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Email terminology & actions

Discussion in 'General' started by John Borst on Oct 5, 2018.

  1. John Borst

    By:John BorstOct 5, 2018
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    I have been monitoring the email delivery for the DG's October issue. I notice the use of two terms, regarding which I did a search. They are "Dropped" and "Bounced". What I found was a discussion on the difference between a soft bounce and hard bounce.

    Excerpts in italics are from the reference I used:

    The RFC code and reason for the bounce according to the RFC, hard bounces are depicted by a 5XX code and soft bounces by a 4XX code.

    Both Bounced and Dropped have 550 codes implying both are hard bounces. Is this correct?

    A soft bounce means that the email address was valid and the email message reached the recipient’s mail server. However, it bounced back because:
    • The mailbox was full (the user is over their quota)
    • The server was down
    • The message was too large for the recipient’s inbox
    A hard bounce occurs when the message has been permanently rejected either because:
    • The email address is invalid
    • The email addresses doesn’t exist
    When you click on your bounced and dropped list you get one list with an explanation and recommended action. Does this amount to just one suppression list? In most cases the action is to remove the e-mail. I gather this is something we should do to maintain e-mail "hygiene" . Is that correct?

    The result is I am still not sure of the difference in meaning you attach to dropped and bounced.

    It is now 24 hr since I did the e-mail send-out. There are still 12 items in the queue. How many hours do e-mails with I assume valid addresses remained queued before they are placed in the soft bounced list?

    Finally, I am looking at the list to get some ideal of the rate at which members open their notices.
    Here is what I found:
    after one hour - 10%
    after five hours - 25%
    after 12 hours - 30%
    after 24 hours - 36%
    As you can see the number opened per hour decreases with hours after being sent. I have already found that after 4 days there is no growth. With three newsletters the rates of opening have been ju45%, au54% se44%.
     
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  2. Anita Graham

    By:Anita GrahamOct 6, 2018
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    Hmm, sounds like your list could do with pruning. If you have email addresses which are "hard bounces" you could easily get rid of them (or archive them.)
    People change jobs, forget old addresses and move on. It will make a difference to you - when you don't have to filter out people who never-ever get the email you have sent.

    Soft bounces? I don't know. I guess if they are still soft-bouncing after a month, or after three newsletters or however you set your criteria, then they should be removed/archived.

    Read rate: I am not up on any recently discovered methods to know if someone has read their mail or not. By default I don't download images in my emails unless I click a button (and I don't do that for most emails). So, if your sender relies on me fetching an image to see if my mail has been opened, then I am eluding them. Perhaps there are other ways but I will probably try to block them if I can. (I certainly don't send a read receipt. (Must check).)
    I expect that within 24 hours most recipients would have either read/deleted an email, so your stats look correct.

    What is your goal?
     
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  3. John Borst

    By:John BorstOct 6, 2018
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    Anita, my goal is to get the "open" email rate for the DG's Newsletter to 60% of the sent number. Hence the more accurate the data the more likely are my chances of reaching that threshold.

    Also just because an item has been opened does not mean it has been read. Using my method of designing the newsletter where the stories are separate from the newsletter itself then I actually can monitor using Google Analytics and Statscounter the number of times an article has been opened and very likely read.

    My goal as a web-editor (I do not consider myself a webmaster because I can't code.) is to grow a site. My expertise is in content management and growing a reader/viewership. That requires analyzing what type of articles garner the most views and increasing the number of topics in that area. It also requires building a large number of posts and a larger number of return visitors. This is extremely hard at the club level to do. It is also something we never ever discuss. It takes a long time and search helps. That is why tags and SEO are so important. Few Rotary club or district websites appear to consider such issues.

    My club is reasonably large (63 members) in a small isolated community of 8000 in an area the size of France with a regional population of about 250,000. So how do I grow the site. For the first 5 years I averaged about 5000 views per year. For the past two years I have doubled that. About 50% of views come from the local catchment area. The rest from outside the area, with the majority from within my country followed by the USA. But I am way off topic, but it does give you some idea of the thinking I bring to producing a newsletter.

    I do not read newsletters that are long and in my opinion most Rotary club and district newsletters are way too long. The exception is from the RI gang itself. ClubRunner's newsletters are also good examples. We would all do well to emulate them. When I get a newsletter the first thing I do is skim the topics. If it is in PDF format and I can't easily do that I skip it and read nothing. It shouldn't take more than 2 seconds to skim. Hopefully one item catches the viewer's attention, and clicks on it to learn more.

    Producing a newsletter takes a lot of time and effort often for many people; if viewership is less than what 20%, 30%, 40%, 50% why bother? I have no idea what the threshold is for professional newsletter producers. Do you?
     
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  4. Mark WILLIAMS

    By:Mark WILLIAMSOct 7, 2018
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    I believe this is good open rate. My bulletins approximately the same, but because the open rate counter requires a 1x1 pixel image to be downloaded, that represents a large undercount. Some people go immediately to the web version of the bulletin, some have email clients that block tracking images, etc. Your actual real open rate might even be double what you are seeing. I get many responses to the content of my bulletins from people who, according to the stats, did not open the email.

