Spam filters in Outlook for Business

If your company's marketing emails are ending up in your own spam folder in Outlook this can understandably cause a bit of confusion and raise questions about the deliverability in general. Are all your emails considered as spam? Are you not getting through to your recipients?

The reality is that the consumer domains (that you're normally sending emails to) differ quite a bit compared to Outlook for Businesses. Generally speaking, Outlook for Business is by default set to be pretty hard on marketing emails - for good reasons. This is a business platform and you should not be disturbed by non-work emails. Makes sense, right?

Therefore, most standard settings will “catch" the email if it seems remotely suspicious or spam like. It is also common that your emails will end up in the spam folder if you send multiple test messages to yourself within a short time period. Outlook's spam filter may be triggered as it thinks multiple copies of the same emails are sent to your address. This normally means that somebody is blasting emails towards you which can be considered as spamming.

The spam- and sender qualifying filters for ISP's* like Gmail and Outlook Live have a better understanding for the concept of marketing emails and have more sophisticated segments to understand the communication.

This is what you can do

  • Talk to your IT-department and ask them to whitelist traffic from the sender address you are using for your marketing emails.

  • Understand your list - who are you sending to? If your audience consists of consumers, then getting stuck in Outlook for Business may not be an issue as most consumers use their private email address for these types of communication.

  • Analyze opens - Are the open rates where you expect them to be? If so, this is most likely no issue. Are the open rates dropping? Check the open rates for your Top 10 domains and see if your rate is dropping there. Most likely, this is the case.

Regardless of the above - you may need to reach customers that use Outlook for Business, right? If you have a group of loyal customers using Outlook, of course you need to! But before you jump to conclusions based on the fact that you're not getting your own emails in the inbox - analyze the data. Look into all your best customers that isn't in the Top 15 domains. Measure how their email engagement is and act accordingly.


*ISP = Internet Service Provider or Inbox Service Provider. In this case, we use ISP as a collective term for the companies providing the email services i.e. Gmail Outlook Live and Yahoo.

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