There are two types of data that power Return Path’s deliverability metrics: CoreSeeds and SmartSeeds. Both sources contribute to your campaigns’ placement metrics available in our deliverability solutions. However, it’s important we explain how these sources differ so you can better understand your email program’s data.
Common reasons for reporting differences in Return Path Platform
First, it’s important to mention that reporting differences will be further skewed if you are not sending to the Return Path Seed List correctly, or if CoreSeeds are not working as expected.
While large data differences are rare, you may see them, or minor ones, occasionally. The most common reason is that engagement filtering can have an impact on overall deliverability. More mailbox providers, such as Gmail, Microsoft, and Yahoo!, are using engagement-based filtering, which means CoreSeeds data can be slightly affected due to the lack of engagement with the delivered email. In this case, SmartSeeds data is able to provide better granularity because it's able to account for situations where engagement-based decisions are being made by mailbox providers.
Example data difference and how to interpret the results
If you log into your Return Path Platform account and review a campaign that recently ended, you may see reporting differences for a mailbox provider where your email consistently has high inbox placement. The data shows that the campaign has a high SmartSeeds spam placement rate while your CoreSeeds inbox placement shows 100%. This could mean that some of your subscribers are more dissatisfied with your email; SmartSeeds are based on historical Consumer Network subscriber behavior and are a good indicator of how your real subscribers interact with your email.
We suggest that you review the subscriber segments you sent to and other performance metrics such as complaints and unsubscribes. Reviewing additional metrics can help you uncover possible reasons for subscriber dissatisfaction, which can then lead you to make improvements and increase inbox placement rate with your subscribers.