New research from Return Path reveals the link between sender reputation and email marketing success.

Today marks the release of the annual Sender Score Benchmark Report from email solutions provider Return Path. Using data from Sender Score and Return Path’s Reputation Network, the new report analyses a sample of more than 4 trillion email messages to investigate and measure the impact of reputation on inbox placement.

The Sender Score Benchmark Report reveals that highly reputable email marketers are far more likely to reach their intended audience on a consistent basis. For example, senders scoring 91-100 (the best possible reputation score) saw 92 per cent of their messages delivered to the inbox. This figure drops to 72 percent for senders scoring 81-90, and 45 percent for senders scoring 71-80. For senders scoring 70 or below, only a small fraction of messages were actually delivered.

“If email doesn’t reach the inbox, brands lose the opportunity to connect with customers and ultimately make a sale—so every message counts. But hitting the inbox is harder than ever,” said Return Path President George Bilbrey. “That’s why monitoring your reputation and maintaining it at the highest level possible is critical to email marketing success.”

Spam complaints provide a strong indication to mailbox providers that messages are unwanted. As such, complaints factor heavily into mailbox providers’ filtering decisions. Not surprisingly, spam complaints also show a strong correlation to sender reputation. Senders scoring 91-100 had an average complaint rate of just 0.5 per cent, according to Return Path’s report. By contrast, the complaint rate for senders scoring 81-90 was 3.2 percent, and for senders scoring 71-80 it was 4.0 percent—a full eight times higher than the best senders.

“Mailbox providers are constantly looking for ways to combat spam and improve the inbox experience for their users,” continued Bilbrey. “Reputation offers insight into a sender’s legitimacy, making it a key component in the filtering process.”

Return Path’s complete Sender Score Benchmark Report can be viewed here.