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Why are emails being delivered to the spam folder?

In this article, we will see why some emails are being delivered to the spam folder. Spam folders are a good way for webmail users to avoid having their inbox constantly overflooded with irrelevant emails. But for email marketers, the spam folder can become a pretty critical barrier to achieve their goals, because an email that lands in spam is most often never opened by the intended recipient.

So how to avoid this? 

This is up to the webmail

Each webmail is responsible for the placement of incoming messages either in the inbox or in the spam folder. They base their judgment on several factors, and each webmail follows its own rules. So if your emails are landing in spam on Outlook, they may not land in spam on Yahoo or on Gmail.
Also, if you notice that some of your emails are landing in spam on a specific destination, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the same email will land in spam for 100% of your contacts with the same domain name. Webmails often adapt their judgment based on the past history of users with a specific brand

Watch your sending reputation

Online reputation and/or sending reputation certainly is the number one thing to focus on to avoid the spam folder. If your sending domain is known to have sent spam in the past, your chances of making it to the inbox will be fairly small. On the other hand, if you have used your domain to send quality emails for a long time, you’re much more likely to have your emails delivered to your recipient’s inbox. 

Each webmail will assign a reputation score to your domain and IP according to its own algorithms. They will monitor the behavior of your recipients when they receive an email from you, and they will use that data to score your future messages:

  • If your emails generate negative metrics (email deleted without opening, email reported as spam, email ignored, etc.), then your score will be negatively impacted, and you’ll be more likely to see your emails landing in spam.
  • If your emails generate positive metrics (email opened, clicked, replied to, forwarded, marked as important, etc.), then your score will be positively impacted, and you’ll be more likely to reach the inbox of your recipients.
💡 Good to know
Even though we often talk about domain reputation and IP reputation, they’re not the only two things that carry a reputation with a webmail. Anything related to you as a sender can potentially carry a reputation and impact your inbox placement: URLs used in the content of your emails, HTML format of your emails, your contact list, etc. So changing your IP/domain will never help you get out of the spam box.

Transparency, consistency, and common-sense

  • Considering the fact that most new domains and IP addresses used on the internet are used to send spam, or worse — scam and fraudulent emails, by default, webmails do not like change, novelty, or inconsistency.
    Anything new is automatically seen as a potential threat, so it’s important to set up a relevant and consistent sender/IP configuration right from the start and stick to it.
    You wouldn’t move houses because one of the letters you sent via your local post office got lost on the way. So if you notice that some of your emails are landing in spam, don’t change your sender configuration and contact our support team if you need any assistance!
  • Consistency is a must to ensure good inbox placement. If your recipients are expecting your emails and are receiving those emails at the right frequency, they’re more likely to show positive engagement and boost your results.
    Consistency is also reassuring for the webmails, especially if they can predict positive engagement signals based on your previous campaign metrics. 
  • Common sense is also key to a good inbox placement rate. If you’re sending the right message to the right person, at the right time, and at the right frequency, your emails shouldn’t land in spam.

Spam words

As surprising as it may be, spam words don't have a huge impact on inbox placement anymore. It may have been the case back in 2010, but today the antispam engines used by webmails are much more sophisticated and are trained with machine learning and AI. Not using any spam words doesn't mean that your emails will not land in the spam folder. Instead, we recommend you follow the email best practices mentioned above and in our other dedicated articles:

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