September 26, 2011, 2:06 PM

One in five e-mail messages never reaches the inbox, report says

Messages sent to U.S. and Canadian inboxes, however, are most likely to be delivered.

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About one in five, or 19%, of e-mails sent to consumers around the world during the first half of 2011 never reached the inboxes of intended recipients, according to a report from Return Path Inc.

The e-mail service provider looked at deliverability statistics from the first six months of the year provided by 149 Internet service providers. Globally, 81% of messages sent during the time period arrived in consumers’ inboxes, as intended. 7% landed in junk or spam folders and 12% never arrived.

Messages sent to North American e-mail addresses had the highest overall inbox deliverability rate among the regions studied, 86.0%, up from 80.1% from the second half of 2009, the last time Return Path issued a similar study. Within North America, U.S. consumers in the first half of 2011 received their e-mail at a slightly higher rate (86.5%) than Canadian consumers (85.2%). The inbox deliverability rate improved for both nations since the second half of 2009, when the U.S. had an 82.4% inbox deliverability rate and Canada a 76.3% rate.   

Following North America in descending order, average inbox delivery rates by region in the first half of 2011 were Europe (83.5%), Asia-Pacific (78%) and Central and Latin America (62%). Within Central and Latin America, the nation with the worst deliverability rate average was Brazil, where 25% of permission-based e-mails land in junk or spam folders and 11% of messages go missing.

The Return Path report says e-mail marketers should pay attention to the inbox placement rate rather than total delivery rate metrics because the total delivery rate doesn’t make a distinction between messages that arrive in the inbox and spam folders.

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