In the never-ending fight to block spam, Internet service providers first created content filters. Then came the "spam" button. And now, the gatekeepers of deliverability are looking at a new way to determine whether your email makes it to the inbox:
Every marketer talks about engagement (and we are big fans of the idea here at Silverpop). But the inbox folks at America Online, Yahoo and others are taking the idea to a new level. In short, if your recipients aren't interacting with your messages, it could affect whether an ISP delivers your email.
As you can see in this Direct article on the topic, spammers have found a way around the spam button by artificially driving down complaint percentages. This is one reason the big ISPs are looking for new, even more inventive ways to determine if your messages are truly desired by your recipients. Engagement is becoming the new spam button.
While the details are still private, it's a pretty good bet that ISPs will be looking at factors like opens and clicks to determine just how engaged your recipients are. If you want to successfully make it into the inbox and stay there, a low complaint rate will no longer be enough. Your recipients will actually have to read and interact with your messages.
This is definitely bad news for spammers. But in the greater scheme of things, it's a move that will help legitimate marketers and recipients alike. As we move into 2010, it's more important than ever to make sure your messages are relevant and engaging. Your lifetime customer relationships, ROI—and increasingly your email deliverability—are counting on it.