Inbox protection update and email deliverability

Inbox Protection update

Email providers like Gmail, Yahoo!, and Outlook are taking a tougher stance on unwanted emails, or SPAM. They have implemented protection standards against bulk senders focussing on stronger authentication protocols, easy unsubscribe options, and holding senders to a lower spam rate threshold, severely impacting legitimate bulk senders like SmartSurvey. While this protects users from unwanted content, it can also impact legitimate senders like you. Your survey invites might be landing in spam folders or not reaching inboxes at all. 

While SmartSurvey takes care of the technical side of sending emails, there are steps you can take to ensure your surveys reach the right audience and avoid getting flagged as SPAM. Let's dive in and explore how to keep your feedback flowing. 

​How to maintain a clean contact list?

To avoid these issues, it's crucial for you to maintain clean and up-to-date contact lists. Here's how: 

  • Legal Basis: Ensure you have legal permission to contact individuals through SmartSurvey. This protects both you and the recipient. 
  • Regular Cleansing: Re-upload your contact lists regularly, ideally every 3 months. This ensures your lists reflect any changes in your customer base or employees. 
  • Respect Opt-Outs: Always honour opt-out requests promptly, both within SmartSurvey and your other systems. Regularly re-uploading lists helps identify those who have opted out elsewhere. 
  • Explain the Purpose: Even with valid consent, recipients can still mark your emails as SPAM if they find them irrelevant. Clearly state the reason for contacting the recipient in the email itself. For example, explain that you're seeking feedback after their recent purchase. 
  • Set Expectations: If applicable, inform recipients beforehand that they might receive a survey email. This can be done through other emails, posters, or team meetings. 
  • Seek Permission: Whenever possible, ask individuals directly if they'd be willing to receive your survey. This helps identify engaged recipients and reduces the risk of them marking your emails as SPAM. 

​How is SmartSurvey combating these strict measures implemented by the email providers?

  • Technical Safeguards: SmartSurvey implements measures like DKIM and SPF checks to ensure emails are sent legitimately. If you use a "Sending Domain," you need to update the corresponding DNS records with the information we provide that enables us to maintain this check on behalf of your domain. Ensure that it is maintained correctly to avoid disruptions.  
  • Reactive Measures: We've begun automatically enforcing Anti-SPAM policy limits. Exceeding bounce or abuse limits can lead to pausing email sending until corrective actions are taken. We may also block entire address books with poor-quality data. 
  • Focus on Clean Data: SmartSurvey is not designed for long-term contact management. Regularly re-upload clean lists from the original source and remove inactive or unengaged contacts.  ​

What happens if you do not maintain a clean contact list?

The protocols maintained by the Email providers are not standardised and their exact details are not published but the outcome can be as quick and severe as an entire email server being blocked without prior notice. 

When this happens, emails that are queued are stuck and will be returned to us as ‘Bounces’ even if these stuck emails were not the cause of the original problem. While we utilise 8 email servers to handle our large volume of emails, a blockage on just one or two can disrupt our delivery capacity. These blockages can last for days or weeks, sometimes requiring complete server rebuilds, creating a domino effect on our overall bandwidth and sending reputation. 

What are the Anti-SPAM policy limits I need to aware of?

Our Anti-SPAM Policy outlines guidelines to ensure responsible email practices. Here are the points in the policy that are most vital to you. 

  • Legal Basis: Ensure you have a legal basis to contact people. Sending emails based on "legitimate interest" is not permitted. ​
  • Bounce Rate Limit: A 7% bounce rate on survey invitations. You can check email validity through online tools or your internal email system. 
  • Unsubscribe Rate Limit: The unsubscribe rate limit is 1.4%, or 1% if the number of unsubscribes is higher than the click-through rates. 
  • Complaint Rate Limit: The email complaint rate limit is 0.08%, with a maximum of 20 complaints per day. This threshold is much lower as recipients marking an email as SPAM have a far greater effect on our sending reputation than bounces.​

What happens if I breach the Anti-SPAM policy limits?

Repeated violations of these limits may result in the temporary suspension of the email tool on your account. To restore access, our Support Team will need to confirm that you've implemented effective measures to prevent future breaches. 

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