Permissions & Deliverability

How to calculate Email Delivery Rate

Cai EllisRobert Brandl

By Cai & Robert

How to calculate email delivery rate

The email delivery rate is calculated by dividing the number of emails that have been successfully delivered to the recipients' server by the total number of emails sent, and then multiplying the result by 100 to get a percentage:

Email Delivery Rate = (number of delivered emails / total number of emails sent) x 100

Not sure where to get the numbers for the equation? Let’s break this down into easy to follow steps:

1. Find the total number of emails sent

This is the number of emails you dispatched during a specific campaign or time period. If you don’t already know it, check your email service provider (ESP).

2. Find the total number of bounced emails

This is the number of emails that could not be delivered to the recipient's server. There are two types of bounces to count up:

  1. Hard Bounces: These occur when the email is permanently rejected because the email address is invalid or the domain doesn't exist.
  2. Soft Bounces: These happen when the email is temporarily rejected due to issues like a full inbox or a server being down.

Again, you’ll be able to see the total number of bounces for a specific campaign or time period in your ESP.

3. Calculate the number of delivered emails

Subtract the number of bounced emails (both hard and soft bounces) from the total number of emails sent. This gives you the number of emails that were actually delivered.

Delivered emails = total emails sent – total bounced emails

4. Calculate the email delivery rate

Divide the number of deliverable emails by the total number of emails sent. Then, multiply the result by 100 to get a percentage.

Email delivery rate = (delivered emails / total emails sent) x 100

An example of an email delivery rate calculation

If you sent 1,000 emails and 50 bounced (30 hard bounces and 20 soft bounces), your calculation would look like this:

Total Emails Sent = 1,000

Total Bounced Emails = 50

Delivered Emails = 1,000 – 50 = 950

Email Delivery Rate = (950 / 1,000) * 100 = 95%

This means 95% of your emails were successfully delivered to the recipient's email server.

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Email delivery vs deliverability

It’s important to note that just because an email has been delivered to the recipients' server, that doesn’t mean that the recipient will actually see the email. Because it could end up in their spam folder!

This is where the distinction between email delivery and email deliverability is important:

  • Email delivery occurs when an email is successfully transmitted to the recipient's server.
  • Email deliverability is achieved when an email successfully lands in the recipient's inbox.

The email deliverability rate is a much more complete and useful metric than the email delivery rate, because it measures the percentage of people that actually are able to see your emails.

However, it’s impossible to calculate the email deliverability rate for a regular email marketing campaign, because we can’t access the recipient's email accounts to see if our emails end up in their spam folder or their inbox.

So as email marketers, generally have to make do with the email delivery rate.

However, at EmailTooltester, every 6 months, we conduct a controlled test (where we do have access to dummy email accounts), to assess the email deliverability rates of the most popular email service providers (ESPs).

This can give you some insight into the percentage of your emails that most likely end up in the recipient’s spam folder, and also help you choose the best ESP. Check out the latest EmailTooltester deliverability test results here.

Why calculating your email delivery rate is important!

Calculating your email delivery rate is an essential aspect of understanding the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy.

The delivery rate gives you insight into how many of your emails are successfully reaching the server of your intended recipients, as opposed to hard or soft bouncing (for the reasons discussed above).

It's important to aim for as high a delivery rate as possible to ensure your email marketing campaigns are effective. Improving your delivery rate can involve practices like maintaining a clean email list, properly segmenting your audience, and adhering to email sending best practices.

The authors

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Cai Ellis

SEO Manager

Hi! My name is Cai, and I've worked in digital marketing for many years. More recently, I've been concentrating on email marketing, through testing tools and writing guides. And I've also picked up a bit of SEO know-how along the way! If you've got questions about these or any related subjects, I'll be happy to help!

Robert Brandl

Founder and CEO

Hello! I'm Robert, an email marketing expert with over 15 years of experience. After honing my skills at an agency by serving major corporations, I founded EmailTooltester as a passion project to help small and medium-sized businesses. Connect with me on LinkedIn where I regularly share my best email marketing knowledge.

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Our Methodology

This article has been written and researched following our EmailTooltester methodology.

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