If email is a part of your digital marketing strategy, you’re most likely focused on growing your list and keeping it healthy. With 2.5% of data going bad within just one month, using an email validation service becomes a basic hygiene measure. You may have used such a service already, or you may still be wondering what the difference is between email validation and email verification. How can each of them help you and which one should you go for? Let’s shed some light on this topic.

While the two terms are often used interchangeably, there is actually a notable difference between them. Understanding that difference will help you make a better choice when it comes to email cleaning tools.

Email validation: checking for the email’s format

The process of email validation starts and ends with a simple mission: to check the format of an email address and to see whether a mail record really exists for a certain domain. Is the email syntax correct and does the domain exist? Email validation will answer these questions. However, it can’t tell you for sure if the email address really exists and is active.

Email verification: checking whether the account receives mail

Email verification is a more sophisticated method that checks whether a certain account is not only valid, but also active and open to receive email. In other words, does the email address really exist and does it have a recipient accepting emails? While an email validation service will give you quick and reliable feedback on a contact, an email verification system gathers enough proof to tell you whether that address is indeed accurate.

Why email verification matters

For anyone doing business online, being able to validate the integrity of an email address is essential. Companies need to verify emails all the time — for communication purposes, for invoices and other sales-related activities. The Internet facilitates tremendous business opportunities, but there are also many traps it exposes us to. Email verification is a process all email addresses should go through to avoid dubious players, bots, to eliminate fraud and phishing, and make sure your message reaches a real human.

Now, let’s say you’ve validated and verified an email list and you know that 90% of it is made of real email addresses. Is there any way you can find out whether those recipients are going to interact with your content? Yes, there is, and it offers decisive feedback on your email list quality.

Email scoring: a little more than email hygiene

The value of your email list doesn’t consist in the number of addresses you’ve gathered, but rather in how many of them are genuine – meaning they belong to actual humans. Email verification assesses that, thus helping you build up a good sending reputation and ensuring your deliverability.

Email scoring goes beyond the email verification process. Its mission is to determine how likely your contacts are to engage with your email content. An email scoring system will analyze every lead in your database and establish its activity levels. It’s usually built to return something called a “quality score” that lets you know how valuable a certain email address is. Is the score on the lower end? You can still email that address, but don’t expect enthusiastic engagement. The higher the score, the greater the likelihood for that recipient to click and open your emails.

There aren’t many email verification services on the market that also offer email scoring, but those that do manage to provide marketers with much better feedback on their data quality.

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