How To Manage Email Deliverability during COVID-19

Published On: April 21, 2020

ISPs (ie. Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail) have not made material changes to their policies during COVID-19. Thus all previous recommendations on how to maintain a heathy customer email list and strong deliverability remain, even if you desire to reach more people, more often during this time. We compiled recommendations below with COVID-19 in mind, for easy reference:

  1. Most Fishbowl clients send their messages from a shared IP address on Fishbowl’s domain (.fbmta). This is favorable for brands who may have stopped messaging due to store closures, as they benefit from the continuous flow of other brands email traffic on the IP. No IP warming is needed when you decide to start messaging again. This is one of many unique benefits the Fishbowl email platform provides to help clients maximize their deliverability.
  2. It may be tempting to start messaging members previously scrubbed, moved to an inactive list, or bounced out. Messaging to unengaged members can lead to negative consequences with ISPs. Good database hygiene practices (such as maintaining an engaged database and using healthy list building techniques) are essential to avoiding spam traps and keeping bounce rates low—key drivers in maintaining deliverability.
  3. Many clients have increased their message frequency. Partner with your Account Manager or Marketing Specialist to determine the impact of this increase both in terms of deliverability and email engagement. Higher message frequency can be supported if you mail relevant content to engaged members.
  4. Increased frequency can lead to deliverability issues – members may be less likely to open a message and more likely to flag emails as spam. Maintain these best practices to minimize risk:
    • Effective emails should achieve minimum 12% open rate, ideally 15% or more (calculation of ‘open rate’ is described at the end).
    • If an email has lower than 12% open rate, the next message should be more focused and sent to a more engaged audience, in order to increase open rates.
    • Email content should avoid spam trigger words or phrases – “Free”, “Don’t miss this!”, “This is not spam!”, “$” etc. or writing in ALL CAPS.
    • Live text is important in email design since ISPs interpret images as blank space – at minimum, provide text related to your images so ISPs can pick that up. Live text can also be used in pre-header, banner or restriction copy.

Calculation: Open Rate (%)

  1. Count of people who opened your email, divided by the count of people who were delivered your email.
  2. Unique opens are the count of recipients who opened your email.
  3. Total opens shows the number of times your recipients opened your email. This includes multiple opens by the same recipient.

Calculation: Click-Through Rate (%)

  1. The count of people who clicked a link in your email, divided by the count of those who opened it.


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