Increase Email Performance with These 7 Tips

Customers frequently ask the Adobe Campaign team how to achieve their growing demands in regards to their email throughput. Most companies are now sending hourly 3x the amount of emails they were sending just a year ago — though averages tend to be around 20%. Either way, drastic growth.

And while there are Campaign packages built to handle that increase, I’m interested in making sure users know some best practices to help them get the best out of what they have, particularly as they get into discount sale and holiday seasons.

If, by the way, you’re wondering how relevant email is in this age of social and other trendy channels, studies show that email usage is still prominent — around 3+ hours per week for work email and 2+ for personal usage.

“It’s incredibly clear that we’re all comfortable with email, and we’ve integrated it into almost every part of our day. While it’s important to note that the time we spend checking email overall has declined since 2016, the frequency remains substantial. The Adobe survey findings solidify how important email still is in the everyday lives of our customers, and this means there is still a big opportunity for marketers to utilize email to engage with people in relevant and useful ways.” —Sarah Kennedy, VP of Global Marketing & Digital Experiences, Adobe

The minor amount that email usage has gone down isn’t evidence of a channel declining as much as it is that people are simply becoming more strict with their time and the messages they choose to engage with. So, as you grow your users and seek to engage more quickly with them, here’s what to do.

Start by understanding your context — compare the volume of emails you sent last year versus this year, and compare the number of users and how they are growing YOY. Also, note how many campaigns you are running on an ongoing basis to engage more with your customers.

You will find that all these volumes are drastically increasing YOY, so you want to reach out to more number of users in the same amount of time. The following are some guidelines you can follow to increase email throughput of your Adobe Campaign instance.

1. Start with basics — know your audiences. Who are you sending the email to? Is it possible to further slice the segment and come up with more fine-tuned sub-segments to whom you can reach out? Having refined segments will be useful in deciding the content for each user, else you will be using tons of rules on dynamic content. Having so many rules slows down the delivery preparation process and eventually the throughput. Having the right segment reduces your number of rules increasing the throughput rate. It is also easier to analyze the segment post-campaign as to how the different sub-segments performed and if we can further retarget these users.

2. The next thing to do is optimize recipients by choosing the correct typology rules. For example, you may have all members of a family registered for your product but you may want to send only one email per household. You may also want to exclude recipients who have seen a similar email multiple times in the recent past. Optimizing recipients is a neat way to streamline your segment target, making it easier for you to reach out to a larger number of users at the same time.

3. Another important consideration to keep in mind is to schedule a regular DB cleanup. This is important to do before running your campaigns, particularly if it’s not otherwise done on a regular basis. Here are some further tips:

  1. Avoid bad addresses or invalid addresses. Sometimes your customers can make a mistake in typing their email or add addresses that do not comply with how an email address can be defined.
  2. Avoid duplicate addresses. You can also run a workflow to deduplicate addresses in your current contact list.
  3. Index email addresses for better performance.
  4. Remove inactive recipients of the last 12 months to maintain quality.

4. Next up, optimize personalization for your campaigns. We want to send emails that are as personal as possible for a handcrafted experience. But if we are not careful about personalization, it can end up slowing your campaigns. Here are some tips to avoid that:

  1. Personalization in emails pulls data out of the database for each recipient. If there are many personalization elements, that increases the amount of data needed to prepare the delivery. Use only the parameters which are needed and information which is present for most of your recipients.
  2. Use the template for your deliveries carefully. Don’t fetch personalization parameters at the last stage at the time of sending email, like weather, etc. Fetch all the data beforehand and then prepare the delivery. Otherwise, the preparation phase itself for your delivery will consume so much time that your throughput rate will fall.

5. Now, make sure your emails are as concise as possible. The recommended maximum size of an email is about 35KB. The size of an email delivery generates a certain amount of volume in the sending servers, so use optimized images. Avoid attachments in your emails unless necessary. Redirect users to a website to let them download attachments.

6. Also, stagger email sends and optimize the time of campaigns.

  1. Do not try to schedule large deliveries together. There should be a gap of 5-10 minutes to spread the load uniformly over the instance. Coordinate the scheduling of deliveries with the other members of your team to ensure the best performance. When the marketing server is handling many different tasks at the same time, it can slow down overall performance.
  2. Large deliveries (such as deliveries to over 1 million recipients) need space in the sending queues. This alone is not an issue for the server, but, when combined with dozens of other large deliveries all going out at the same time, it can introduce a sending delay.
  3. Prioritize deliveries based on whether there’s a need to go out urgently, so critical campaign flow does not suffer.

7. And finally, avoid errors related to linked to personalization, formatting, and images. Make sure your message content is properly designed to avoid any errors or gaps in messaging:

  1. Look for holes in messaging in the HTML and personalization fields from external files provided by third-party vendors. To find the problems, check syntax, use of tags, characters, etc. For example, an Adobe Campaign personalization tag always has the following form: .
  2. Double-check that the list of valid characters for email addresses is defined in the “XtkEmail_Characters” option. Handle special characters correctly and in the right format to avoid unnecessary errors.

Now that you have mastered the art of maximizing email throughput within Campaign instance, you can explore Email Designer, our new creative program that can help you design beautiful and responsive emails.