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The importance of deliverability analytics during the holiday season

During busy festive seasons, even the most efficient marketers can expect to see significant variations in deliverability results compared to the quieter periods. Overwhelmed with the number of holiday emails, recipients may not engage with content as they usually would. As a result, businesses might witness a further decline in email success, even when sending relevant content to encourage interaction.

So how to avoid those pitfalls and evaluate success of your emails? The answer is email deliverability analytics. Paying close attention to key metrics this holiday season will help your business avoid spam traps and prevent inbox placement issues.

Open rates

With the recent iOS 15 changes, this metric could look very different this year.

Remember, an “open” is just downloading a tracking pixel and never been an accurate metric as it’s not the same as actual human eyes reading emails. Open rates are part of the toolkit, but tracking other metrics such as click-through, replies and purchases are also vital to the success of your email marketing strategy.


Clicks are an essential indicator of how engaged your recipients are and whether emails have landed in the inbox or not. Pay attention to trends in clicks over time, especially if re-mailing to non-openers during the festive period. Clicks coupled with open rates, website traffic, and actual purchase data, can indicate if re-sending emails to contacts who didn’t open the email the first time is actually worth the revenue.

Or else, it will negatively impact your sending reputation and reduce the success of following fresh content sends. Poor reputation is associated with an increase in non-human interaction (NHI, also known as automated clicks), so it could indicate that something is awry with your strategy.

Soft bounces

During the seasonal period, you may notice an increase in soft bounces. A sharp spike is likely to indicate that there’s a problem with the target list, especially if you haven’t sent it to it recently. However, a gentle increase overall could be a sign that the whole email ecosystem is under strain.

Try to observe if the soft bounces are continuous or transient. Check whether a single mailbox provider is affected or multiple domains.

It’s important to note if the soft bounces have affected the engagement (opens, clicks). If the answer is yes, tweak your target contacts and reduce the frequency of reaching out to less engaged or unengaged recipients.


Email is a two-way communication channel, so you should check your emails’ replies. The positive side of responses is that you can see real interaction here.

It’s imperative to keep an eye on replies especially during the festive period, as they’ll be a great indicator if you’re over-sending to your recipients. Failing to check reactions could also mean missing customer questions about products or purchases, leading to lost sales or bad reviews for poor customer service.

List churn via complaints/unsubscribes

If reaching out to your older lists, expect an increase in complaints and unsubscribes. A healthy list interaction will show higher unsubscribe rates than complaints. It is also a great way to see fundamental interactions to learn more about your subscriber’s journey.

If complaints happen at beginning of the lifecycle, the reason is weak data capture or poor expectation settings. If it happens mid-life-cycle, content and frequency play an important role.

Make the unsubscribe journey seamless and ideally implement a custom unsubscribe option offering the user a chance to opt-down and update their preferences. It will allow you to rescue the contact before they unsubscribe by enabling them to re-align the terms of your relationship.

I don’t recommend taking risks with your data ahead of the busy period. However, if you are going to take this opportunity to entice lapsed contacts to engage with your brand, you need to do so strategically and closely evaluating the results of each campaign sent.

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