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Update: Please find our latest deliverability test results from Jun 2023 here.
I can’t believe that with this email deliverability test, we’ve completed nine tests to date! It was four years ago that we started testing the top email marketing platforms to determine which had the best email deliverability (and which were the worst email providers).
I have to say that there are always surprises, showing just how important it is to monitor the email deliverability of such tools. After all, what use is an email newsletter if no one reads it because it’s been marked as spam?
If you’d like to make a comparison between this deliverability test and the previous one, check out our results from October 2021.
For those of you who are coming across our deliverability tests for the first time, we have been monitoring the email delivery rates of email marketing services like Mailchimp, Constant Contact and AWeber since August 2017.
Five separate tests are carried out over the course of five weeks, using the email delivery checker Glockapps.
This tool provides us with a seedlist (contact list) made up of a variety of popular internet service providers (ISPs). Glockapps then reports the deliverability rates obtained by each of the email service providers, noting whether the emails ended up in the main inbox, Promotions folder, Spam or missing.
We make sure to authenticate all sender subdomains using SPF (sender policy framework) and DKIM, where available.
You can read more about our methodology on our email deliverability test page, and also see how the tools have performed over the years.
To avoid any confusion, let’s answer the question ‘what is email deliverability?’ before we analyze the results.
Email delivery is when an email is successfully delivered to the receiving server.
Email deliverability is when an email successfully arrives in the person’s inbox.
Just because your email was delivered, does not mean that it made it to the right place: the reader’s main inbox. There are, in fact, a number of places your email can end up:
- the spam/junk folder;
- in the case of Gmail, the Promotions tab;
- or, worst of all, it goes missing (undelivered)
The term ‘email deliverability’ covers all the above scenarios, and that’s what we’ve been testing.
If an email ends up in the spam/junk folder or goes missing, it is classed as ‘undelivered’.
Note: In our tests, deliverability was calculated based on the percentage of emails that successfully reached recipients’ mailboxes – regardless of whether they landed in the main inbox or a secondary tab (e.g. Gmail Promotions). If you’re interested in the breakdown between Gmail’s main inbox and the Promotions tab, we cover this in the second table.
Our tests show that the average deliverability rate of all providers tends to be between 83 and 89%. I would consider anything over 89% as a good email deliverability rate. And anything above 95% is excellent. Rates below 80% imply there are some delivery issues that need to be addressed.
There are a few email service providers that consistently score in the early-to-mid nineties, making them our top choices when recommending email marketing platforms to small businesses.
So, without further delay, let’s dive into the results of our latest email deliverability test!
- Mailerlite takes the no.1 spot with 98%! That’s the highest score we’ve ever seen from any ESP, making it a third consecutive win for MailerLite
- CleverReach has done consistently well in our last 4 rounds, this time securing a very impressive deliverability rate of 97%
- ConvertKit, a winner from a previous round, came in with 89% this time, seeing a 5% drop since the last round
- Omnisend (-17%), Moosend (-8%) and Benchmark (-10%) saw a significant drop in their deliverability rates this round
- ActiveCampaign, whose deliverability came out at 90% this round, is struggling to get its rates back up to previous highs
- HubSpot’s email deliverability is well below average at 68%, landing them third to last place
- Benchmark remains the worst email provider for deliverability with just 40%
- Overall, the average deliverability rate has decreased by 4.7% since this time last year, the current average for all providers is 84.2%
The table below shows the averages for where emails ended up for each provider: the main inbox, another tab, the spam folder, or if they went missing.
