The need for relevant and valuable email sends has been amplified by a study revealing that one in every five marketing messages go straight to the trash. 

Email marketing provider Return Path looked into the deliverability rate – the chances of an email finding its way into the inbox – of 357 million commercial messages to find that just 79% are making their way into the recipient’s inbox – a 4% drop since last year. 

Detailed analysis into placement scores across different countries and companies present some clear winners and losers from the last year. 

Stripped apart

Part of the decrease has been pinned to a lacklustre performance from marketers across Europe. Germany has seen a 7% drop in its deliverability rate to 82%, the UK has suffered a decline of 5% to 82%, while Spain maintained a lowly total of 76%.

Italy was the only surveyed EU nation to see a rise in its message deliverability, increasing its total by 2% to hit 83% – just over the global average.

Things aren’t much better in the US, which saw a 11% drop in deliverability over the last year. A Stateside score of 76% is now lower than the 79% on show in Canada, which only saw a 4% decrease.

The blame game can also be played across industries, and the table from ReturnPath shows there are very few around that don’t use email for communicating with their customers and clients.

Some positivity can be taken out of the fact that technology companies were the only ones to see a double-digit decline in their performance, a year-on-year decrease of 25% resulting in a dismal hit rate of 45%.

Interestingly enough, software and internet-related groups – some of whom may also be classed as ‘technology’ providers – saw their score rise by 25% to hit 68%, joining manufacturers (+11%), biotechnology groups (+2%) and retailers (+1) in the plus table.   

But with companies such as the ones under telecommunications (-8%), insurance (-7%), finance (-6%) all seeing drops in their placement scores, it’s no wonder that email is .

Return Path president George Bilbrey claimed that improvements to algorithms which grade a user’s email content are making it harder for advertisers to get into the inbox. 

“As signals from individual subscribers play a bigger role in determining whose messages they see in their inboxes, email marketers that maintain their ability to consistently reach audiences will be distinguished by two critical, data-driven skills.”

He added that subscriber engagement should be studied as a barometer of value while stressing the need for “fast action” to prevent further slides.