Update: Please find our latest deliverability test results from Jan 2023 here.
This is the sixth email deliverability test we’ve carried out, and, as with every test, it brought quite a few surprises. If you’d like to make a comparison between this test and the previous one, check out our test from February 2020.
For those of you who are coming across our tests for the first time, this is something we started doing back in August 2017 in order to monitor the deliverability rates of the world’s most popular email marketing services. The number of providers we look at has increased slightly since then – this round we included a total of 12 different email services.
How are the tests carried out?
In a nutshell, 5 separate tests are carried out over the course of 5 weeks, using the delivery testing tool Glockapps. You can read more about our methodology here, and also see how the tools have performed over the years.
Table of Contents
Before we get into analyzing the results, I wanted to share the definitions for the following terms, so as to avoid any confusion.
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 into the right place, i.e. the reader’s main inbox. There are, in fact, a number of places your email can go:
The term ‘email deliverability’ covers all the above scenarios, and that’s what we’re interested in.
So, are you ready for the results of our email deliverability test?!
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 %|
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 that arrived in the main inbox and the Promotions tab.
|TOOL||GMAIL INBOX %||GMAIL PROMOTIONS %||YAHOO %||MICROSOFT %||AOL %|
Just because a provider 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’s performed better or worse compared to the last round.
|TOOL||STAR RATING||CHANGE SINCE LAST ROUND|
ConvertKit takes our number one spot, as well as our ‘Best deliverability’ award.
ConvertKit also wins our ‘Most improved’ award for deliverability, with a 58% improvement since last round (Feb 2020).
When you’re choosing a provider, make sure that it has good delivery rates – we’d recommend referring to our historical data to see the upward or downward trends of each tool. You can also do your own tests with Glockapps – here is a sample report.
So there you have it, another completed deliverability test. Though I hope that you’ve found it to be useful, I recommend that you use it as a reference alongside your own research.
If you’re using a tool that’s gone down this round (i.e. ActiveCampaign) don’t panic. Take a look at your reports and conduct a few tests of your own using Glockapps or another service. Just because it’s performed badly this round, doesn’t mean it won’t bounce back next time (as we’ve seen with MailerLite this round).
If you’re currently looking for a new tool, make the most of free plans and trial periods l to run tests.
Keep an eye out for our next round (results released early 2021) to find out if ConvertKit can keep the top spot or if it will fall back to previous levels. We’re also intrigued to see how Mailjet will perform after seeing such good results this round and last – perhaps it could get to the number one spot?
Noticed any deliverability issues with your email marketing service? Or have any questions about our tests? Let us know in the comments below!