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Return Path’s AI-Powered SmartSeeds Take Email Deliverability Monitoring to a New Level

This new source of deliverability data uses advanced analytics and machine learning to mimic how real users interact with their inbox.

NEW YORK, March 26, 2019 — Global data solutions provider Return Path today announced the launch of SmartSeeds, an innovative new addition to its industry-leading deliverability data platform. Powered by advanced analytics and machine learning, SmartSeeds work together with Return Path’s existing sources of deliverability data—Consumer Network and CoreSeeds—to provide marketers with unparalleled visibility into their email deliverability. Unlike traditional seed accounts, SmartSeeds go beyond simple placement and filtering data to provide insights into subscriber engagement and engagement based filtering.

Traditional seed accounts—like Return Path’s CoreSeeds—are essentially test accounts that allow marketers to gather valuable insights and identify deliverability issues at various mailbox providers. SmartSeeds take this concept to the next level with artificially intelligent personas that mimic the behaviors of real-life users. Based on historical data combined with advanced analytics, these personas each interact with email in different ways, choosing which emails to open and which to leave unread, replicating the engagement patterns of real email recipients. SmartSeeds allow marketers to monitor individual campaign performance, including engagement-based inbox placement and Gmail category assignment, providing a more complete picture over overall deliverability.

“We’ve always maintained that no single source of data can tell you everything you need to know about email deliverability. SmartSeeds are the perfect complement to our existing sources of deliverability data,” said Scott Ziegler, senior vice president of product management at Return Path. “Return Path pioneered the use of seed-based deliverability monitoring, which gives marketers visibility into where their email is being delivered. Over time, we developed our Consumer Network, the industry’s first and largest network of active consumer inboxes, to monitor both email deliverability and engagement. Today, with the introduction of SmartSeeds, we’re able to offer our customers the best of both worlds: AI-powered personas that interact with email like real subscribers, to provide a complete view of email deliverability.”

Engagement-based insights are crucial to understanding and maximizing email deliverability. However, recent policy changes at Google have limited access to Gmail data, making it more difficult for all marketers to accurately assess their deliverability at this critical mailbox provider, regardless of the tools they use. Since these changes were announced in October, Return Path has ramped up the development of SmartSeeds—an idea that dates back to early 2018—in order to replace this important data source.

“Google is one of the most important mailbox providers for our customers, as Gmail users consistently represent a majority of their email lists,” continued Ziegler. “While we’ve been working on the SmartSeeds concept for some time, the decrease in access to Google data inspired us to accelerate the development of this AI-powered data source.”

Existing Return Path customers will have access to SmartSeeds, which are currently set up to provide deliverability and engagement insights at Google. Return Path has leveraged its relationship with Google to ensure that SmartSeeds align with their new data policy. In future iterations, SmartSeeds will be expanded to include data from other major mailbox providers.

“Our partnership with Return Path gives us the ability to dive deeper into our client’s email deliverability,” said Return Path customer Matthew Hill, senior postmaster for Canada at OpenText. “We find particular value in their Consumer Network, SmartSeeds, and CoreSeeds data and the information it provides on how our customers’ emails are performing. Their constant innovation despite the ever changing email ecosystem assures us that we will remain on the cutting edge of email, just as they do.”

In addition, Return Path is pleased to introduce a new advancement in reporting to provide customers with a better understanding of their email performance: Directive Reporting. This new offering is delivered through the Return Path service team and offers a more streamlined, intuitive way to access data from the Return Path Platform. Directive Reporting helps marketers uncover the root cause of deliverability and placement issues using data visualizations, benchmarking, and data science modeling, and provides a step-by-step action plan for resolving these issues. Current Return Path customers can take advantage of Directive Reporting through a service engagement.

About Return Path
Return Path analyzes the world’s largest collection of email data to show businesses how to stay connected to their audiences and strengthen their customer engagement. We help mailbox providers around the world deliver great user experiences and build trust in email by ensuring that wanted messages reach the inbox while spam doesn’t. To find out more about Return Path solutions, visit us at or request a demo.