Skip to main content

Email Validation isn't Rocket Science


Campbell Scott 3 minute read Data quality

When reading the results of the Experian Data Quality Global Research Survey, something suddenly hit me, like a wet fish, slapped right across my face.

Why are organisations still using manual methods to clean their contact database?

In this age of big data and where stricter data protection laws are being implemented across the globe, I was surprised that in the UK, 25% of all companies ONLY use manual methods to manage the accuracy of their customer contact data. Whilst this figure alone is rather shocking, we only have to look across the channel to other territories within Europe to see a more serious problem emerging. In France, the percentage of companies who only use manual means is 35% and in Germany it is 30%.1

During my speech at the Experian Global Data Quality conference, I highlighted some comparisons between Europe and North America in terms of email validation. Despite having some of the strictest data protection laws on earth, countries within the Eurozone seemed to have failed to manage their email sender reputation to the point that, on average, less than 25% of emails issued by legitimate businesses should end up reaching the inbox of their intended customers. 2

With an average inbox placement rate in North America of 67%, this gives an average return on investment of $41 for every $1.  Compare this to the EU average sender score of 22, which results in an inbox placement average of 21%. So that’s 79% of your emails being filtered into the junk or spam folders, representing a huge loss in potential revenue. This can be seen by the average ROI in the UK, for example sitting at around £24 per £1 spent. 2

So why is North America more advanced than Europe when it comes to email hygiene?

There are two reasons for this. The Can Spam regulations in The USA and Canada ensure companies focus on screening out bad emails, resulting in an increased sender reputation. In addition, a much higher concentration of companies in North America use automated and in-built validation processes to screen the validity of emails, both at the point of capture but also during regular health checks using competent service providers.

Given the above, it is easy to understand clearly why North America has much more success in its marketing efforts than companies in Europe.

If UK companies want to see a significant increase in ROI from email campaigns, they must start to focus on more active, intelligent and regular data health processes to ensure messages reach the intended inbox.

Add in to the mix that, whilst European data protection laws are already strict, specific Anti-Spam laws such as the stringent American and Canadian laws that are already in place, are just around the corner. So the sooner companies make additional efforts to ensure that their customer data is clean and accurate, the less likely it is that they will start running into regulatory problems.

What would clean email addresses mean for UK businesses?

  • Higher visibility amongst target audience
  • Increased ROI from campaigns
  • The avoidance of large scale ISP filtering, blocking and regulatory sanction.

Comprehensive email hygiene protocols aren’t rocket science. Quite simply, a clean email database will bring help your organisation a reduction in bounce rates, improved sender reputation as well as increased deliverability and ROI.

1Global Data Quality Research 2014,’an independent market research report commissioned by Experian Data Quality and produced by Dynamic Markets.

2The 2012 Return Path Sender Score Benchmark Report