A/B Split Test: A method of email testing where two equal segments of an email list are sent two different versions of an email to gauge response to certain variables. Commonly used for testing the response of recipients (in the form of open rates) to different subject lines.

Above-the-fold: The top part of an email or web page that can be seen without scrolling. This is generally more desirable placement because of its visibility.

Append: The practice in which a marketer leverages offline data to match profiles with users and contact via e-mail.

Autoresponder: Automatic e-mail (reply or otherwise) sent to recipient upon onset of a trigger event, such as a certain calendar date, the click of a link on your site, or subscription request.


Below-the-fold: Refers to the area of a web page or email that is not visible until the mouse or arrow keys are used to scroll father down the page.

Blacklist: List of IP addresses that are being used by or belong to organizations or individuals that have been identified as sending SPAM. Blacklists are often used by organizations and Internet Service Providers as part of their filtering process to block all incoming mail from a particular IP address (or block of addresses).

Bounced message: E-Mail that was returned to sender because of inability to process.

Bounce rate: Ratio of bounced e-mails to total e-mails sent.


CAN-SPAM: A law, which became effective January 1, 2004, that establishes provisions for those who send email with primary purpose of advertising or promoting a commercial product or service. Click-through: When a reader takes action and clicks on a link.

CASL: Canada’s Anti-Spam Law is one of the toughest laws of its kind in the world, making its application and interpretation particularly thorny.

Click Through Rate: The number of times all links in an email were clicked compared to the total list size, represented as a percentage. To determine the click-through rate, divide the number of responses (clicks) by the number of emails sent (multiply this number by 100 to express the result as a percentage).

Click To Open Rate: The number of times all links in an email were clicked compared to the number of people who opened the email, represented as a percentage. To determine the click-to-open-rate, divide the number of responses (clicks) by the number of emails opened (multiply this number by 100 to express the result as a percentage).

Conversion Rate: The number of recipients that completed a desired action as a result of an email message compared to the total list size, represented as a percentage. To determine the conversion rate, divide the number of recipients who completed the desired action by the number of emails sent (multiply this number by 100 to express the result as a percentage).

Creative (Email Marketing): Terminology used for copy and content of an email. Email creative can be in many different formats including HTML, text, images, etc.


Demographics: Data about the size and characteristics of an audience.

Device ID’s: A device ID (device identification) is a distinctive number associated with a smartphone or similar handheld device. Device IDs are separate from hardware serial numbers.

Direct-To-Device: Direct-to-device is an IP based retargeting technology that follows email opens to all their devices (mobile, tablet, PD). Direct-to-device retargeting is unique to mobile devices, which are inaccessible from standard pixel-based retargeting technologies.

Double Opt-in Email Marketing: The process of collecting permission to email users whereby a submitted email address is not immediately added to a mailing list. Instead, an email is sent to the submitted address asking the user to take additional action to confirm that they do want to receive email communications from the marketer. If the user does nothing, the submitted address is not sent email communications. The user will only be sent email communications if they respond to the confirmation email.


ECOA: Email Change of Address technology keeps your email lists healthy by identifying and updating bouncing and inactive email addressses with active, engaged ones.

E-mail Blacklist: Database of IP addresses and domains that are screened out on all incoming e-mail. If you get your IP or domain on a blacklist, then emails that you send out will largely be automatically deleted without anyone seeing your content. Furthermore, getting off a blacklist is notoriously difficult.

E-mail Bounce (soft): An e-mail that was rejected by the receiving server for temporary reasons, such as over quota.

E-mail Bounce (hard): An e-mail that was rejected by the receiving server for permanent reasons, such as an invalid e-mail address.

E-mail Contextual Link: URL incorporated into the e-mail content. These types of links are MUCH better than “click here” links, both for matters of style, and also due to spam-detection software. Always use links that have descriptive words linking to the content.

E-mail Subject Line: The descriptive title of an e-mail. The e-mail subject line is one of the most important parts of your e-mail marketing campaign, because without a good subject line, your e-mails may never even be opened. Our extensive research has shown that the best open rates are closely associated with subject lines that have minimize sales pitches and accurately describe content. Unlike a billboard, which must be ‘salesy’ in order to get your product across, e-mail suffers from the stigma that so many spammers have given it over the years, and so prospects better appreciate straight-forward subject lines in their inbox.

Email Authentication: Practice of validating that an email sender is legitimate to cut down on spam and phishing scams.

