Queue Prioritization: New Rules of Engagement | Port25 Solutions, Inc.
Case Studies
Fred Tabsharani

By port25admin

Queue Prioritization: New Rules of Engagement

As demands for digital messaging grow more complex, the need for feature-rich and sophisticated email infrastructure becomes increasingly apparent.  Commercial/Carrier grade MTAs must offer innovative, intelligent features that will accommodate the changing topography of the messaging world. The increase in queue sizes makes delivering time sensitive emails more difficult, as does possible congestion due to temporary blocks or deferrals by ISPs.  Given these challenges, it is important to make sure that critical emails can be delivered successfully.

Queue Prioritization, a new, more advanced feature, allows clients to indicate a “priority” in the message header.  These priority levels affect when a message is sent to a given recipient (or set of recipients).  In other words, certain segments of a sender’s list would receive the sender’s email message first.  Previously, this feature was only available at the domain level; now, a sender has more granular control and can manage which individual recipients receive messages first.

Increasing queue sizes signify a healthy economic indicator for our industry; however, senders are challenged daily by how much time a massive queue will take to complete processing.  With queue prioritization, senders can now target the individual list segments that are most likely to engage.  Concentrating on these list segments helps to reduce campaign costs, substantially improve subscriber experience, reduce spam complaints, and dramatically increase customer lifetime value all while reducing inevitable churn.

For example, senders first might consider segmenting their list to identify the most engaged subscribers.  Then, this noteworthy enhancement at the MTA level will offer priority queuing based on engagement patterns (senders set priority levels for different list segments).   Prioritization occurs on a scale from 0 to 100; for a list segment with a very high potential for engagement, the sender might assign a priority level of 100.  Segments that are less likely to engage would receive lower priority numbers.

Using various criteria to determine engagement level, senders can determine in advance who receives emails first.   Queue Prioritization is ideal for the increasingly popular time-sensitive emails.    Sys Admins now can set a directive, which allows more engaged recipients to receive their emails before the less engaged, much like passengers board an airplane.

One of the advantages of prioritizing emails is that prioritization can serve as a helpful classification system for marketers, which they can use to maximize subscriber engagement.  Due to prioritization, marketing now has an additional data point to encourage open rates and CTR.  Moreover, marketers can dedicate emails to clients who are equivalently less engaged, thereby communicating a sense of urgency. At the same time, marketers can send out other messages geared toward rewarding subscribers who are active members of the list.

Alternatively, this feature can be used to examine the reverse phenomenon.  For instance, perhaps a marketer might want to test his most unengaged subscribers.  To do this, he would set a higher priority for this (unengaged) segment, as a reactivation technique.  In the message, he would inform them that they are the first to receive such exclusive messaging/offers.  Once again, the airplane boarding analogy applies.  In this case, the passengers in “economy” class, who are seated in the rows furthest back, might for once receive special privileges.  Senders who continuously refine list segments and dive into critical data can explore how soon the subscriber interacted with the message after it was sent.  This data point will allow senders to define their most ardently engaged subscribers.  Using this information, senders now can better determine who their most valuable clients are.   Identifying these clients allows senders to deliver targeted re-engagement campaigns.   The content of these campaigns is formulated when senders parse this particular data point, based on various engagement metrics. With the advent of queue prioritization, the pendulum has swung in the direction of email marketers, as it is now easier for them to determine which segment of their lists should receive exclusivity.

An example below illustrates how queue prioritization works by assigning a number to the level of importance each list segment should have in a particular queue.

It would look something like this:

mail-from: newsletter@yourdomain.com/ recipient-priority=30

mail-from: transactional@yourdomain.com/recipient-priority=79

mail-from: passwordreset@yourdomain.com/ recipient-priority=100

rcpt-to /@engagedcustomer.com/ recipient-priority=90

With queue sizes constantly increasing, setting a priority for your more evolved and engaged segments becomes increasingly significant.  Queue prioritization is an innovation that allows marketers to more easily accomplish this important task.

This post was inspired by Ken Pfeiffer of Blue Sky Factory and Wayne Mehl in conjunction with the dev team at ExactTarget.

Fred Tabsharani

Port25 Solutions, Inc.


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