Why is the perception of your subscribers important for your deliverability?

In this article, I'm going to deal with an important subject that will have a very strong impact on an advertiser's reputation. I will talk about the perception of e-mails by your subscribers!

We are now in an era where ISPs/Webmails will incorporate user behaviors into their reputation system. These behaviors, whether positive or negative, will have a direct impact on the good or bad delivery of emails from each advertiser.

We will not hide it but the more an e-mail will be well perceived by a user, the more it will generate positive behaviors. On the other hand, if the e-mail received is perceived as intrusive, it will generate negative behaviors and therefore impact the advertiser's reputation.

But what is positive vs. negative behavior??

Before getting to the heart of the matter, we will first determine the positive and negative behaviors that a user can have on an advertiser's e-mails:

  1. Positive behaviors
    • Remove an email from the SPAM box to the inbox (or flag it as "legitimate mail")
    • Open an e-mail
    • Click in an e-mail
    • Unsubscribe (rather than clicking on "This is spam")
    • Move the email to a webmail folder
    • Reply (politely if possible) to an e-mail
    • Add the sender to the address book
    • Forward an e-mail
  2. Negative behaviors
    • Delete an e-mail without opening it
    • Click on the "This is Spam" button in the mailbox
    • Move the email from the inbox to the SPAM box
    • Unsubscribe (either through the unsubscribe link or the List-Unsubscribe)

Each user's action will ultimately either improve or deteriorate your reputation. However, be aware that each ISP/Webmail will limit the analysis of their users' behavior: French ISPs will look more closely at the actions taken on the "Spam" & "Non-Spam" buttons, while US Webmails will look in detail at the actions taken by users.

In the end, all these behaviors are linked to a single phenomenon: user perception! We can now get to the heart of the matter 

How a user perceives each email!?!

The different types of e-mails that can be received by a user // Philippe Antuoro (SFR)

This graph shows the different perceptions that a user may have of the e-mails he receives. His perception, whether on one side or the other, will be more or less strong depending on the types of e-mails he receives:

The "positive" perception of subscribers

Positive perception of email subscribers

Negative" subscriber perceptions

Negative perception of email subscribers

So, it is better for you and your reputation, that your e-mails are well perceived by the users or else you will see a lot of negative behaviors and you will see spamming (in the best case) or worse, ISP/Webmails blocking!

What's going on in my mailbox?

I will take as an example my personal e-mail box with 10 e-mails that I will classify according to the perception I have of them...

Subscribers' perception of an object
  • Personal e-mail: 0
  • Service e-mail: 0
  • Solicitation optin and desired: 3
  • Optin solicitation no longer desired: 6
  • Finally, non-optin and irrelevant solicitation: 0
  • Spam, Phishing, ... : 1

Among these 10 e-mails, there is only one sender whose origin is totally unknown to me (digitalantennatv.com), my perception of this sender being very bad and judging it very "intrusive" in my inbox, I wouldn't bother to open the e-mail to find out more but I would mark it as "SPAM" via the Yahoo! button (Sorry for him ).

As for the other e-mails, only 2 will cause me to open them because the object made me want to know more: Micromania and Nature & Découvertes.

This analysis shows that subscriber perception takes place in a matter of seconds and is based primarily on two elements:

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  • The sender's label: The first triggering element, which now replaces the sender's address.
  • The object: Second triggering element that will encourage the user's interest to go further (or not :p).

It is the combination of these two elements that will initially push each user to have a positive or negative behavior towards an e-mail (either he clicks to open the e-mail, or he clicks on SPAM, or he deletes it without opening it).

An important indicator to monitor... The dissatisfaction rate!!!

I had already done a few years ago a great article on the dissatisfaction rate. Marion & Jonathan have also released a few days ago a White Paper on Statistical Analysis... Don't hesitate to consult them!

In a few words, it is a rate that you will have to calculate yourself (unless your router provides a graph representing the hot/cold zones of your clicks) and which will allow you to see how your e-mail is perceived by your target. The lower the rate, the better your e-mail will be perceived and conversely, the higher the rate, the greater the risk that your reputation will be negatively impacted and you will no longer reach the inbox!

If you detect a strong dissatisfaction, you can immediately react on your next e-mail by modifying the content or by refining the targeting, thus limiting the impact it could have on the reputation of your IPs or your domains.

How can you improve subscribers' perception of your e-mails??? Here are my 5 top tips!!!

#1 Tip: Your targeting... You will optimize!

Not every offer is going to work for everyone. The more you refine your targeting, the more you will also avoid the impacts (short and long term) on your reputation and on the perception your users will have of your emails and your brand.

#2 Tip: Your sender's wording... You will embellish!

The more clearly your sender label (and your sender address) can be identified by the user, the more likely you are - at least initially - to limit the risk of a misperception.

Clearly identifiable Disney + email. In addition, the unsubscribe link (via List-Unsubscribe) shows that the advertiser has a good reputation at Gmail!

Tip #3: Your object... You will pamper!

Having an impactful object that will blow users away is the key to an opening. Using the pre-header to reinforce the item is also a quick way to get the opening, so don't overlook it!

Baby Yoda... I open... I click... This email was long overdue in my inbox!

#4 Tip: Your content... You personalize!

Having an e-mail with personalized content is life! Offering the right offer to the right person is a golden rule in e-mail marketing (and in deliverability). The more personal the user perceives your e-mail to be, the more likely it is that they will give you positive feedback that is essential to your reputation.

#5 Tip: Your stats... You'll check them!

Analyzing statistics is the BASIC: open rates, click rates, bounce rates by destination without forgetting the dissatisfaction rate which will allow you to see how your e-mail is perceived by your users!

I conclude ?!?

I hope this article will help you to see more clearly the perception that a user can have on the emails he receives. Feel free to reproduce the exercise on your personal BAL, it is also very instructive to be on the other side of the mirror.

Feel free to like, comment and share this article! Any comment is welcome. I also invite you to have a look at our other articles:

You don't know us? You need help? Badsender is a team of craftsmen specialists in the various disciplines surrounding email marketing. Our emailing agency intervenes on issues of strategy, design, orchestration and deliverability. We offer this expertise in the form of coachingWe can also provide services such as audits or interventions as an outsourced production force. Discover our coaching offers.

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One Response

  1. A good, detailed article that explained well the notion of "user perception". Personally I will take the quoted advice in my next campaigns.

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