How to Improve Low Engagement Rates for Distributed Press Releases

Using thoughtful targeting and personalized, relevant messaging to improve low engagement rates for press releases sent via Outreach

Whitney W. avatar
Written by Whitney W.
Updated over a week ago

For professional communicators, such as marketing and PR practitioners, engagement data is invaluable to understand the relevance of your targeting and messaging. High engagement indicates thoughtful targeting and personalized, relevant messaging. Low engagement suggests that more diligence is required. We recommend reading our article on the importance of targeting and the role of media lists.

Here's what we'll cover:


Likely causes of low engagement rates:

  • you’re emailing recipients too frequently

  • your content is not valuable to your recipients

  • your recipients are not expecting to receive mail from you

  • your emails are flagged by the recipients’ email server and are either not delivered, or end up in their spam folder.

    • In this case, you may want to consider verifying your email domain in Meltwater.

The good news is that these are all factors that are in your control to impact.

Different engagement metrics can give you insights into specific aspects of your outreach efforts that can be optimized to improve performance. You can learn more about that here.

If you'd like to learn more, we'd recommend checking out our prerecorded webinar on 'Crafting Unforgettable Pitches' via our Resources page here or review our ebook 'Marketer's Guide to Media Outreach' here.


How Does Email Tracking Work?

These are three of the most common ways to enable email tracking:

  1. Tracking pixels - these are small, trackable images embedded into the email

  2. Read receipts - enabled through email clients such as Gmail and Outlook

  3. Trackable Links - appended links inserted into the content of the email body

Meltwater offers email tracking through our third-party email provider, which enables tracking through using pixels. Here is how it works.


Tracking Pixels

A tracking pixel is a small, invisible image (hence pixel) that gets loaded from a tracking server with a coded filename. When the email is opened by a recipient, the pixel “fires”, and the email is flagged as opened. Tracking pixels is the most common approach to email tracking.


Why Do I Sometimes See a Discrepancy in the Email Engagement Data?

There are two key reasons why you might see some data discrepancies:

  1. Underreporting - tracking pixels don’t work for all recipients

  2. Data latency - there is some latency in data syncs between our third-party email provider and Meltwater

Underreporting

In practice, email clients (e.g. Gmail and Outlook) don’t always download images by default upon open. If the recipient decides not to download images, the email can still be read, but the “open” will not be logged.

There are ways to limit open rates from being underreported. This requires following email best practices and avoiding spam tactics, such as:

  1. Limit email distributions to small, highly targeted audiences

  2. Well-researched and personalized pitches that add value to your recipient(s)

  3. Consider whether the timing of your pitch is right for your recipient(s)

  4. Implement DKIM/SPF when using third-party services to authenticate your domain to ensure optimal deliverability. You can learn more about that here.

Data Latency

Data syncs happen every 5-10 minutes between Meltwater and our third-party email provider. The data is synced sequentially by metric type (see the list of metrics below). This means that minor latency should be expected before the data refreshes in our product:

  • Sent

  • Opens

  • Clicked (for links within an email)

  • Bounced

  • Blocked


Industry anti-spam standards and domain verification in Meltwater

Email deliverability is not complicated, but we as a service provider must abide by industry standards and make a best effort to reduce spam.

In 2024, Google and Yahoo! started enforcing new guidelines and requirements for bulk senders, which are those senders who have domains that send, or have ever sent email to more than 5,000 recipients in a day.

If you'd like to learn more about this, check out this Google Blog post.

Here are the main ways you can ensure your emails are being delivered:

  1. Being relevant: People don’t want spam. Journalists and media contacts have a reasonable expectation that when someone reaches out to them with a pitch, press release, product or service - it is relevant to them. If you have sent irrelevant information to a number of people, it is likely you will have more recipients unsubscribe from your email outreach.

  2. Email authentication: Deliverability is improved when clients’ email servers are configured in a way where active SPF, DKIM, and DMARC policies are in place. These serve as email authentication methods that ensure that the participating computer servers in the email chain can validate who the sender really is. This protects recipients from spam, phishing, and other unwanted email. Within Meltwater, we provide the means to verify an approved sender’s domain using SPF, DKIM and DMARC to help ensure that deliverability is not impacted.

    1. Note: DMARC is a newer requirement for bulk senders - those who send to more than 5,000 recipients per day.

  3. Don’t impersonate Gmail: Google has made it a restricted action to send email as a gmail account. This means that our customers should not be using gmail email addresses as approved senders. To date, this represents <1% of approved sender email addresses.


💡 Tip

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