Press release

For Highly Reputable Senders, 91 Percent of Emails Reach Their Intended Audience—Compared to 70 Percent or Less for All Other Senders

Sponsored by Businesswire

Email data solutions provider Return Path today released its 2019
Sender Score Benchmark
. Using comprehensive data from Sender
and Return Path’s Reputation Network, this annual report
provides expert analysis and insights on how reputation impacts inbox
placement for commercial email senders.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

Chart detailing average complaint rate by sender score brand: 2018 and 2017 (Graphic: Business Wire)

Chart detailing average complaint rate by sender score brand: 2018 and 2017 (Graphic: Business Wire)

Based on analysis of more than 4 trillion email messages, The 2019
Sender Score Benchmark
reveals that highly reputable email marketers
are far more likely to reach their intended audience than peers with
lower reputation scores. For example, senders scoring 91-100 (the best
possible reputation score) had 91 percent of their messages delivered.
This figure drops to 71 percent for senders scoring 81-90, and 44
percent for senders scoring 71-80.

“Email remains the marketer’s go-to channel. But if email doesn’t reach
the inbox, brands lose the opportunity to connect with customers and
ultimately make a sale—so every message counts,” said Tom Sather, senior
director of research at Return Path. “Since the initial Sender Score
Benchmark Report
in 2012, our research has consistently shown a
clear link between reputation and deliverability. That’s why monitoring
your reputation and maintaining it at the highest level possible is
critical to email marketing success.”

Spam complaints are one important factor used by mailbox providers in
determining which messages are unwanted and should be filtered to the
junk folder. Not surprisingly, there is also a strong correlation
between spam complaints and sender reputation. While year-over-year spam
complaints were higher across the board, senders scoring 91-100 had an
average complaint rate of just 0.9 percent. For senders scoring 81-90,
this metric jumped to 4.7 percent—more than five times higher than the
best senders.

“Mailbox providers face competition just like any other business, so
they are constantly improving their filtering algorithms to create a
better inbox experience for their users,” continued Sather. “Sender
reputation offers unique insight into the source of each email, making
it a key factor in those filtering decisions.”

The overall quality of email has increased dramatically since Return
Path’s first Sender Score Benchmark Report. In 2012, that report
found that 60 percent of all email was sent by the least reputable
senders—those with a Sender Score of 10 or less—while the best senders
accounted for just six percent of total volume. Today, 42 percent of
email comes from top senders, while email from the least reputable
senders is down to just 16 percent. This shift can be attributed to the
evolution of filtering technology and an increased focus on sender
reputation at the mailbox provider level, all of which has made it more
difficult—and far less profitable—for spammers to deliver their messages.

Return Path’s complete 2019 Sender Score Benchmark Report can be
viewed here.


Return Path’s 2019 Sender Score Benchmark Report analyzed more
than 4 trillion messages sent during 2018 from IP addresses whose Sender
Score was calculated, and whose subscriber engagement and inbox
placement data were available for analysis. In addition to Sender Score
data, the report used data from the Return Path Reputation Network to
track inbox placement rates across mailbox providers, and data from the
Return Path Consumer Network to identify Sender Score and inbox
placement rates of more than 17,000 commercial senders. Data used for
this report is aggregated and anonymized, and is not limited to Return
Path clients. Sender Score is a free reputation calculation service and
is available at

About Return Path

Return Path analyzes the world’s largest collection of email data to
show businesses how to stay connected to their audiences and strengthen
their customer engagement. We help mailbox providers around the world
deliver great user experiences and build trust in email by ensuring that
wanted messages reach the inbox while spam doesn’t. To find out more
about Return Path solutions, visit us at
or request
a demo