|TOOL||MAIN INBOX %||TABS %||SPAM %||MISSING %|
- The providers least likely to have emails end up in the spam folder were MailerLite (0.9%), Constant Contact (2.9%) and CleverReach (3.2%)
- The providers most likely to be flagged as spam were Benchmark (50.9%), HubSpot (25.6%) and Omnisend (24.8%)
- The providers least likely to have emails go missing were Brevo (formerly Sendinblue, with 0.3%), CleverReach (0.3%) and Mailchimp (0.3%)
- The providers most likely to have emails go missing were Drip (14.5%), GetResponse (8.8%) and Benchmark (8.8%)
- In general, fewer emails went missing this round compared to last round
There are heaps of mailbox providers out there, and while our tests were sent to over 30 different ISPs internationally, we couldn’t record them all. Instead, they were weighted according to importance. The following table summarizes the average deliverability rates to Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft (Hotmail + Outlook) and AOL. For Gmail, we’ve differentiated between the emails delivered to the main inbox and the Promotions tab.
|TOOL||GMAIL INBOX %||GMAIL PROMOTIONS %||YAHOO %||AOL %||MICROSOFT %|
- The providers most likely to end up in Gmail’s main inbox were ActiveCampaign (80%) and Brevo (78%) and Drip (69%)
- The providers most likely to end up in Gmail’s Promotions tab were Benchmark (96%), HubSpot (94%) and GetResponse (80%)
- MailerLite and Constant Contact landed 100% of emails in Yahoo, Outlook, Hotmail and AOL inboxes. Brevo, ConvertKit and CleverReach had good scores for these email clients too
- Benchmark didn't manage to deliver any emails to Yahoo, Hotmail, or Outlook inboxes, which contributed to their overall poor email deliverability
- ConvertKit (24%), Drip (15%), GetResponse (10%), Benchmark (4%) and Brevo (2%) saw a portion of their emails either go missing or end up in the Gmail spam folder.
We’ve seen that deliverability rates tend to fluctuate over time. Just because a tool hasn’t performed quite so well this round, doesn’t mean it doesn't have a good deliverability track record. We’ve assigned a star rating to each provider based on its overall performance over the last 3 rounds of testing. You can also see whether it has performed better or worse compared to the last round.
|TOOL||STAR RATING||CHANGE SINCE LAST ROUND|
With 98%, MailerLite takes the number one spot and our ‘Best deliverability’ award.
With an average deliverability rate of 91.8%, MailerLite also wins our ‘Best of 5’ award for the last five rounds of testing.
When you’re choosing a provider, make sure that it has good delivery rates – we’d recommend referring to the historical data from all our deliverability tests to see the upward or downward trends of each tool. You can also do your own email delivery testing with email delivery checker, Glockapps.
We have put together a complete guide on email deliverability best practices, where you can find more detailed information on how to improve your email deliverability.
Like every round, this email deliverability test has shown that it’s a good idea to monitor this benchmark carefully and take stock of your own tool’s capabilities.
With the average deliverability for all tools decreasing slightly, this is a clear indication that ISPs’ spam filters are becoming harder to pass through.
As an email marketer, you shouldn’t be sending unsolicited, irrelevant email, especially not to purchased or scraped email lists – that’s a sure way to get you reported for abuse and have your emails end up in the spam folder.
However, in setting up the exact same conditions for these 15 email service providers, we’ve seen that some are better at bypassing the spam filters than others.
According to our tests, MailerLite is clearly the strongest email marketing service when it comes to deliverability right now, landing our award for best deliverability in 2021 and 2022, and also our ‘Best of 5’ award.
If you’re looking to change services or are just starting out with email marketing, we hope this can serve as a guide when deciding on which provider to go with. However, I recommend that you use it as a reference alongside your own research and make sure to carry out your own tests. You can make the most of free plans and trial periods to run these.
If you’re using a tool that’s at the bottom of the table and whose performance is declining (Benchmark and AWeber) it might be time to reconsider. I’d advise you to take a look at your reports and conduct a few tests of your own using Glockapps or another service.
We run these tests bi-annually, so keep an eye out for the results of our next round towards the end of the year.
Noticed any deliverability issues with your email marketing service? Or have any questions about our tests? Let us know in the comments below!
This article has been written and researched following our EmailTooltester methodology.Our Methodology