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Sender Score: A Credit Score for IP Address Reputation

The very first stop to determine the health of IP reputation is Sender Score. If you are not using the same metric, then you should because IP reputation is significant for deliverability. Now, understanding how it is calculated is essential for any aspiring Email Marketer. Eight most common parameters are taken into consideration for this purpose.

In the below paragraphs, we will take a brief look at three of these metrics. You can act upon these instantly. These are:


To no one’s surprise, subscriber complaints remain the largest driver of bad inbox placement due to a shrinking IP reputation. The latest trend for 2019 indicates the impact of GDPR through increased levels of emails marked as spam during the GDPR period between April and May 2018. Moreover, it shows an increase in consumer awareness due to the emails they receive. From 2017 to 2018, the complaint rate on emails from senders who had a sender score in the range of 11 to 100 saw a doubling of average complaint rate.

No one has entirely absolved its campaign of subscriber complaints. Yet if there is a persistent problem of complaints, there are many ways you can instantly improve this negative metric.

By using the Feedback loops: You can ensure that all the complaints are being made via critical feedback loops. There are many useful Feedback loop programs you can utilize for this purpose. For example. Junk Email Reporting Program of Microsoft, Complaint Feedback Loop of Verizon Media, and Universal Feedback Loop of Return Path. The very first question anyone would ask is why they should lose subscribers just because they complained about only one email. Its most straightforward answer is because a high complaint rate can drastically impact your inbox placement rate. Besides, these complainants may be damaging your deliverability resulting in some of your loyal brand subscribers not getting your precious emails”.

By not going subscribers a reason to complain: Don’t set subscriber expectations too high. At the point of sign up, tell your subscribers exactly what they should expect. Offering a preference center is also a good solution. It ensures that the people who subscribe are primed for engagements. Check out a similar signup form of ASOS below.

Unknown Users

Email addresses that do not exist at the provider’s end are termed unknown users. When you send an email to such addresses, the email providers respond with a 5xx bounce code. It can negatively impact your sender score. Marketers with a top tier score of 91+, on average, have an unknown user rate of only 0.9 percent. You can try the following tricks to keep unknown users off the list.

Start real-time list validation: The best place to start email validation, is at the source. You can use a service like Brite Verify to ensure that you have a high-quality list. Groupon, for example, uses email validation on sign up to avoid misspelled addresses.

Mange bounce rate: If the unknown users are already an issue in your list, try bounce management. The best industry practice is to remove all the hard bounces at the first incident and soft instances on a three-strike rule.

Set up Spam Traps

A mail provider’s job is to ensure that bad emails from bad senders do not reach valuable customer’s inbox. One way to do that is by operating spam traps. There are two types of spam traps. These are: pristine and recycled. The former is created to catch poor senders. While the later are those that had been in a consumer’s use but after the lapse of activity turned into a spam trap by the provider.

Senders that continuously hit spam traps have terrible IP reputation and consequently poor deliverability. To avoid hitting the spam traps, do the following:

  1. Do not rent or acquire an email list
  2. Confirm the subscribers using double opt-ins or through confirmation emails. It will give you the assurance that these emails are real, and these subscribers want to participate in your marketing campaigns.

All said and done, IP reputation is a crucial factor for deliverability. Most of the mailbox providers rely heavily on IP reputation to decide whether to deliver the email to their inboxes or land them in the spam folder. From our discussion, it has become clear that Sender Score is a critical tool for anyone running an email marketing campaign based on reputation and trust.

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