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Understanding Email Deliverability & Subscriber Metrics
Understanding Engagement Metrics & How to Avoid the SPAM folder
Understanding Engagement Metrics & How to Avoid the SPAM folder

Actions you can take to get into your subscriber's inboxes & avoid warnings or suspensions due to anti-spam policies.

Updated over a week ago

Email and subscriber engagement metrics are directly tied to email deliverability - the likelihood of your email campaigns actually reaching your subscribers’ inboxes.

Even if your email deliverability is in good standing, there is the possibility that aggressive spam filters will prevent your email from reaching the inbox of your subscribers. Spam filters are becoming more powerful and sophisticated, which can cause your emails to land in the spam folder or not be delivered at all. While spam filters are unavoidable, there are a few actions you can take if subscribers aren’t receiving your campaigns.

How is engagement measured?

The metrics below are an indication of your overall email marketing program and measure your ability to get the right message to the right recipient at the right time. Improving these metrics is a critical effort that is important to be a successful email marketer.

Email Metrics

Best Practices

Spam Rates

0.1% or less

Bounce Rates

1% or less

Open Rates (unique)

15% or higher


0.7% or less

In addition to monitoring email metrics, email providers often use the following factors to evaluate email engagement:

  • How many times messages are forwarded

  • How often messages are ignored/unopened

  • How often messages are deleted without being read

  • How often a sender is added to a contact book

  • How often a message is moved from one folder to another

Hard Bounces

What Is A Hard Bounce?

High hard bounce rates signal to inbox providers (like Gmail) that you're either not cleaning your list or there's an issue with how you grow your list. While a few hard bounces are permissible, since subscribers are human and sometimes make mistakes, inbox providers interpret a large number of high bounces as sending to email addresses that you bought or scraped off the internet.

What can you do about a hard bounce?

  • Enable double opt-in immediately. A misspelled email address will not be able to confirm opt-in and won't make it onto your list, so you're safe.

  • Do not buy lists. We support marketers who send relevant emails to subscribers who want to receive them.

  • Only send to actual subscribers.

  • Do not scrape the web for email addresses. Instead, add sign up forms, run advertising campaigns, and ask your customers to share your business with their friends. Organic growth is the safest and most sustainable path to success.

  • focus on sending to highly engaged subscribers until your reputation and email metrics improve

Springbot already has automatic basic list cleaning in place & here is what we remove:

  • Cleaned - Bounced - Reflects two types of cleaned emails. Hard bounces and emails that have been blocked 8 times. On the 8th block, the subscriber becomes a Bounce and gets a Cleaned-Bounced status. Ex. The domain name doesn’t exist

  • Cleaned - Invalid - An invalid email occurs when you attempt to send an email to an address that is formatted in a manner that does not meet Internet email format standards. This response comes from Springbot's own server since an invalid email is impossible to even attempt to send to its [non-existent] destination. Ex. addresses without the “@” sign or addresses that include certain special characters and/or spaces.

  • Hard Bounces - A hard bounce is an email message that has been returned to the sender because the recipient's address is invalid. If an email is on the bounce list, we will auto-drop any future requests to this email address. Ex. A hard bounce might occur because the domain name doesn't exist or because the recipient is unknown.

  • Soft Bounces (after 3 attempts) - A soft bounce is an email message that gets as far as the recipient's mail server but is bounced back undelivered before it gets to the intended recipient. Ex. A soft bounce might occur because the recipient's inbox is full.

Unsubscribe Rates

What is an unsubscribe?

People unsubscribe from your email most often because they don't find your emails relevant to them. This could be because they're no longer interested in what you're sending, because you've sent something that doesn't speak to them, or because they didn't sign up to receive content in the first place. Inbox providers interpret a high unsubscribe rate as you sending unwanted emails, which they define as spam.

What can you do to reduce your unsubscribe rate?

  • Make sure you only send to subscribed recipients. If you're not, build an engaged segment to ensure that you are sending to people who want to hear from you.

  • Send targeted and personalized content. Start using segmentation to get more targeted with your communication.

  • Make sure your emails don't contain graphic or explicit content.

  • Make sure your subject line aligns with the content of the email itself. When people feel deceived, they are more likely to unsubscribe.

  • Make sure your unsubscribe link is clear & easy to find (typically in the footer of an email).

Spam Complaint Rates

What is a spam complaint?

Inbox providers take high spam report rates very seriously — it's the primary way they get feedback from their customers (your recipients) on whether or not someone sends unwanted mail. If you consistently get high spam report rates, the inbox provider will either blocklist the IP you're sending on or filter your emails to the spam folder. In both cases, fewer people will see your emails and your open rates (and revenue) will suffer.

What can you do to reduce spam complaints?

  • Send to subscribed recipients. If you're not, build an engaged segment to ensure that you're sending mail to people who want it.

  • Include at least one unsubscribe link in your email and make them easy to find. Add an unsubscribe tag into the header and footer of each email.

  • Turn on double opt-in.

  • Make sure your email doesn't contain graphic or explicit content.

  • Make sure your subject line aligns with the email content. When people feel deceived, they are more likely to mark it as spam.

  • limiting the amount of emails you send to your subscribers. Most spam reports are from recipients getting too many emails, or getting emails they didn’t expect to receive.

What to do if you’ve ended up in SPAM folders?

  1. If you have low Open Rates -

    1. Every message that goes unopened is hurting your reputation to a small degree. Low open and engagement rates can lead to email providers blocking your emails or filtering your messages to the spam folder. This can be a signal that you’re:

      1. sending too frequently

      2. sending to unengaged recipients or not practicing proper list maintenance

      3. have subject lines that are not relevant or compelling for your subscribers

  2. If you have low Click Through Rates -

    1. The goal of every eCommerce email campaign is to increase revenue for the store. Getting subscribers to click on email content and go back to your store is vital for success. This can signal that your emails:

      1. lack compelling content

      2. are not personalized to the recipient

      3. do not have a call to action enticing a recipient to click on the email

  3. Request subscribers to add your From Name to their contact list -

    1. If you have specific subscribers who are not receiving your emails, request that the subscriber marks your business From Email Address as a safe sender in their inbox and add that email to their contacts. From Name example:

  4. Clean Your List by "Sunsetting" Inactive Contacts -

    1. It is highly recommended to remove any contacts who do not open or click on your emails after you have been sending on a regular basis, as these contacts hurt your sending reputation and have a negative impact on your overall deliverability.

      1. To remove inactive/unengaged subscribers, head to Audience > Lists.

      2. Here you will see all of the Email Lists in your account. Click the name of the list you wish to export. Then click the Export List button. This will download the entire Email List to a CSV file on your computer.

      3. After downloading the CSV file, sort the data in the CSV file by the Status column to see all only your Unengaged Contacts.

      4. Next, you'll want to create a new file made up of only these contacts and then sort that new list by Last Opened. You will want to create a new file of those that they have never opened or have not opened in the last 6 months.

      5. This is the list you will upload into Springbot in your Unsubscribe List.

  5. Sender Authentication -

    1. With Springbot as your Email Service Provider, we want to make sure that you're always able to safely send emails. This process will act as a safety net for your account, so that when you send your emails to customers, their email providers (ex - Gmail) will allow your emails to safely pass through. This change has a huge positive impact on your reputation as a sender and your email deliverability. Email service providers distrust messages that don't have domain authentication set up because they can not be sure that the message comes from you.

    2. Our team is happy to help with this process, just email us at to get started.

    3. * We only recommend this for those emailing over 100,000 emails a month as that is typically when you enter into a different bucket of types of domains the providers look out for.

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