The mail message was sent from Táve servers to our Email Service Provider (ESP, which happens to be SendGrid) for processing. It gets added to our ESP’s queue to be sent to the client’s email server.
The mail message has been successfully queued by our ESP and is ready for delivery to the client’s email server.
If the mail message doesn’t successfully get added to our ESP’s queue, it is rejected and never sent to the client. There can be a number of reasons for this:
Your email looks too spammy and is caught by the pre-delivery spam filter. You will want to checkout Avoid being marked as SPAM by Adding an SPF.
A previous email that you sent the client failed to be delivered. This could happen if their mail server outright rejected the email, if the client’s email server is misconfigured, their mailbox is full, or if mail server or email address doesn’t exist.
A previous email sent was marked as SPAM by the client. If this is the case, we have to stop sending emails to the client in order to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
The email address is known to be invalid. This generally occurs when there are misspellings in the domain like email@example.com.
Sometimes the client’s email server will temporarily reject the mail message. This could be for a number of reasons:
The server is overloaded.
The mailbox is full.
Employing a method known as greylisting. They temporarily reject the message since it is the first time you are sending them email. Any legitimate email server will try again after a certain amount of time has lapsed and the client’s email server will accept the message.
Client’s email server is down for maintenance.
Our servers will continue to try for 72 hours to deliver a deferred message.
This is probably the most obvious, yet the most deceiving status out of all of them. I like to describe this using the following scenario:
You are sending a letter to your friend’s business that is located in another town/state/country. The letter goes through the postal system (internet) and gets “delivered” to your friend’s business. We consider this “delivered”. It does not mean that your friend actually got it yet. It was just delivered to their mail server (in our example, the place of business). In a perfect scenario, the secretary picks up the mail then puts the letter in your friend’s mailbox. But, we do not live in a perfect world so there are a few things that can go wrong here:
The secretary can see that letter as SPAM and throw it away. Your friend doesn’t know it was delivered and you have no idea that they didn’t get it.
The secretary can place that in mailbox of someone else other than your friend. Again, your friend did not get the letter.
The secretary decides to label it as SPAM and put it in your friend’s SPAM box instead of the appropriate mail box. Your friend may see the letter if they decided to check that specific mailbox.
So even though it is marked as delivered, the ONLY way we know for sure they got it is if they click on a link within that email. I’ll explain why we don’t really know if they opened it in that respective section below.
This is the second most deceiving status right behind Delivered. When we send an email out, our ESP adds a small 1px image known as a tracking image. For those email clients that support images (and it is turned on to load by default), when that image is loaded, we get a notification that the message has been opened. There are a couple scenarios where this is may not be exactly true:
The anti-spam software installed on the client’s server is loading images to verify their safety against viruses, etc. Since the tracking image is loaded, we get a notification it has been opened even though it is just the anti-spam software checking the validity of the images.
GMail started loading images by default. This will trigger an open event, even though the client might not have actually opened the message.
As I mentioned in the Delivered section, the only way you know 100% for sure that the client saw the email is if you see a Clicked event. This happens when you send them a mail message with a link it in it like the Proposal Invitation, or a message that includes a link to an Order or a Contract.
The mail message was rejected by the client’s mail server. There are a number of reasons for this, but here are the more common scenarios:
Their server is misconfigured.
Their domain server setup is incorrect.
Their server outright rejects the message for being too spammy, for being from an unknown sender, etc.
Their server is overloaded and is not accepting any mail messages and we tried at least 3 times to deliver the message and it failed.
The mail box was full and we tried at least 3 times to deliver the message.
Finally, a spam report event happens when the client marks the mail message you sent them as SPAM.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are there so many open events logged?
Every time the client loads the message (or any part of their software does), an open event is triggered.
I just sent an email to the client, why am I not seeing any events in my log?
Our ESP (SendGrid) queues events and batch sends them to us. There are times when they get behind or have some system issues and stop processing them which then leads to them getting behind. This is generally short lived and we start receiving the events.
Why isn’t my client opening their email?
As I mentioned above, the only guarantee that we know the client has looked at the email is if they click on a link. It could be that their email client is not loading images, or that the mail message was marked as SPAM.
Why is my email going to the Promotions tab in Gmail?
This could be for a number of reasons. This is a relatively new addition to GMail where they auto sort email for you and because of that not a whole lot is understood about the mechanics of it. There are a few articles I found interesting that give us a bit of insight, but without something official from Google you have to take these things with a grain of salt: