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Hotmail's new metrics: a changing email landscape

windows-live-hotmailLast Wednesday George Bilbrey, President of Return Path, posted an insight into the future of email deliverability on MediaPost. Specifically it was about how ISPs are supposedly (according to deliverability experts) using engagement metrics without the big guys (Hotmail, GMail, Yahoo et al) actually ever talking about it in public. However, he mentions that Microsoft will be implementing a new system which will have far reaching consequences for email marketers.

George enlightens us with what Hotmail will use to determine whether email gets delivered or not:

  • Messages read, then deleted
  • Messages deleted without being read
  • Messages replied to
  • Frequency of receiving and reading a message from a source

One of the primary goals of implementing these metrics are to reduce false positives: considering message spam that actually aren’t. On the other hand, those same metrics could be applied to messages normally getting into the inbox, but will be moved into the spam folder just because of those metrics.

Four tips are provided that marketers should do following these changes: use seed lists, analyze and respond to activity by subscribers and avoid irrelevant messages. Fourth is frequency and cadence. All these things mean quite a bit of measuring, tuning and considering in marketers’ email campaigns: especially since GMail is also changing the inbox placement rules with the new GMail Priority Inbox, announced earlier this week. These changes are either already being rolled out or will be implemented soon, so it’s time to give those email programs a long hard look and anticipate. Survival of the most adaptable, not the strongest.

George’s full article can be read here, the highlights can be found on the Return Path In The Know blog.

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