As any email industry veteran can tell you, deliverability is equal parts art and science. Yes, there are a number of technical processes or settings that need to be in place in order to achieve high inbox success rates, like getting authentication (DKIM, SPF, DMARC) in place, setting up feedback loops (FBL) with the ISPs that provide them, applying to get on whitelists and so on. There are also a number of operational processes or practices – here’s where the “art” comes in – that have a big impact on deliverability. These include managing traffic shaping rules and parameters based on ISP’s acceptance policies, FBL and bounce management.
Because deliverability is such a complex subject (and many people hold strong convictions on what constitutes best practices) we often encounter confusion or uncertainty when we talk to potential customers about our Adaptive Delivery (AD) capability. Really briefly, A.D. is a module within the Momentum platform that automatically optimizes message delivery settings to reduce bounces and blocks while ensuring fastest speeds and highest throughput. It does this by:
- Auto-tuning delivery and traffic shaping parameters in real-time to avoid blocks and safeguard reputation.
- Proactively slowing, suspending and restarting / ramping-up delivery to avoid problems and optimize sends.
- Warming up new IP address to build and maintain a strong sending reputation.
- Shaping outbound traffic according to rules issued by ISPs worldwide – and continually updating the system as rules change.
This last point regarding ISP rules and continual updates is something that sets A.D. and Momentum completely apart from other messaging solutions. The way email delivery over the Internet works, each ISP has wide latitude to set their own inbound handling rules, practices and rate limits. For instance, the number of concurrent connections they’ll allow, messages per hour/per domain, and so forth. Many ISPs will have rate limits that vary based on time of day. They’ll also impose different amplitude, frequency and volume limits when you’re sending mail from a new IP address, limits that are completely different from the ones for existing IP addresses.
Some ISPs publish their rules to help guide senders into optimal sending practices. Others don’t publish rule sets at all. Some change their rules frequently, others seldom do. Given there are more than 12,000 ISPs worldwide (about 7,000 in the U.S. alone) and millions of IP domains, it’s impossible for senders to a) keep track of rules worldwide, and b) continually tweak/update their sending infrastructure to reflect constant changes. So that’s where A.D. and the Message Systems Live Rules Update service comes in.
Meet the Message Systems Deliverability Team
A.D. was very much designed to help senders navigate a deliverability landscape that’s in a constant state of flux. A key element within A.D. is its Live Rules Update service. Whenever an ISP issues a rules change, that data is collected and passed along to the Message Systems user base. New system rules are continually refreshed, automatically downloaded and installed to optimize A.D. and the Momentum platform.
When A.D. debuted in 2011, the system included rules for all the world’s major ISPs that account for the vast majority of global email traffic. Yet many senders using the Momentum platform send a significant portion of their messages to receivers in markets such as South America, Australia or remoter parts of Eastern Europe where much traffic is handled by smaller ISPs. For that reason, the Message Systems deliverability team has worked methodically to bring virtually all the world’s major ISPs (and many minor ones as well) into the Live Rule Updates network. That effort has progressed to the point where we’ve reached approximately 90% ISP domain coverage in North America, South America, Europe, APAC and Australia. In the weeks ahead, we’re going to provide a running tally of the ISPs and new geographies we’ve brought online and continue to bring online. Keep an eye on the Message Systems Twitter feed for the latest updates. Or download our brochure on Adaptive Delivery!
In this whitepaper, email expert Len Shneyder introduces Message Systems Adaptive Delivery – The first solution of its kind specifically designed to automate the monitoring of bounces and complaints, and adjust connection rates and throughput accordingly.