Ever wondered how many of your email sends are going straight to the spam folder – and which email service providers consider your Pardot emails as spam? This measure of email deliverability is called “inbox placement“, this is the difference between your email landing in the recipient’s inbox versus ending up in the spam folder.
While Pardot can certainly be a robust tool for digital marketing and sales enablement, advanced email deliverability analytics are a gap you may like to fill.
For businesses who rely heavily on email for lead nurturing and client retention, getting inbox placement right is crucial – and having deeper insight into your metrics is a real bonus. With Apple Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) skewing email open data, inbox placement becomes even more important.
Enter email analytics platforms. I’m going to showcase the benefits these platforms’ key features can offer. Enhance your visibility into inbox placement, and in turn, optimize your Pardot email campaigns.
Note: I’ll be talking about 250ok in this guide, since it’s the platform I’ve used. Features are available in similar platforms.
Seedlist Testing – Explained
Email analytics providers use seedlist testing to determine inbox placement.
A plethora of different email accounts span the most of the popular providers. You’ll send your email to the seedlist to get a representation of how your actual send will be hitting recipients using these providers. For example, if your seed test emails are 10% flagged as spam by Hotmail, you’ll want to research Hotmail’s spam filter algorithm, and adjust your email accordingly.
While no analytics platform has insight into which specific accounts are flagging your email as spam, seedlist testing gives you a statistical representation per email provider.
Three observations I’ve made:
- Smaller inbox providers (such as cox.net and optonline.net) don’t seem to have advanced spam filter algorithms like Gmail and Yahoo.
- Cross-reference inbox placement reports with hard bounce reports in Pardot. This will give you further clues.
- Utilize the Gmail Tabs report to see which tabs your emails are landing in within Gmail – primary, promotional, or social.
Monitoring sender reputation and blacklists is something you should do regularly – especially if you are on a dedicated IP.
While there are free options available to ‘self-serve’ online, this is a built-in feature of email analytics platforms. You will be able to closely monitor your reputation at the domain level and the IP level.
This is eye-opening if you’re using a shared IP. Say there are organizations that do cold emailing (with ‘dirty’ tactics, e.g. purchasing lists), you’ll want the visibility to be able to differentiate between your domain reputation and your IP reputation. You can even see which domain and email hit the spam trap!
Security and Authentication
A great way to get buy-in from the IT team and leadership is to boast about the security features of your analytics provider. 250ok, for example, has a DMARC analyzer that gives you real time phishing alerts and a threat map.
Validity, the owners of 250ok, Return Path, BrightVerify (and more) and integrated their offering. BriteVerify is the email verification ‘arm’ of their platform, Everest.
Regular list cleaning is essential to weed out ‘bad’ types of email addresses that harm deliverability. Cleaning your database to prevent future hard bounces and improve, and overall, improve your sender reputation.
Yes, Pardot does provide inbox rendering tests (in the Classic email builder), however, they take several minutes to generate the previews.
Not only is 250ok faster, its rendering testing utilizes real inboxes (not virtual inboxes like some other testing tools). You can be confident in how your email content will display across various email service providers and devices.
Ahh, the joyous moment you’ve all been waiting for! While the analytics section of 250ok is somewhat redundant if you are using Pardot too, it does include some key metrics that are nice to have.
In addition to what comes with Pardot sent email reports (Devices, Read Rate, Opens, Clicks, Bounces, etc.) 250ok also provides metrics such as:
- Read Time Falloff.
- Top Recipients.
- A holistic birds-eye-view of your complete program over time.
If you really want to get fancy, you can segment your audience by any custom data point you decide (maybe Client Since Date or Lifetime Value) to see how your most loyal and most valuable customers are engaging with your emails.
At the end of the day, a third-party analytics add-on may or may not be right for you, depending on how you utilize email and your specific needs. While it’s certainly not cheap, it can bridge the gap between what Pardot provides out of the box and what you need to optimize your email channel for maximum ROI.