to school season. After 15 years in retail (owned a bar in my 20s) I HATE August and September.

Quit dwelling on the negative! The gentleman that inspired this rant has a list of 8400 and is really worried about 200 bounces. Focus on the people who ARE getting your emails, not the 2.3% that are not because they are using Comcast as their email address.

If you are in a “Civilian” niche that sells during Christmas, getting ready for the Holiday Season now is what you should be doing.

If you are in the Marketing niche of things, getting ready for after Christmas is what you should be doing and spending your time bringing Massive Value to your continuity subscribers and paying clients.

Christmas is a time well known for a drop in members area subscribers, marketing products sales go down and your consulting clients have less time for you.

– The Bottom Line –

If you are experiencing higher negative indicators in your ESP (or mailer as I call Autoresponders) dashboard, then: -Pick Up The Phone And Call Support- You PAY for this, use it!

If you are experiencing REAL email delivery problems? Well by now you know what to do there…

Who You Gonna Call? Better Call Lang….

Will Deleting Unengagers Increase My Email Deliverability?

Lots of email deliverability advice is being bandied around suggesting to delete unengagers (those who have not opened your email in say a year?) from your email list and that that will increase your delivery rate.

And yes, that is true to some extent. To a larger extent it may not be…


Delete email icon - Used by permission via Wikipedia creative commons

But before I go into why and why not this could or could not be true, let’s take a look at what inspired this little rant: A post on Facebook from a very skilled email marketer. (much smarter than myself)

She said…

“I deleted almost half of my email list today. I got rid of the opt-outs, the hard bounces and the people who hadn’t opened a message in a year or more…”

My friend, and yes a real world friend went on to say:

“Open rate on a day that was officially a “holiday” [July 4th] here in the states…23%! About 5% higher than I had gotten to lately with all the dead weight…”

I replied:

In a nutshell, of course your open percentage rate went up. You “Physically sent” less email.

Less Email Sent = Higher % Opened – IF (Total Opens remain the same physical number)

So you should not be judging success here by Percentages, but instead the total Number of opens.


Above is Ryan Lee’s email this morning If I don’t download his pixel from AWeber in Outlook? (and I have no reason to since he sends only copy in HTML email–) Should he delete me from his list? Should you be deleting me off your list if I don’t open your images?

While Yahoo and Outlook.com (having replaced Hotmail and all Microsoft mail properties) DO load images by default in the Inbox… Just who is downloading these images? Microsoft, Google or Yahoo? Or your actual recipient? Which brings us to our next question–

Gmail Pre-Fetches Email Images! So Does This Have Effect Where It Is Most Effective- At Gmail

After analyzing Gmail’s Priority Inbox and the Primary tab VS the Promotions tab, not only myself but just about every email marketer have announced “Engagement” as your best chance to be seen in these “Best Inbox” Gmail customizations.

However, since the “automatically display images” default came to Gmail, Gmail began pre-caching images. So does the chance of getting in the primary tab and priority inbox have little or even no effect when it comes to removing un-engagers?

This theory would be the basis for a great test here. I would be thinking:

Does the CTR rate at Gmail correspond with the OPEN rate?

Can we even properly measure engaged VS unengaged users anymore at Gmail?

Paul Myers just pointed out to me that the math most email marketers are using is flawed when talking about Gmail pre-fetched images.

To paraphrase- If pre fetch was causing open rates to be flawed, then there would only be ONE open at Gmail, via pre-fetch? So you would see only one open?

Again anyone is only guessing here. We simply do not have enough data to make a factual decision…

No Immediate Delivery Effect Occurs?

The next question I asked myself is does this have immediate 1 to 1 effect on delivery? Do we see immediate affect like my friend suggested above?

After reaching out to my best delivery peeps, Paul Myers in particular pointed out to me that he doubts any positive or negative change would be seen immediately, going on to say:

“The real measure will be over time. It’s likely to be positive, but the degree of change is uncertain.”

Deleting Hard Bounces?

Yeah, email non existent bounces should be removed. And they should be removed by your mailer application, not by you.

Most mailer apps and software will delete a hard bounce, basically an email address that no longer exists after anywhere from one to three attempts. One hard bounce does not mean the email is dead.

In some mailers like SendGrid you can even remove soft bounces manually, usually an “Inbox full” bounce and I do manually remove Gmail bounces for full inboxes.

You have 15 GB of free storage to share across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos; if your Inbox is at its limit I am removing you.

Deleting the Opt Out / Unsubscribe List?

That will have absolutely no effect on deliverability. But if for some reason you do remove unsubscribes, preserve the list with it’s IP addresses and dates, so should someone later accuse you of sending spam? You have proof of the subscribe process and the associated IP address.

So Let’s Decode Exactly What Is Going On Here:

Okay, so my friend deleted almost 50% of her list. That 50% number may mislead you here, since she also deleted her opt out list. All due to the fact they had not engaged by opening an email in the last 12 months.

And her open rate went up by 5%. The more I try to support this theory, the more I poke more holes in it!

So before making a move like this you should ask yourself this:

  • How do you know that unopens simply mean your email was not seen because it landed in the Gmail promotions tab?
  • Unless you send email with important images in them, might users of say Outlook that does not automatically download images, mislead you?
  • Is your Domain is being filtered due to a blacklist you have no knowledge of?
  • Do you often get buried because you sent at a time of day that landed you on page-2 of Gmail by the time they got around to opening up Gmail?
  • Is your WordPress install is hacked unbeknownst to you and sending spam and that lands your emails in the spam folder at Microsoft properties as well as Yahoo?

So What Should You Do Next?

If you are considering removing a large part of your list we should take some time to sit down and talk about this– Just you and I. Most email delivery experts will agree, this is a drastic step.

It looks to me like you are being misled by a number of big names in Internet Marketing that are suggesting all this is a good idea. When IMHO opinion, it is not.

You have 3 options here:

1) Pick up the phone and call me, I will give you 15 minutes of my time- On me!

2) Schedule a 1 Hour Consult with me, I guarantee it will change how you look at email marketing when it comes to getting to the Inbox!

3) Get your Complete Email Deliverability Analysis

Pick the phone up now, and call 720 328 2341 or email me at chris@keywebdata.com

Because when it comes to email delivery?


Image of Saul Goodman saying- You Better Call Lang

Chris Lang is not a lawyer and does not play one on TV. This is not legal advice :]