How you can benefit from the Not Spam button

Hitting the “Not Spam” button does great things for your deliverability, reputation and subsequent inbox placement.
Global Leader in Email Intelligence, Return Path, have recently rolled their latest TINS report:

“This Is Not Spam”

This is a really, really good report. Return Path use accurate figures from their many sources of anonymous inbox usage stats to analyse the number of people who have hit the TINS button in their junk folder and compared these numbers with other relevant stats they have gathered.


The main and obvious thing Return Path have found is that good senders get good TINS rates.

Inbox Placement

Senders with higher inbox placement have a high TINS rate. So more people are rescuing emails from the junk folder from brands who usually get into the inbox.

This would suggest that senders which usually go to the inbox are missed when they do not and are frequently rescued by their recipients.

Read Rate

One of the less understood engagement metrics is read rate. This is not as loud as a TINS action; it tends to be measured over time and would count less than a reply or a forward.
It is also something that most marketers do not get to know. This is because email tracking only shows a reaction to the email’s content; when someone simply clicks/taps the subject line in their inbox to open the email, until the images are loaded or a link is clicked, email tracking cannot report back an action. Return Path’s technology does not plug into the emails you send, they are not an ESP. Return Path have a route into many inboxes themselves and have anonymous counts of the “read rate”.

As we could have expected, brands which get a high read rate also earned a high TINS rate; this is down to the fact that more people want the emails, enjoy them and miss them when they are not in their inbox.


Even though many brands might put a send to a friend link in their emails, it is a fairly dead tool unless it is incentivised. If a message is worth sharing with friends over email, someone is far more likely to just forward.
Subsequently forwarding is another great effector for a senders’ deliverability reputation, it tells the inbox that the sender’s emails are not only wanted and valued but they are also remarkable enough to share.

Again the stats supported the logic and senders which had their emails forwarded more would also be rescued from junk more.

Lessons from the TINS report

Most of this is about branding; The strength of the brand with each recipient makes the difference in whether they will rescue it from the junk folder or not.

People with a good rapport with a brand where there is engagement and trust will see this junking as a false positive and act to correct that.

Where a brand does not have a strong rapport with a recipient, they might not be missed and might not be rescued the next time the junk folder is checked.

Often part of this reason for the original junking would have been lack of engagement in the first place, so the lack of inclination to rescue them is no surprise.

What to do

If you think you are getting junked or you are worried that you might get junked – it can happen to almost anyone – what can you do?

Welcome Messages and the momentum of engagement
There is very rarely a point when someone is more likely to go that extra mile for you than just after they have already gone all the way to sign-up on your web-site. This is the time to act:

On the landing page after submitting the form;
– Tell them you have sent them an email
– Tell them who it is from
– Tell them the subject line to look for
– Ask them to add them to the address book and choose to always show images
– Ask them to check their junk folder and click not spam.
In the Welcome message;
– Ask them again to add you to their address book
– Ask them to choose to always load images.

Other channels

When you send an email out promote it via your other channels: Facebook, Twitter, etc. People can go and look for it, if they don’t see it they are more likely to check their junk folder if they are looking for it.

Your website

Encourage them to value the content you email them. If you have voucher codes, special offers and benefits, tell people they will be emailed upon request, market your own marketing emails on site. If they request something, have the site email it to them and tell them to go get it. If it goes to junk they will rescue it because they want it.

Treat your recipients very well

Email has the largest ROI of all marketing mediums because their inbox is that much more personal; being given access to their email address is a privilege, so you cannot abuse that trust. Send them emails they want, be honest, continue to earn trust, don’t always try to sell something and build a rapport.