All About Email Quality Score and How to Improve It

Mashkoor Alam
ByMashkoor Alam

12 mins read

The success of your email marketing campaigns depends on whether your emails reach your audience. The email quality score is used to evaluate the overall quality of your emails. This article will give you in-depth knowledge of improving this quality score to achieve higher open and click-through rates.

All About Email Quality Score and How to Improve It H2 Table of content H2 What is email quality score? H2 What affects your email quality score? H3

  1. Sender reputation H3
  2. Email list health H3
  3. Spam complaints H3
  4. Engagement metrics H3
  5. Open rate H3
  6. Bounce rate H2 Email quality score vs. sender score vs. email message quality score H2 How to use email quality score in email marketing? H3 Maximize your email performance with our free ebook H2 How can you improve your email quality score? H3
  7. Clean your email list H3
  8. Send personalized emails H3
  9. Test your emails H3
  10. Monitor email deliverability H3
  11. Optimize send time H3
  12. Keep a clear CTA H3
  13. Build a high-quality email list H3
  14. Create valuable content H3
  15. Boost email engagement H3
  16. Promote preference center updates H3
  17. Use a reputable email marketing software H2 Takeaways

What is email quality score?

Email quality score is a metric used to assess the overall quality of email campaigns. This metric also measures the relevance of your emails.

Email clients also use email quality scores to analyze incoming emails' relevance, importance and legitimacy. They use various filters and algorithms to assign a quality score to these emails.

If your email quality score is low, your email campaigns may end up in the spam folder or the promotion folder. Conversely, a high email quality score will result in your emails landing in the recipients' primary inboxes, leading to higher open and click-through rates.

It is important to note that ESPs use one IP address for sending emails for multiple clients. This is where IP reputation becomes an important component of email quality score. Sending irrelevant emails results in the degradation of the reputation of the IP they are being sent through, which in turn affects the email quality score of other emails sent by a different client via the same IP address.

What affects your email quality score?

Here are some of the factors that affect your email quality score that you should know about:

1. Sender reputation

ESPs assess the reputation of the sender’s email address and domain to understand the sender's credibility better. They also refer to the sender’s sending history, compliance with anti-spam policies and previous deliverability metrics. A positive sender reputation leads to a higher email quality score and vice versa.

2. Email list health

Having a healthy email list is important. A healthy email list has active email addresses of recipients who have opted in to receive your emails. An email list with outdated or incorrect addresses can lead to a bad email quality score.

3. Spam complaints

Spam complaints can affect your email quality score negatively. If a recipient marks your email as spam, the ESPs indicate that the recipient considers your email unwanted or unsolicited. Minimizing spam complaints by sending emails to the correct email addresses who have opted in for your emails is essential for maintaining a high-quality score.

4. Engagement metrics

Higher engagement rates show ESPs that the emails are highly relevant to the recipients and perform well with them. A higher level of engagement results in a higher quality score. ESPs assess the various engagement metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, number of forwards or shares, unsubscriptions, etc.

5. Open rate

Open rates refer to the percentage of the emails opened by the recipients from the total sent emails. A high open rate reflects that the subject lines of your emails are compelling and relevant to your recipients. It may also indicate that your content resonates with your recipients, thus raising your email quality score.

6. Bounce rate

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of emails not delivered to the recipient’s inboxes. This can be due to incorrect email addresses or any other deliverability issues. A high bounce rate can lower your email quality score.

Email quality score vs. sender score vs. email message quality score

While ESPs use all three mentioned above to provide a score and determine your efforts' success, they differ in a few key aspects.

Email quality score Sender score Email message quality score
Measures overall performance and relevance of email marketing campaigns Measures the sender’s reputation Measures the quality of individual email messages
Focuses on holistic email performance Focuses on sender-specific performance Focuses on content-specific performance
Assesses factors like engagement metrics, spam complaints, bounce rates, etc. Assesses factors like the sender’s sending history, compliance with anti-spam policies and previous deliverability performance Assesses factors like subject lines, email content, personalization, etc.

How to use email quality score in email marketing?

By analyzing the performance of email campaigns, marketers can better understand and gather information on various metrics like open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, unsubscribe rates and so on. These metrics can help understand the areas that need improvement and give an idea of the email quality score so they can work on improving it too.

For instance, if the bounce rate is high, it will contribute to a lower email quality score. This also points to the fact that there’s a requirement to clean the email list. Doing that will automatically reduce the bounce rate and raise the overall email quality score. While different ESPs have different algorithms that they follow to calculate the email quality score, you can have a general idea of the calculation from the equation below:

Email quality score ∝ (Open rate + Click through rate + Submission rate) / (Bounce rate + Unsubscribe rate)

Maximize your email performance with our free ebook

Optimize the right email metrics for higher ROI

At Airbnb, we always look at the quality score — (Unsubscribes / Responders) to measure engagement quality with the email and search with dates as it shows a clear intention for a user who’s interested to travel. The quality score really helps create better emails because it will show you the percentage of users happy with it. We always aim at 80% or more.”
-Lucas Chevillard, growth marketing consultant

How can you improve your email quality score?

You saw an example above on improving your email quality score based on one metric. Let’s take a look at some other ways to do the same:

1. Clean your email list

Cleaning your email should be a recurring task for marketers. An inaccurate email list leads to higher bounce rates and reduces open and click-through rates, lowering the overall email quality score. Checking for and getting rid of inactive and invalid email addresses regularly helps maintain a healthy email list.

“I can't stress enough how important it is to keep your email list clean and engaged for a top-notch email quality score. Take the time to weed out those inactive subscribers, reignite the spark with dormant contacts, and get creative with targeted campaigns to keep your subscriber base active and responsive. Nurturing a healthy and engaged community will work wonders for your email marketing success.”
-Basak Kandirali, founder, Smart Results Marketing

2. Send personalized emails

Emails with personalized content and subject lines for individual recipients resonate better with them. When recipients find the content relevant to them and based on their interests, they are more likely to open your emails and engage with them. This would increase the engagement rates and your overall email quality score.

