In just one month, Friends Reunited, the original social network with 20.6 million members, boosted its email deliverability from 67.1 per cent in May to 92.5 per cent in June 2010.
In May 2010 the company, which sends around 30 million emails each month, deployed Return Path’s comprehensive suite of email deliverability monitoring tools and services to gain greater insight into the deliverability of its email newsletter, user-activity triggered emails and marketing emails.
One in twenty (5.7 per cent) of Friends Reunited’s emails were ending up in its subscribers’ spam folders and more than a quarter (27 per cent) were going missing – totally undelivered, not in its subscribers’ spam folders or inboxes – a friendly fire casualty of the ISP industry’s war on spam.
Social networks often suffer from poorer email reputations compared to companies in other sectors such as the financial services, media, retail and travel industries. Return Path’s Reputation Data network found email from social networks is marked as spam 100 per cent more often than email from other sectors. High volumes of spam complaints are a huge driver of email deliverability failures, meaning the emails that social network subscribers actually want can be diverted to spam folders or blocked outright at ISP level.
Friends Reunited are using Return Path’s tools to monitor a range of metrics that affect its email reputation, including the percentage of emails it sends that reach the intended recipients’ inbox, fall into spam folders or go missing altogether – blocked from their subscribers at the ISP level.
Friends Reunited’s Chief Technical Officer, Duncan Careless, said: “We deployed Return Path’s monitoring tools as part of our ongoing improvements to Friends Reunited, Genes Reunited and Friends Reunited Dating’s community functions. We want to take care that our members receive the messages that they’ve requested as part of our communities.
“Return Path’s excellent relationships with ISPs gives Friends Reunited a granular insight into our email deliverability to ISPs’ email customers, including the most popular email providers, AOL, Yahoo and Windows Live. Return Path’s campaign preview tools also enable us to make sure the emails we want to send appear correctly in a variety of email browsers. We can identify the characteristics of messages users may complain about, better understand why emails may be marked as spam by recipients and reduce the number of complaints we receive.
“As a social network, the deliverability of email is imperative to staying in touch with our users, growing our subscriber base, but more importantly to keep our users in contact with each other. Return Path’s deliverability monitoring suite enables us to monitor our email reputation, check the creative displays correctly in all of the most popular email browsers, make changes to email creative that might look like spam to ISP filters and identify any problems that may be affecting our deliverability.”
Guy Shelton, Vice President of Sales and Service, Direct at Return Path, the global market leader in email deliverability and reputation services said: “Email reputations change in accordance with companies’ changing their email marketing practice so they need to ensure they keep monitoring their deliverability metrics. Friends Reunited has gained a deeper and more detailed understanding of its email deliverability issues by monitoring their email performance with Return Path’s tools. Our dedicated team of deliverability experts are now working with Friends Reunited to get their mail streams through the Return Path Certification process which will further boost Friends Reunited’s email reputation and get closer to its aim of 100 per cent delivery to email inboxes.”
Founded in 1999, Return Path helps commercial email senders get more email delivered to the inbox. Our tools and services give senders the insight and resources to diagnose and prevent email deliverability and rendering failures by improving and maintaining their email sending reputations. Our Professional Services division then helps our client improve ROI and response by creating consistent and compelling subscriber experiences across the email customer lifecycle. Return Path runs the internet’s most widely used third-party whitelist, the Return Path Certification Program. Return Path also invented the Sender Score, an email reputation measure based on data contributed by ISPs and other receivers of large volume email into the Return Path Reputation Network. We offer free access to our Sender Score to any sender, receiver or consumer of email at our reputation portal senderscore.org. Information about Return Path can be found at returnpath.com.
Friends Reunited is the original social network with 20.6 million members. It was launched in 2000 to put old school friends back in touch with each other and swiftly became a British media phenomenon. Sister site Genes Reunited was launched in 2003 and is currently the UK’s largest family history website with over 9 million members worldwide and 650 million names listed. Together with Friends Reunited Dating, the group attracts three million unique users per month.