Ongage Wants to Help Marketing Emails Make It Into The Inbox

If a company needs to send marketing emails, it choose from a range of email service providers, such as iContact and Exact Target. But a startup called Ongage says that if you want your emails to make it into everyone’s inbox there’s a better approach — instead of choosing one ESP, why not use different providers for different recipients?

The problem, according to an Ongage spokesperson, is that there’s no single ESP that will get emails into recipients’ inboxes 100 percent of the time — there’s always going to be some variation depending on things like ISP, geography, and email domain. As one illustration of the challenge, Ongage points to a recent report from Return Path, which says that “email deliverability still plagues commercial email senders worldwide,” with only 76.5 percent of emails actually making it into the inbox — maybe good news for consumers who want to avoid spam, but a problem for businesses who want to reach those consumers.

With Ongage’s just-launched product OngageConnect, however, marketers can take advantage of a concept called “micro-deliverability”, where each message will be sent from the ESP that’s most likely to reach the intended recipient. For example, Ongage says that if a US marketer is sending email to foreign recipients, it will use an ESP in the country where the recipient is based. Or if there are recipients using Gmail, OngageConnect will send those emails with the ESP that has had the best results with Gmail.

Ongage says it can connect to any ESP with an API — it has already integrated with a number of them, including the two I mentioned above, and there are others on the to-do list, including Mailchimp. At the request of its customers, the company will add integration with any additional ESP free of charge (assuming, again, that it has an API).

The product came out of co-founder Ofer Shani’s past work as an email marketer, Ongage says. Shani found that when he started to send emails from different ESPs based on their strengths and weaknesses, he saw a 1.75 percent increase in reported deliverability. That may not seem like much, but it actually reflects a bigger change, since ISPs don’t notify you about every bounce, plus deliverability rates don’t reflect whether the email went into the inbox or the spam/junk mail folder. So that 1.75 percent increase actually led to 50 percent more clickthroughs and 33 percent more revenue, Ongage says.

The company’s message: Even though there ESPs with a delivery rates close to 100 percent, OngageConnect can make a big difference.