Yahoo’s Email Visualization Tool: The Good, The Bad, and The Spam

Yahoo!’s new email visualization tool may be email marketing eye candy, but it has also revealed some noteworthy tidbits for email marketers. The map on the front page shows Yahoo! email usage volume by location as well as a continuously updated number of emails delivered every second by the Yahoo! mail network. Click on a continent, and you can receive the same information specific to that area, with additional clicks zooming in further to reveal more detailed information about the data used to determine whether a particular message lands in the inbox or the junk folder.

What Information Is Available?

Perhaps the most interesting pieces of information for email marketers are the trending keywords and the email verification criteria.

  • Trending Keywords

Click on the green box on the left side of the map to view keywords showing up most often in the subject lines of emails that make it to the inbox. Click the “Show Spam Keywords” box at the bottom of the graph to see keywords appearing in messages that land in the spam folder.

  • Email Verification Criteria

This information is buried a little deeper, but can be found by clicking on a continent on the main page, then on a point within that continent. Click on one of the envelopes labeled either “Junk” or “Inbox” to see a list of five criteria used to determine which emails go where, as well as a pass or fail designation for each.

What Does This Mean for Email Marketers?

Sure, it’s interesting, but can it really impact your email marketing strategy? We think it can, by offering some valuable information we could only guess at before.

  • The subject line isn’t as important as you might think when it comes to spam determination. So you can forget your list of approved or banned subject line words (like “free”) as well as those odd variations that attempt to fool the filter (f.r.e.e.; f*r*e*e; f-r-e-e). The trending keyword feature demonstrates that previously anathema words like free actually show up in delivered messages a high percentage of the time. They also show up in junked messages, suggesting that subject line words might not play as important a role as once thought.
  • Spam filters look at the email as a whole to determine in-box worthiness. Criteria such as a verified IP address, links, sender, and message content all play a part in determining which messages get marked as spam and which ones reach the inbox.

The bottom line? Stop trying to game the system and instead work towards creating engaging, useful emails that build relationships with your subscribers—the kind of emails we help clients create every day at eConnect Email.