Advertising Strategies and Lessons


Understanding & Overcoming Top Email Inboxing Challenges

April 13, 2021 Digital Media Solutions

For most brands and retailers, robust email marketing campaigns are integral to success. Email strategies offer benefits up and down the funnel, creating brand awareness, driving traffic and encouraging conversions. However, a recent study by Webbula, Email Hygiene And Verification Trends And Benchmarks, found that email inboxing issues are an ongoing problem for brands.

Email Inboxing Challenges Include Spam Traps And Disposable Domains 

Email marketing has long been one of the most effective tools for advertisers trying to reach consumers. And, throughout 2020, email became an even more useful engagement strategy as consumers spent more time online during the pandemic. Despite email’s proven effectiveness, the recent study from Webbula notes that difficulties with inboxing persist, particularly in 2020 when more email than ever was being sent and opened. “Email send volumes grew 7%, while open rates increased by 13% YOY in 2020,” noted Webbula in the study.


What Webbula calls “hygiene and validation threats” ranged from reputation difficulties, including “blacklisting emails, spam traps and honeypots,”  to delivery issues, including “improperly formatted email addresses, disposable domains and duplicates.” (See graphic.) 

Marketers Should Take Action To Avoid Email Inboxing Challenges

While it may make sense to purge “bad” addresses, Webbula urges brands to be cautious. “Some in the email industry recommend removing all unresponsive email addresses [attributed to things like blacklisting and spam traps] from your list – but that could mean losing 30% or more of your subscriber base,” notes Webbula. Unless open rates have precipitously declined, and the overall list needs to be scrubbed, the benefit of “billboarding” – using subject lines to pique consumer curiosity and drive visits to websites or brick-and-mortar locations – may outweigh the increased open rates of streamlined email send lists. Regular maintenance of email lists can eliminate truly ineffective email addresses (those that bounce, for example) while not impacting database volume drastically. Additionally, email marketers can deploy certain content and technology strategies that make the most of their email campaigns and targeting opportunities, including:

  1. Creating relevant content reflected in subject lines, including promotions, deals, timely offers and breaking news, increasing interaction and improving deliverability.
  2. Making sure brand reputation is top shelf, with clean IP addresses that keep email moving past spam filters and blacklists.
  3. Prioritizing emails that do not come from anonymous sources or unfamiliar domain names.
  4. Following all CAN-SPAM guidelines, including the presence of unsubscribe buttons.
  5. Creating email groups for targeted, personalized strategies, increasing open rates by enhancing relevance.
  6. Utilizing double opt-in processes to avoid bad actors and junk email addresses as email lists are expanded. 
  7. Optimizing email strategies when bounce rates are up and click through rates (CTRs) are down.

Building Healthy Subscriber Lists Is Essential To Mitigate Email Inboxing Issues

Regular maintenance of subscriber lists continues to be essential in 2021, and email subscriber acquisition is an extraordinarily scalable and cost effective way to keep subscriber lists growing while inactive subscribers are filtered out. Advertisers who leverage DMS for email subscriber acquisition are connected with high-intent subscribers who opted in to receive communications.

Email subscriber acquisition helps marketers:

  • Build email lists or customer loyalty programs with real-time, verified, first-party consumer data
  • Continually grow email lists with opted-in hand-raisers to maintain freshness
  • Support ongoing cross-channel branding, messaging or customer acquisition campaigns

Unlike buying or renting a list, email subscriber acquisition reaches consumers who have opted in and are expressly interested in hearing from a specific brand.

Are You Looking To Scale Your Email Subscriber Base So You Can Reach Your Audience Throughout The Year? 

Email subscriber acquisition from DMS uses a performance-based pricing model to connect advertisers with net-new subscribers. Engaged audiences are targeted by demographic, geographic and behavioral attributes with custom, dynamic qualification questions used to further qualify consumer interest. Contact Digital Media Solutions® (DMS) to learn more.

Contact DMS

About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Digital Media Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: DMS) is a leading provider of technology and digital performance marketing solutions leveraging innovative, performance-driven brand and marketplace solutions to connect consumers and advertisers. DMS proprietary technology solutions, significant proprietary media distribution and data-driven processes help large brands steadily acquire more customers. For more information visit

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