     
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  5. Les Walsh

    By:Les WalshOct 7, 2018
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    My
    My open rate is similar for the club's bulletin and yes it increases marginally over a few weeks BUT I have confirmed that ALL members receive and probably open the bulletin.
     
  6. Les Walsh

    By:Les WalshOct 7, 2018
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    In my former role as a District webmaster/editor, I managed the hard bounces by referring back to the clubs for them to obtain a new address/check the problem. For some reason, members don't always keep their profile up to date, don't tell their club secretary, and sometimes the club secretary doesn't think to update the email address!
     
  7. John Borst

    By:John BorstOct 7, 2018
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    Thanks Mark.
    Why would "some have email clients that block tracking images"? Can you explain the term "tracking image" please?
    Also is there anyway one can find how many individuals go directly to the on-line version. Is this tracked by any analytics program?
    John
     
  8. Anita Graham

    By:Anita GrahamOct 18, 2018
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    A tracking image is a tiny (1px) image included in an email. You would not notice it in your email. However because the image has to be fetched by a separate request - which can have extra information attached to it - it can be used to track who has opened the email.

    People (like me) choose not to download any images with our email because
    1. we were receiving unsolicited email with porno images and prefer to delete it without seeing the pix, and
    2. We don't want to be tracked by anyone.
    I am sorry to say that some spammers are now including inline encoded images in the emails, and as they are not attachments I am seeing the images. Luckily nothing too bad yet. But I might need to use another filter to remove them.
     
  9. Mark WILLIAMS

    By:Mark WILLIAMSOct 27, 2018
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    John,

    sorry for the delay in reply. Your query prompted me to see if I could find clients that specifically blocked tracking images even if the user allowed images to be downloaded this involved sending some test emails to be opened in different clients on different platforms and then something else came up and I didn't reply. The upshot is that I couldn't find any clients that were sophisticated enough to allow real images but block the 1x1 tracking image, although my testing was not exhaustive. That would mean the answer above is correct and complete. :)

    As for working out how many individuals go directly to the web version, it is not traced by Google analytics because the website link in the bulletin email goes to portal.clubrunner.ca and not to your club's website domain. So there is no way to track it. I do see a spike in web page activity when I send out a bulletin, but that could equally come from people clicking on links in their email. These do initially go to portal.clubrunner.ca but get redirected to brisbanerotary.org.au and do get tracked by google analytics.

    --mark
     
  10. David H.

    By:David H.Nov 15, 2018
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    This thread is very good. Great information inside of it. I just want to thank you all for contributing.

    Just as a FYI if other people are reading this thread. If a member's or non-member's email bounces or drops an email sent to them, I recommend looking at the reason why it bounced or dropped first. Most cases it is due to an old email address. If that is the case I recommend contacting the person and ask the person to update their email address or update it for them. If the issue is something different, then I would reach out the person and tell them the issue. It could be a work email address and their mail server is rejecting the email due to their spam filters. Once the email gets corrected you can remove the email from the "Blocked Email List". To learn more about the blocked email list, please click on the following link: https://www.clubrunnersupport.com/article/1316-how-do-i-remove-emails-from-the-blocked-email-list

    Most emails sent from ClubRunner go out within a few seconds. It is very rare when an email takes longer than a minute to send out. The reason why you may see the email's stats display the email in queue or not sent yet, is due to ClubRunner updating the status. When an email is sent, we pass it to our email server. The email server then sends the status back to ClubRunner for each process the email goes through until the recipient receives it. At times it does take a while for the email sever to pass the status back to ClubRunner. This is why, at times you will have received an email within a few seconds and in ClubRunner it still says in queue for several minutes or more. If you find any issues with the email status please let us know.
     
  11. John Borst

    By:John BorstNov 15, 2018
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    Thanks, David. This is probably a good time to give an update on my follow-up actions. Because I have access to the District website, I used the District site to find the club and member data on each of the bounced and non-delivered emails. Before I did that, however, I tried to send a message to each address using my own address and server. Each came back and most messages told me why. I then went to the page of each Rotarian and deleted the out-of-date nonfunctioning email. After all, they were not receiving anything anyway.

    I also did a mini-survey of my club members who had not opened (the sent) the November Newsletter post after 48 hours. They only had to reply if they had and the data was wrong, in other words, it had been opened. I only got one reply and I am suspicious about that one because his wife is also a Rotarian and he may have seen it through her message because she did open it. My conclusion is the ClubRunner data is quite accurate.

    The November open data is most interesting. The % opened is still only 46% but two things have happened. I was into the 40+% range within the 48 hr. timeframe and at this point the actual number of "opens" numerically is at it highest 645/1407.

    I January I am going to do another experiment. The 1407 includes the honorary members. The Christmas DG Newsletter will go to Members and Honorary Members but in January our focus is going to be the District Conference and it will only go to active members. I want to find out what the per cent will be when only Active members receive the newsletter. I suspect that it will be over 50%.
     
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