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We all know that it is not easy to keep track of the latest changes and developments in our fast-changing world. Here are a few important changes in email marketing that happened in the past 2-3 years and which not every email marketer may be aware of.

Open rate

The open rate as the most important KPI for your email marketing is no longer neither accurate nor reliable to measure the success of your email campaign. Due to pre-fetched images, including the tracking pixels, that some mailbox providers apply to display the email campaigns on mobile devices quicker, the open rate was not the KPI anymore for quite some time. Recent developments, such as the iOS15 release contributed to a gradual loss of importance. (Please also read our blog post on Apple Privacy and how it affects your open rate if you would like to have more information on this topic)

Instead of the open rate, click rates, conversions, revenue attributed to email campaigns or website visits and browses can be used as KPIs for your email marketing. 

Blacklist is now Blocklist 

Also, for some time now, the word blacklist is the improper term for a list of contacts that must not receive your emails. This change of terminology was how the email industry responded to anti-discrimination and anti-racism protests around the globe, such as ‘Black lives matter’. The new term to be used is blocklist. 

Whitelist is now Allowlist 

Same as for the blocklist terminology above, also the word whitelist should no longer be part of an email marketer’s vocabulary. Widely used alternatives are allowlist or permission list. Safelist and welcome list describe the same term but are used less often. Some anti-spam organisations may prefer to use welcome list to keep abbreviations people in the industry are familiar with, such as DNSWL (used to be DNS Whitelist, is now DNS Welcome list) 

Custom Return Path (Mail-From) 

Recent developments in the email industry have also shown an increasing importance of using a custom return path. When sending emails through an email service provider (ESP) or through your own infrastructure there are basically 3 options: 

Generic Mail-From address (return path address): You are using a shared default one, provided by your ESP. 

Relaxed domain alignment: You are using a custom return path (individual Mail-From address) but the sending domain doesn’t fully match your return path domain.
Sending domain:
Return path domain:

Strict domain alignment: Your sending domain and your return path domain are entirely the same.
Sending domain:
Return path domain:

You should aim for domain alignment, whether it be strict or relaxed. Both options add value to your deliverability and are recommendable. 

Other important factors to set you up for success

  • Send to contacts that gave their explicit consent 

  • Make your newsletter sign-up process transparent and inform your contacts what kind of content they will receive and why 

  • Refrain from sending to a large number of inactive contacts. Please also have a look at this related SAP article on how to send to your inactive contacts in an appropriate manner

  • Make it easy for your contacts to unsubscribe from your email campaigns if they wish to do so 

  • Ask your subscribers for their preferences on the content they would like to receive and the preferred newsletter frequency

What’s next?

Please leave feedback below and/or hit the “like” button to show this type of content is useful.

You can ask questions and provide suggestions for helpful email deliverability topics in the Q&A area Q&A – SAP Emarsys Email Deliverability.

And if you’d like to find out more SAP Emarsys, you can visit the community page: SAP Emarsys CX.