How Sender Identification Affects Email Deliverability

By 2023, there will be an estimated 4.3 billion email users. That’s half the world’s population. In 2019, 293.6 billion emails were sent per day. Email will continue to be an integral part of our digital lives now and into the future. In email marketing, the most important step is ensuring that as many of the emails you send land in your audience’s inbox.

That is email deliverability.  There are three factors that affect email deliverability. They are:

  • Content
  • Identification
  • Reputation

In the first post of this series, we learned about how the content of your email can affect email deliverability. In that post, we shared the state that for every $1 spent on email marketing, it returns an ROI of $42.

That impressive statistic only applies to emails that land in the inbox. A combination of all three of these factors determines whether you land in the spam box or the inbox.  In today’s post, we examine email identification and its key role in ensuring your email lands in user inboxes.

What is email identification?

When you send an email, there are a couple of different markers that indicate that your domain sent the email. These are:

  • DKIM – DomainKeys Identified Mail
  • SPF – Sender Framework Policy

Let’s break down each of these in a little more detail.

DKIM (Domain Key)

This stands for Domain Keys Identified Mail. The DKIM refers to a coded authentication message of the sender. It’s the public key to connect the email to the Server’s DNS of origin. It shows the receiver that the domain is real.

DKIM alone doesn’t guarantee that the sender’s server is allowed to send outgoing emails from your domain.

SPF (Sender ID)

This stands for Sender Policy Framework. It’s an identifier that allows the owner of the domain to specify which server(s) have permission to send emails. It identifies you as the email manager, not someone else.

SPF alone can be powerless if a website owner decided to choose shared hosting. This means that multiple websites will share the same IP address.

Do I need both? Is identification mandatory?

You should use both to ensure the highest possible email deliverability. But, no, you are not required to have either form of identification, but it will reduce your email deliverability significantly if you don’t.  To the point where maybe you should not bother sending emails without ensuring you have both forms of identification.

Having both forms of identification ensures that you get the highest possible email deliverability, and therefore, ROI.

Where do I find DKIM and SPF information?

SPF/DKIM records are set up in your “DNS settings” of the domain name provider you use.

Moosend put together a quality list of how to specifically change these settings depending on which domain name provider you use. Check it out if you haven’t already.

Email providers like Gmail, Outlook, and more use these authenticators to keep your messages out of the spam box. That in turn makes your emails that much more deliverable. An email that is delivered is profitable for you. One that lands in the spam folder costs you time, money, and reputation. Identification and email content are two major factors that impact your sender reputation. We’ll tie that final aspect of email deliverability into the final portion of this series.


Let us know what you think:

  • Have you made sure to find and update your email identification info?
  • Have you ever had a deliverability problem related to identification authentication?


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