Monitoring engagement is perhaps the best metric for determining the effectiveness of your email deliverability.  As was recently discussed on business2community.com, “engagement is a metric used to determine which customers are interacting with your emails and in what ways, such as opening and clicking.”  In fact, B2C even identifies engagement as the “Number One key to optimal email delivery.”

The question now is how exactly email engagement does effect deliverability.  Many internet service providers (ISPs) are building on their delivery-reporting algorithms in order to better help email and content marketers when it comes to understanding how their emails are being received.  Understanding the basic types of email engagement will better help you to monitor which emails are/are not seeing the light of day on your recipient’s screens and which emails are leading recipients to accept your call-to-action.

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In descending order of what makes for optimal deliverability, here are the three basic responses for measuring email engagement:

Opened & Clicked

As far as metrics associated purely with optimal email deliverability go, opening and clicking the call-to-action link within the email is the highest level of engagement.  This response is most commonly achieved through engaging content and creating value for your recipients.  Because ISPs track and take note of engagement, this type of engagement helps to drive inbox placement for a more recurring ROI.

Opened, but Didn’t Click

Deliverability in this category can be qualified as a medium level of engagement.  Email recipients reacting by opening their email but not clicking onward might be marginally interested in the content, but the email is lacking a strong-enough value proposition or noteworthy call-to-action.  Finding a lot of your engagement falling into this category?  Try focusing more on “what’s in it for them” to avoid falling into the lowest category.

Didn’t Open

Having recipients immediately deleting your emails without ever opening/reading them is the lowest level of email engagement and, thus, deliverability.  Recipients eliciting this response are unengaged or categorically disinterested.  Having most of your emails fall into this level of engagement could imply that your messages aren’t interesting or offer little-to-no value.  You may also be sending emails to too many leads that have simply gone cold.

Having a large database of email addresses for which every email is sent to is of very low value to an organization.  When recipients don’t engage with your emails, it lowers your deliverability.  As ISPs pick up on this (and they will), it lowers your ROI, compromises your sender reputation, or worse—places your emails in the spam folder.


Jonathon Mahon is a content marketer, writer and designer based in Boston. He writes for various digital publications and blogs specializing in the cloudemail automation, software, and technology.​