Email Client: A computer program used to send, receive and manage a user’s email. Includes programs such as Outlook, as well as webmail programs such as Hotmail, Yahoo! and Gmail.

Email Frequency: The intervals at which email marketing efforts are repeated: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, etc.

Email Header: The portion of an email containing basic information such as the sender’s address, the recipient’s address, the subject line and the date sent. Also contained in the header (though not always readily accessible) is more detailed information about the entire path the email traveled between the sender and recipient.

Email List Manager: Controller of email list or database entity.

Email Marketing Campaign: Coordinated email marketing messages delivered at intervals with a specific objective or goal.

Email Newsletter: An email message sent out to a group of subscribers with relevant information on a topic. Often used to capture Web site visitor’s email addresses, they can also be used to keep in touch with existing customers, or simply as a means of distributing new product information.

Email Service Provider (ESP): Service that provides clients with platform from which to create and deploy email messages, as well as the ability to access reporting tools. Depth of service and sophistication of systems vary depending on the ESP.


Forward: An email function allowing subscribers to relay a previously received message in full to another email address (or addresses). This is convenient in that the entire email is passed along without the need to create a new message or do any cut/paste work.

(Forward to a Friend)From Name: The name by which the sender of an email is known

From address: The email address from which an email is sent.


Geo Segmentation: The ability to target email recipients by geographic region such as city, state, country and postal code.


HTML E-mail: An e-mail that utilizes html in order to maintain the consistent look and feel of your brand. It is important to send any html e-mails with a multi-type alternative text version as well, or else spam detectors may flag your e-mail.

HTML-based Email: An email comprised of HTML code. Essentially, an HTML-based email is the equivalent of emailing a web page, complete with colors, graphics, and other visually appealing methods of delivering content.

HTML E-mail Click-Thru Rate: By using html in your e-mail, you can check how many times a particular image in that html is loaded, thereby estimating how many times someone has opened your e-mail, less those that looked only at the text alternative. The click-thru rate (CTR) is then calculated by dividing the number of click-thrus to the number of e-mail opens (loads) and then multiplying by 100 to express the result as a percentage.

HTML E-mail Unique Opens: The number of different individuals who open the e-mail within a specific period. Note that determining this result is rather difficult, but by checking the number of loads you can get a fairly accurate estimate.

Hard Bounce: An email address that is rejected by the receiving server for a permanant reason (example: “email address does not exist”). Hard bounces are not vaild email addresses and should be removed from lists.


IP Address: IP Address is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. An IP address serves two principal functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing.

ISP: Internet service provider.


List Segmentation: Breaking a list into smaller pieces for the purpose of targeting recipients with specific characteristics or demographics.


Matchback Report: Compares the database of contacts included in a recent targeted email campaign to an advertiser’s submitted contact database in order to identify customers who made purchases, became a lead, etc. after receiving a campaign’s email.


Opt-in: Confirmation to receive e-mails. Indicates the addition of a specific email address to the recipient list.

Opt-out: Confirmation to unsubscribe from a mailing list. Opt-out links are required by law to be present on all outgoing e-mail marketing. Furthermore, it must be a single click-through, without double opt-out procedures in place. And unsubscribe requests MUST be processed within a “reasonable” period.

Open Rate: The percentage of total recipients who open a given email. An open is only counted when an invisible tracking image placed within an email by an Email Service Provider is viewed.

Opt-in Email Marketing: The process of collecting permission to email users whereby the user must take action to receive email communications. Also known as Permission-based Email Marketing.


Personalization: Marketers personalize their email campaigns by using the recipient’s name in the body of the email. Even this simple form of personalization yields higher open rates and click-throughs, i.e. first name, title, customer number, etc.

Permission-based Email Marketing: The practice of sending email communications only to recipients who have given their consent to receive them.

Predictive Modeling: Mathematically-based formula used to dynamically segment subscribers based on who is most likely to engage with a particular message.

Preview Pane: Available in some email clients, preview panes display a portion of a selected email message without the recipient actually having to open the full message. In some clients, the size of the preview pane can be adjusted to display all or most of an email.


Recipient: Any member of a mailing list who receives a particular email communication without a hard/soft bounce affecting delivery.

Reply-to Address: The email address to which a recipient can reply to from your email message. This address must be a working email address and must be live for at least 30 days after your email is sent.


