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Delivery vs deliverability - what is the difference?
Delivery vs deliverability - what is the difference?

What are delivery and deliverability?

Ilona Srebnicka avatar
Written by Ilona Srebnicka
Updated over a week ago

Delivery and deliverability are two critical aspects of sending emails, often confused but fundamentally different in their meanings and implications.


Delivery refers to the successful transmission of an email from the sender to the recipient's mail server. It confirms that the email has physically reached the intended server. However, this doesn't guarantee that the email will land in the recipient's inbox; it merely signifies the initial step of the email reaching the recipient's domain.

For instance, if you send an email, and it doesn’t bounce back with an error message, it's considered delivered. But various factors beyond delivery affect whether it's seen by the recipient.


Deliverability, on the other hand, refers to the email's ability to land in the recipient's inbox successfully. It encompasses a broader scope, considering factors that influence whether an email gets flagged as spam or junk or if it reaches the primary inbox or gets filtered into a spam folder.

To illustrate, imagine you send an email newsletter:

It might be delivered to the recipient's mail server, but if the content triggers spam filters due to certain keywords or poor sender reputation, it might not make it to the recipient's inbox, affecting its deliverability.

In essence, while delivery confirms the physical transmission of an email, deliverability focuses on the email's successful arrival in the recipient's inbox without being filtered or marked as spam.

Understanding these distinctions is crucial for email marketers and senders to optimize their strategies, ensuring not just the delivery but the actual visibility and engagement of their emails by enhancing deliverability through content quality, sender reputation, and compliance with email best practices.

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