Part 1: What is the objective of Eloqua email deliverability?

Aug 23, 2021

Welcome to my series of articles about Eloqua email deliverability, whilst I reference Eloqua here this is applicable to all email platforms….  Anyhoo, I often get asks questions from clients about this topic so for both their use and yours I have put together this series so you can learn all about email deliverability and I will share with you a load of tools to help you on this topic later in the series.  It is important you read each article so you can get best use of these tools and know when and how to use them.

Greg Staunton

Despite the progress of technology and all the advancements in digital marketing, email remains one of the core channels in a marketer’s arsenal. This is one of the reasons why having Eloqua email deliverability is so important.

Here is a comprehensive guide to getting your emails into inboxes. I have put it together to make help you sure you’re maximizing the inbound opportunities coming from Eloqua email campaigns.


What is the best way to improve Eloqua email deliverability? Think like an ISP

You should approach Eloqua email deliverability the way Internet Service Providers (ISPs) do. In order to do so, you have to understand what ISPs deal with every day.

How many emails are sent globally each day? Can you guess?

There are between 270 and 300 billion emails sent every day — about half of them business-related, and about half are consumer-related.

I want you to think for a minute about that number. And then, think about the fact that it’s a daily number.

How many of those 270 billion emails are spam?

Did you know about half of them are spam? It’s true. Over 100 billion spam emails are sent daily.

ISPs do a great job of handling the never-ending flood of spam. They try to make sure the unwanted emails never reach the spam folder, much less the inbox. As a result, they’ve become heroes to email recipients.

To do their job effectively, they have to be ruthless. Punish bad sending habits. Let’s put ourselves in their shoes. They are dealing with massive volumes of emails from malicious senders. Would we act differently in their situation?

Try to think like an ISP to make sure your emails make it to the inbox. They know your mailing list history, they know which mails were clicked and which ones weren’t, they know when the last email was opened.


Part 1: What is the objective of Eloqua email deliverability?

Deliverability means that your email will be delivered, of course. But it’s not as easy as that.

Imagine you have a 99% deliverability rate. That must be great, right?  There is one important point missing from Eloqua email deliverability rate.

Getting your email to your customer’s inbox is more important than getting it delivered.

“Email deliverability is all about getting into inboxes.”

A customer’s spam or junk folder is still regarded as delivered. Delivery rate has no bearing on inbox placement. Don’t let delivery rates deceive you. Focus on inbox placement instead.

What is the best way to get good inbox placement I hear you say? To answer that question, you have to understand how emails move throughout their journey.


The journey of your Eloqua email

Eloqua email deliverability

Let’s walk through how to send your Eloqua email campaign. You’ve created a new email. Who will you send it to?


1. You build your Eloqua email segment

Eloqua email deliverability

This is your distribution list that you want to send your Eloqua email to.


2. Your Eloqua email gets sent

Eloqua email deliverability

Your email will most likely get sent. Some, however, will be suppressed. Why? There are a few potential reasons. The recipient might have unsubscribed or previously bounced back. When your Eloqua prepares to send the email, it reviews consent with bounceback status, and the email may not be sent.


3. The email you have sent gets delivered

Eloqua email deliverability

Most of the emails that are successfully sent should be delivered (that is, they should arrive at their intended destination). Those that aren’t are either soft or hard bounced.

Why was my email not delivered?
Soft bounce Hard bounce
  • Inbox is full
  • Send volume has suddenly spiked
  • Contact email frequency is too high on
  • Email address is invalid or does not exist


What is a hard bounce in Eloqua?

The hard bounce indicates that you attempted to send an email to an invalid address (one that doesn’t exist). If you get lots of hard bounces from ISPs, it indicates that your mailing list isn’t very clean. Email validation can help clean up your mailing list.


What is a soft bounce in Eloqua?

In the past, you might get soft bounced if your inbox was full. However, most email service providers now offer very large inboxes, so this rarely happens today.

ISPs prefer consistency, and don’t like sudden changes in email volume. If you send 500,000 emails per day, then send 700,000 one day, the additional 200,000 should be soft bounced. ISPs like consistency, and don’t like sudden changes in email sending volume.


4. Your Eloqua email either reaches the inbox…. Or it doesn’t

Eloqua email deliverability

Many of the Eloqua emails sent will be viewed in the inbox. Those that don’t often end up in the spam folder, are blocked by the recipient, or land in spam traps.


What is a SPAM trap?

Spam traps are email addresses owned by an ISP. They could be old accounts that have been reclaimed by an ISP, or brand new accounts created just to be spam traps. In either case, they shouldn’t be on your mailing list.


5. Your Eloqua email either gets opened or not

Eloqua email deliverability

If you’re not actively watching someone, how can you tell whether their email was opened? Most email services include a tracking pixel in every email they send.  As soon as someone opens their Eloqua email, the image loads so that the Eloqua knows that the email has been opened (which requires a request to the server hosting the image).


6. The contact either clicks or does not click on a link in your Eloqua email

Eloqua email deliverability

There are several things that your contacts will do now that your Eloqua email is in their inbox:

  • Click the email: This shows engagement, and probably what you want your customers to do when they receive emails from you.

  • Not click on the email: A very low engagement rate is a warning that you should improve your content. Try to increase personalization. This is not great news, but it is also not of importance for the ISPs.
  • Unsubscribe: The loss of a contact is not good news for you, as the preferences of people change over time, an unsubscribe won’t harm your reputation too much.
  • Spam complaint: Your ISP takes this seriously and you don’t want lots of spam complaints, so you should make it easy to unsubscribe from your emails so your customers don’t mark you as spam. If customers cannot easily find what they are looking for in your consent page, they are more likely to just mark your email spam and move on.


So….  Now you know all about the objectives of email deliverability, it is time to proceed to Part 2. Who is involved in Eloqua email deliverability.

Greg Staunton

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