Inbox placement tests can be both useful and harmful depending on how they're used. Here are some things to consider when using these tests.
Inbox placement and sender score tests are a popular way to see data about what goes on behind the scenes of your email sending.
Senders often use these tools to identify possible deliverability issues that might be affecting their deliverability in a negative way. However, inbox placement tests often lead senders down the wrong rabbit holes and can cause unnecessary panic.
Here are some key things to understand when looking at the data point these tests provide:
Troubleshooting and repairing deliverability issues is often a long process with very few "quick fixes"
Looking at inbox placement tests can be helpful, but only when you are looking at all of your actual data in conjunction with the test results. It's important to note that mailbox providers do not give out information on inbox/spam placement for your real subscribers. Inbox placement tests use test email addresses to gather this data.
Inbox placement test data doesn't always correlate with your real deliverability
Typically, these test addresses used for placement tests are "seed" addresses. Therefore, there is no real person on the other end interacting with your messages.
Since sender reputation is weighted the most heavily when it comes to inbox placement, the engagement of the seed list addresses won't be reflective of the engagement of your real subscribers, which can skew the inbox placement test results.
Inbox placement tests often highlight blocklists that have no affect on your emails, causing unnecessary panic
Inbox placement tests may also tell you whether or not the IP address you are sending on appears on a "blocklist". There are hundreds of blocklists in existence and very few will affect your emails.
While there are a few serious blocklists, ConvertKit has a team monitoring these constantly for our customers and our own sending reputation. It's important to recognize that if you are sending on an IP that appears on a blocklist, it is highly unlikely that it will affect your sending.
Our support team is happy to answer questions about blocklists if this appears in your placement test.
SPF and DKIM results can cause confusion
Inbox placement tests may also show you information about DKIM and SPF. When you sign up to use ConvertKit these are taken care of for you. However, if you are using a Verified Sending Domain in your ConvertKit account, DKIM and SPF can sometimes fail if the CNAME records have been changed or deleted from your host.
If you need help getting this fixed, please reach out to our support team.
Wrap it up
Each of these pieces of information can provide some insight into your deliverability. However, in the even that you have a concern, we highly advise reaching out to our support team for questions about your placement test.
We are able to look at many other deliverability data points in conjunction with your test and are able to offer custom suggestions for your specific account!