Jun 2024 | Data Quality | Email Validation

Your business no doubt relies on email to look after your customers and promote your products or services. You’re not alone. Multiple industry surveys (such as this one from eMarketer) point to the fact that email remains the go-to marketing channel.

As the number of emails sent globally per day continues to hurtle towards five billion*, email providers and ISPs are rightly increasing the level of security they put in place to protect consumers from spam. Like any industry, as the complexity increases, so does the regulation and required procedures. We’ve written previously about the efforts Google are going to, to protect inboxes.

So, we’ve got out there and done our research. We’ve reviewed the very latest guidance from the leading email providers in order to give you the definitive list of “rules” to follow in order to protect your email list hygiene and ensure maximum deliverability.

Why should you care about email hygiene?

Simply put, a cleaner email list means more of your emails will reach their intended destination. The more emails that arrive safely then the better your service or promotional activities will perform.

Your sender reputation, as measured by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), is used to evaluate your legitimacy as a sender. This helps them decide whether to deliver your emails to recipients’ inboxes, reject them, or filter them into spam folders.

When your reputation is good and you meet the criteria, ISPs are more likely to deliver your emails directly to inboxes. On the other hand, if your reputation is poor, your emails are more likely to be discarded or marked as spam.

Gmail is the most popular email provider with 43%** market share. Over the last 12  months they have been making some big changes, focusing on Inactive Email accounts, and more recently ensuring bulk senders^ authenticate their emails with a focus on ease of unsubscribing. In recent months, Experian has seen a significant jump in the number of Gmail inboxes being flagged as ‘not existing’.

This is why maintaining exemplary list hygiene is so important today.

Email hygiene rules for 2024

We’ve reviewed the very latest guidance from providers like Google and Yahoo, so that you don’t have to. Here’s the definitive list of “rules” to improve email hygiene in 2024:

  1. Enable easy unsubscription – Google and other email providers are watching this much more closely these days. If it’s not ‘one-click’ and super clear and easy for consumers, then they will penalise your deliverability. It’s also worth remembering that no one wins from making the unsubscribe process difficult or complicated.
  2. Authenticate your email addresses – a common way to verify that users really exist is through the process of ‘double opt-in’. This process ensures that only someone with access to the recipient’s inbox can confirm their subscription. Very handy for preventing malicious sign ups.
  3. Produce relevant content – Sounds simple but can potentially be one of the hardest things to get right. If you want to avoid unsubscribes then you must write about things your customers want or need to hear about. Your customers will vote with their feet. If they don’t find your content engaging they won’t read it and they should be removed (see point 5).
  4. Prevent being classed as spam with DKIM – By setting up DKIM you help to protect your emails from being marked as spam. DKIM stands for Domain Keys Identified Mail. Your email provider or marketing automation vendor can help you to set up DKIM.
  5. Remove bounces and inactive accounts – Reviewing your email data can help you maintain an accurate list. Set rules around inactivity (for example, someone not opening your emails for six months or a year) and contact people who have become inactive asking if they are keen to remain subscribed.
  6. Regularly check subscription status – Similarly, to the point above. You should regularly check the subscription status of your email list. This is a transparent way of building trust with your base and showing them you have their interests at heart. If your content is engaging enough then they will want to remain subscribed.
  7. Support validation with technology – This is where Experian can help. We are experts in email validation and verification. We have a range of tools and services to help you maintain email list hygiene.

Get ahead with Email Validation services from Experian

If improving your email list hygiene is a top priority in 2024 then Experian has a number of ways it can help. From real-time validation technology to bulk cleansing services, we have many years experience supporting leading enterprises with their email verification and hygiene.

Here are the different ways you can clean your email data with Experian:

  1. Verify email addresses on the fly with our real-time API
    Our solution improves the quality of your email data by identifying mistyped email addresses as they happen and prompting customers to make the necessary corrections. It’s the ideal solution for web forms and landing pages, Ecommerce shopping carts, web applications, and call centres.
  2. Want to regularly check and cleanse the email addresses in your lists?
    Our cloud-based solution makes self serve email list cleansing easy and available 24×7. Simply upload your email list(s) to our secure FTP and retrieve your results when notified by email. We’ll return your cleansed list(s) with emails that are formatted correctly, ready for an improved delivery rate on your next email campaign.
  3. Not sure if your existing email list is deliverable? We can help.
    Work with Experian’s Professional Services team to validate your email lists on an ad-hoc basis, or at set intervals depending on your needs. So, whether you’ve just added new emails to your database or want to send to an older list, you can rest assured knowing that your message will reach your customers’ or prospects’ inboxes.
Get in touch with the Experian team today to discuss your email verification needs.

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** https://techreport.com/statistics/gmail-statistics/

^ A bulk sender is defined by Gmail as someone who sends more than 5,000 messages to Gmail addresses in one day.