Mailmodo, for instance, has a new feature that allows you to create personalized subject lines based on the content of the email using the power of AI.

An image showing the different capitalization styles in Mailmodo's AI subject line generator

3. Test your emails

Testing your emails is a good idea to check if the emails you send are viewed the way you intended on the different email clients and devices. Another thing worth testing is how different variations of subject lines and email copies would perform. You can use the insights from these tests to improve your campaigns to deliver a better experience to your recipients.

A/B testing capabilities of Mailmodo can help you test the content and subject line variations to determine the effectiveness of each variation and help you choose the best out of the lot. This would provide a good customer experience and increase your email quality score.

4. Monitor email deliverability

Actively monitor how your email campaigns are performing. You must keep track of the various metrics involved in measuring the success of your email campaign, like open rates, bounce rates, spam complaint rates, etc. Doing this will help you identify any deliverability issues promptly and help you maintain a good email quality score.

Mailmodo’s analytics feature provides you with a dashboard where you can see all of these key metrics like open rate, CTR, bounce rate and unsubscribe rate at a glance to assess your campaigns' performance and take appropriate action.

An image showing analytics dashboard in Mailmodo

5. Optimize send time

If you send your emails to your recipients at random times, you’re doing it wrong. A well-timed email resonates better with the recipients. You may want to keep your emails ready and schedule them to be sent at a later date and time. Alternatively, you can use a feature like send time optimization that determines the best time to send your emails to your recipients to increase the chances of being opened or engaged.

Mailmodo offers various options for this. Once you are ready with your email, you can choose to schedule it at a specific time or have it sent according to the recipient’s time zone. You can also use the send time optimization feature or send the emails in batches at regular intervals. This results in higher engagement on your emails and a better quality score.

An image showing the different scheduling options in Mailmodo

6. Keep a clear CTA

Having a clear CTA makes it easier for recipients to perform an action. Ideally, you should have just one CTA. It also allows you to focus more on making that CTA compelling to the recipients. A clear and compelling CTA increases your click-through rates and positively affects your email quality score.

With Mailmodo, you can create a new or edit a pre-designed CTA button template and add links to your CTAs.

7. Build a high-quality email list

Cleaning an email list to maintain its health is an additional task, so why not start your email list with high-quality leads from the beginning? Focus on attracting the right kind of people you think would be interested in your content. Also, focus on organic list growth and opt-in procedures and avoid purchasing lists from third parties so that you only have subscribers who are genuinely interested in your content.

You may even use Mailmodo’s AMP emails embedded with forms that recipients can use to subscribe to your content without redirection.

8. Create valuable content

Creating content that resonates with your recipients is a key factor in the success of email marketing campaigns. Your content must give your readers some value worth their invested time. High-quality content encourages recipients to open, read and interact with emails resulting in improved engagement rates and a higher quality score.

9. Boost email engagement

Better engagement can make your email quality score better. It would help if you indulged in techniques to increase your engagement. Mailmodo offers several techniques like email list segmentation, personalization and A/B testing for boosting email engagement.

10. Promote preference center updates

Preference centers offer your subscribers a chance to tell you their preferences, what they would like to receive from you, and how often. If you do not have one, you should create one and if you do have one, you should promote it amongst your recipients so they know that they’re important and engage more with your updates. This also helps you define what are the expectations from you and guides you to the right path.

11. Use a reputable email marketing software

Choosing the right email marketing software is just as important. You need to know the complete list of features the software offers, check out its alternatives, see if the functionalities align with your business needs and then decide. Use one with a good reputation to keep your data safe too.

Mailmodo, for one, is an email marketing software that offers a host of features like analytics, email automation, a drag-and-drop editor for templates and CTAs, a subject line generator and send time optimization, all to make your email marketing efforts easier and manageable. The host of features also helps you maintain a good brand reputation and a high email quality score for better ROI.


The above pointers on how to improve your email quality score can form the backbone of your email marketing campaigns, thereby increasing the deliverability of your emails. Marketers must understand the concept and try to keep this quality score high, as all time and effort would be wasted if the emails you’ve worked so hard to create and design land up in the spam or junk folders or your recipients.

What you should do next

Hey there, thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:

  1. Talk to an email expert. Need someone to take your email marketing to the next level? Mailmodo’s experts are here for you. Schedule a 30-minute email consultation. Don’t worry, it’s on the house. Book a meet here.

  2. Send emails that bring higher conversions. Mailmodo is an ESP that helps you to create and send app-like interactive emails with forms, carts, calendars, games, and other widgets for higher conversions. Get started for free.

  3. Check out our AI prompts library. If you need AI prompts for ChatGPT or Bing, here's a ready-made database we’ve built to help marketers succeed at prompt engineering. Get your AI prompts here.

  4. Get smarter with our email resources. Explore all our knowledge base here and learn about email marketing, marketing strategies, best practices, growth hacks, case studies, templates, and more. Access guides here.

Frequently asked questions

Email quality score affects the deliverability of your emails. If your email quality score is low, the ESPs consider your emails as non-relevant and end up in junk or spam folders.

Some common features that impact email quality scores are:

  1. Sender reputation
  2. Email list health
  3. Spam complaints
  4. Engagement metrics
  5. Open rates
  6. Bounce rates

Some ways in which you can improve your email quality are:

  1. Cleaning your email list
  2. Personalizing your emails
  3. Testing your emails
  4. Keeping a clear CTA
  5. Optimizing send time
  6. Choosing a reputable email marketing software like Mailmodo

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