Spam Filter: Software used to filter supposed unsolicited e-mail from users’ inboxes. Getting around spam filters takes effort, but if you follow our recommendations, your e-mails should get past every spam filter on the market.

Spam (a.k.a.: UBE): Unsolicited bulk marketing e-mail. Spamming is against the law, and we cannot recommend its use in any way.

Segmentation/Targeting: Identifying and sending to only a select portion of an email list based on a shared pre-determined criteria, such as the recipients’ zip code or online purchase history. Segmentation is used to help increase the relevance of a message to the recipients.

Sender ID: Email authentication technology protocol that verifies the domain name from which email is sent.

Sender Score Certified: Email certification process that requires originators of legitimate email adhere to a baseline set of industry standards for email communication.

Single Opt-in: Method of list building where only a single action is required of an interested party before he/she is added to a mailing list (such as submitting a web form). Differs from Double Opt-in in that no follow-up action is required on the part of new subscribers in order to confirm their opt-in status.

Snippet Text: The first line of text within an email, also called the Preheader. While often used to prompt recipients to add the sender to his/her safelist, Snippet Text is increasingly being used for more high-value content. In email clients such as Gmail, Snippet Text is displayed after the subject line in recipients’ inboxes, making it a valuable area for key messaging.

Soft Bounce: An email that makes it to a recipient’s email server but is bounced back. This can be due to a recipient’s inbox being filled to capacity. A soft bounce email may be deliverable at a later time if re-sent after the initial bounce.

SPAM: Unsolicited bulk or commercial email. The prevalence of SPAM emails has led to laws against SPAM being enacted by the U.S. government, as well as more stringent filtering methods implemented by widely-used email clients.

SPAM Score: A determination of the probability that messages from a certain sender will be classified as SPAM when delivered to email clients. The score itself refers to the IP address being used to send the messages. All messages sent from the same IP address share the SPAM score of that IP address.

SPAM Trap: An email address that has been specifically created to detect individuals who have illegally scraped or collected email addresses. The belief is that any email sent to a spam trap address is indeed Spam, as the email address is not usually used as a real email address.

Subject Line: Used as the first point of contact with an email recipient, the subject line is the only portion of an email message guaranteed to be seen in all email client inboxes (i.e. those with and without preview panes available). The importance of subject lines is twofold: not only does the appeal of a subject line directly affect whether or not recipients will open the email, but a subject line containing unfavorable elements can trigger SPAM filters and be considered junk mail by email clients.

Subscriber: Any member of a mailing list who has opted-in of his/her own accord to receive mail from that particular sender.


Tracking: Reporting CTR, open ratios, bounces, un-subscriptions, etc. Trigger-based e-mail: An e-mail that is sent in response to the onset of an event, such as a click-through or the arrival of a specific day.

Text-based Email: A black and white email consisting only of typed text. Preferred by recipients who view email on mobile devices, or those who prefer email without images.

Total Clicks: The total number of times a link was clicked, includes recipients who may have clicked multiple times.

Total Opens: The total number of times an email was opened, includes recipients who may have opened the email multiple times.

Trigger Data: A database trigger is special stored procedure that is run when specific actions occur within a database.  Most triggers are defined to run when changes are made to a table’s data.


Unique Clicks: The number of individual recipients who click on a link within a given email. Even if one person clicks on three links within an email, he/she is only counted as one unique click.

Unique Opens: The number of individual recipients who opened a given email. Different from Total Opens in that each individual is only counted once. A recipient who opens an email three times will be counted as one Unique Open, while adding three to the number of Total Opens.

Unsubscribe: When an email recipient requests to no longer receive email communication from a particular sender. The option to unsubscribe from a mailing list is required by law to be available on all email marketing communications.


Viral Marketing: Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence.


Web version: Most email marketing messages contain a link which points to a Web Version of the message. This is usually displayed at the top of the message so it is the first thing recipients will see if they have images suppressed. Web versions of emails contain the same content, but are viewed as standalone web pages instead of through an email client.

Whitelist: A list of email addresses that a user designates as safe to receive email from. Inclusion on a whitelist means that no email from those particular senders will ever end up in the user’s junk mail folder unless express action is taken by the user to remove an address from the whitelist.


ZIP Code Radius Filter: Segmentation feature allowing the sender to isolate a regional portion of a mailing list based on recipients’ proximity to a specified ZIP Code.