Glossary of Email Marketing Deliverability Terms | Revinate

Glossary of Deliverability Terms

Email deliverability can be an intimidating topic, and many who are new to email marketing find it difficult to understand. So what is email deliverability exactly? Put simply, it’s the exchange between two mail systems and understanding the details behind when a message is accepted or failed.

As Revinate’s in-house deliverability expert, I’m here to help you better understand the role deliverability plays in hotel marketing. In this first post, I’m tackling some common keywords you will hear when discussing a hotel’s email marketing performance.


1. ISP (Internet Service Provider): These are the Gmails, AOLs, and Yahoos in the space – a mailbox (Receiver). ISP is a term used when defining an end point for the delivery of mail.


2. Email Authentication: SPF/DKIM/DMARC will all validate you as a sender to the receiving mail system. The available authentications are at the core of what ISPs will review before receiving and filtering a message. Think of each one as a different form of identification, and the ISP is checking all three before accepting your send. Without it, you will be left out of the inbox.


3. Blacklist: A central list of domains or sending IPs that are associated with spammers. Being on a blacklist can affect performance or the ability to deliver mail to your customers. There are many blacklists, but the takeaway is that they point to performance-based issues and poor list quality.


4. Complaint: When an individual marks a message with ‘This is Spam.’ This is one of the most important metrics to track because it is user-generated action. They can be caused by a variety of different reasons. It’s best to think of it as a warning that you’ve done something wrong.


5. Engagement: When a message is opened or clicked. This information is tracked by ISPs to define placement (Spam Folder/Inbox). More engagement often equals higher inbox placement rate. Lower engagement often will lead to an increase in Spam Folder placement rates.


6. Firewall: A layer of protection, during the delivery of a message, between the sender and the receiver. It’s best to think of this as an in-between that all emails must go through. Some look more at content, while others look at IP and Domain reputation. All look at the sender and instantly decide if your messages should be passed along or blocked altogether.


7. Hard Bounce: Unknown Users or Email Addresses that are no longer active. This type of failure is always considered a permanent failure. It is the ISP telling you this user doesn’t exist anymore. It is an industry standard to suppress and remove all Hard Bounces from future sends.


8. Soft Bounce: Temporary failure during the message exchange. These failures are linked to reputation-based issues as the issue is likely for the sender to retry the message at a later time. Not all soft bounces are the same and exploring the message failure logs will help round out the reason for these failed sends.


9. Spam Trap: An address created or reused to track and catch spammers. There are two types of spam traps used today:

  • Recycled, the most common type of spam trap is created by repurposing old and disabled addresses.
  • Pristine, The most serious and most impactful type of trap is created by the ISP/Blacklist Provider to catch spammers. Since a Pristine Trap is created and not repurposed, the level of severity when hitting a Pristine Trap is quite high. This is because Pristine Traps are never promoted or distributed in any way.


10. Unsubscribe: When a user requests removal from future promotional campaigns.


Smarter email marketing

If you are looking for more information on these various topics, please feel free to check out Revinate’s Help Desk or subscribe for future deliverability posts.

If you are not a customer, but you are looking for more information, please feel free to reach out for a demo.