Hello SparkPost Readers,

I’d like to introduce myself, my name is Tracey Crawford and I am the Lead Deliverability Analyst at SparkPost and this is my very first blog!  Today’s post will discuss why data integrity matters and how Recipient Validation can help improve your data integrity.

I know you may be asking yourself, what does data integrity mean? And, why does data integrity matter to me? I mean, SparkPost is already automatically removing invalid users, spam complainers, and list unsubscribers, what else is there? Well, I am here to answer these questions.

What is Data Integrity?

Data integrity is ensuring that your data is accurate and valid. For email delivery, this means ensuring that your email addresses consist of legitimate recipients. And, those recipients have consented to receive your content and are actively engaged.

Why Does Data Integrity Matter?

By maintaining data integrity, you are proving to mailbox providers that you are a responsible sender.  Mailbox providers look at data integrity along with other factors to determine deliverability, all of which ultimately dictates where your email lands.  If you do not maintain data integrity, you risk your reputation with mailbox providers and may suffer one or more of the following negative consequences, all of which result in low open rates:

  • Junk folder placement
  • Delayed acceptance of email
  • Blocking/Blacklisting

How can Recipient Validation Help my Data Integrity?

I am glad you asked. Keep in mind the first part of the definition of data integrity– ensuring that your email addresses consist of legitimate recipients.  How are you determining that your email addresses are coming from a legitimate source?  SparkPost has a new tool that can help, it’s called Recipient Validation and it can help you maintain your data integrity.

Some of the typical reasons for failing to send to a recipient are: sending to an address that has been incorrectly entered upon signup (aka fat-fingering), sending to an old address that is no longer active, and sending to an invalid address that was entered by more unscrupulous means (bot activity).  Let’s see what Recipient Validation can do to help with these issues:

  • Fat-Fingered Domains –  Use the Recipient Validation tool to identify when a user inadvertently enters an incorrect email address, for example, “gmial.com” instead of “gmail.com”.  Correcting mistyped domains at signup will help you reach the intended user and eliminate the possibility of sending to an unknown or invalid domain.
  • Old Addresses – Sending to old addresses that are no longer active will hurt your reputation at mailbox providers and may cause your email to be placed in the spam folder, deferred, blocked, or even blacklisted if the old email address has become a recycled spam trap. To help you identify these old addresses, Recipient Validation makes use of SparkPost’s global data footprint to flag previously identified old accounts, saving you the hardship of discovering them on your own.
  • Invalid Address – Use Recipient Validation to identify email addresses with invalid domains.  Addresses that are inadvertently added by bots or some other method can result in sending to addresses that don’t exist.  Although this does not hurt your reputation (since the email never leaves SparkPost), it does use resources and these addresses are continually retried until they expire.

Remember, Recipient Validation is not intended to replace the industry-standard best practice of confirmed opt-in for acquiring email addresses, however, it can support your current opt-in methods by adding an additional level of checking to help maintain your data integrity.

To learn more about how Recipient Validation works, please click here.

Happy Emailing!

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