How to prevent your emails from going to spam (5-step checklist)

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One commonly frustrating thing for senders is that emails can accidentally end up in the spam folder for any number of reasons. Email deliverability can sometimes be unpredictable, but we've put together a brief checklist that can help you avoid the spam folder and into your recipient's inboxes.

Here’s a quick (5-step) checklist to run through within AdRoll:

Audience → Content → Previewing → Frequency → Authentication


Check the audience you are targeting with your email campaigns. 

Make sure to target contacts who are predisposed to find the given email content valuable. For example, use AdRoll’s pre-built audiences for best success, or build custom audiences for highly tuned targeting of audiences.

Additional tips: 
6 Email Segmentation Tactics to Instantly Win Over Customers
Email Campaign Best Practices

Email Content

Review to the contents of your email. 

Anything from the subject line, the “preheader” text, or within the main email body, should be interesting and valuable to your target audience. You can adjust each of these, and then observe how your audience responds to the different variants versus the relevant metrics: metrics such as opens, clicks, website visits, or conversions.

Optimize each content area against its relevant metric:

  • Opens typically measure successful subject lines and preheader text.  
  • Clicks subsequent website visits.
  • Conversions reflect a successful call-to-action within the main email body.

Additional tips: 
Tips for writing effective subject lines
Email Marketing 101: Audience Building and Email Content

Email Previewing 

Use the email preview for cross-device rendering and “spam” testing.

As a rough test for how your email campaign will inbox, you should use the email preview to test emails against test email addresses at popular email providers most commonly used by your audience. How a “real” email inboxes versus a preview email is different, given all of the personal preferences that a mailbox provider automatically infers for each email and each user, but test addresses can still be of limited use.

You can also use 3rd party tools to preview the rendering of email across many devices, while at the same time getting very rough spam filter results from their own naive spam filter appliances.

Tools to consider: 
[Free option] — useful for simple spam tests.
[Paid option] — useful for cross-device rendering.


Are you sending too many emails? Check how often your audience sees email from you.

Adjust the period of time that elapses between emails in a sequence. Send too often, and your audiences can get turned off. Send too infrequently, and your audiences can forget to check back with all of the good things that you offer.

For instance, if you’re designing a series of welcome emails, your audience could expect emails every day for this series, or different audiences could expect emails once a week.

The Ideal Email Cadence for Your Audience


Use email authentication for showing high standards of email security.

This is optional, but email authentication can improve email deliverability by showing recipient mail systems that your email is identifying itself with the highest email security standards — technical things like “SPF” and “DKIM” that matter to automated security checking systems.

Configuring your email authentication is a one-time technical setup that can be beneficial to your email deliverability.

How to update DNS for AdRoll Email
5 Ways to Increase Email Deliverability Rates

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