How do I perform a spam test?

To learn how to generate a new spam test please follow the step-by-step instructions below. If you’re experiencing an issue with your spam test please visit the FAQ section.

STEP-BY-STEP

On the Spam tab in your account, click the green Start a new Spam Test button on the upper right side of the page.

start-spam-test

Start a test using an ESP connection

To learn about starting a Spam Test with an ESP connection, see this article.  The below instructions are for manually starting a Spam Test using seed email addresses generated by Litmus.

Start a test using the “Manual Send” option

Send the email manually from your email service provider (ESP) to all the seed addresses that appear in the list. It’s important to note that this list is uniquely generated for each new Spam test.  You will get a new set of addresses for each test. You can either copy the list and paste into your ESP or download a CSV list of the emails for easier importing into your ESP.

manual send spam test

Once we’ve received your email results will start to be reported within your Litmus account. The Summary page provides a visual overview of the results.

spam-summary

You can choose to view all results by clicking on Results on the left side menu, and by default we’ll show you only the test results that returned an issue. Alternatively, you can view an individual test by clicking on the corresponding square.

To understand more about your results click the Learn More links in each individual test.

spam-result

FAQ

How do I start a Spam test with an ESP connection?

Connecting your ESP to Litmus makes it fast and easy to start a Spam test. Simply select the draft email to test and Litmus will automatically use your ESP connection to get your email scanned across 25+ different deliverability tests and blacklists.  See this article for instructions. 

Can I re-test my email by sending it to the same list of addresses?

No. Each new spam test requires you to send your email to a new list of seed addresses. Whilst some of the addresses may be the same or look similar, the majority of the list are unique addresses that need to receive the email in order to return complete results to your Litmus account.

Why am I receiving a “We can’t find your test email” message?

The most common reason for this message is because your email was not received at the key email address in the seed list provided. This could be because it was simply missed off or the email was sent to an old, previously used list.

As you send your email to external spam filters, we need to be able to match your email from all these third parties back to your Litmus account. The only way for us to do so is to match the email you sent to Litmus’ email address (which looks like xxxxxx@s.litmustest.com) to the emails that arrive in the third party appliances.

Another common reason for not receiving results is because the message’s Content-Type is text/plain. We currently do not process text/plain messages for Spam Tests.

If you continue to receive this message after sending to a new spam seed list, your ESP is showing that the email was successfully delivered to the key email address, and the message is not text/plain please reach out to the Support team who will be happy to help you.

Why is an individual test unavailable?

The most likely cause of an individual test being unavailable is because your email was not received at the corresponding seed address. This could be because it was simply missed, the email was sent to an old, previously used list or that the email was not successfully delivered by your ESP.

Another cause of this may be that we were not able to match the email received by this test to your Litmus account. This can happen if you are using variable content in the subject line, usually for personalisation. If the content differs too much it is possible that we are not able to match the message with enough certainty to your account.

If the test continues to be unavailable after sending to a new spam seed list, and your ESP is showing that the email was successfully delivered (and not bounced) to all email addresses, please reach out to the Support team who will be happy to help. If you’re ESP is showing your email was not delivered to all addresses, please provide the Support team with the logs or a screenshot of the information and they can investigate this further with you.

My ESP doesn’t allow me to send a test email to that many email addresses

We understand that some email service providers limit the number of addresses you can send a test email to. If this is the case you can send the email in batches — as long as they are all sent within an hour we should return a complete test.

My email has been marked as spam, how do I fix my email?

Spam testing is tricky because they won’t tell you exactly why your email failed — mainly because that would allow spammers to get around their algorithms!

It’s also important to note that each recipient of your email has their own rules/filters set up and how each inbox treats the same email is unique to the recipient since it learns from their behaviour in their own inbox.

You can often find further information by taking a look at the full email headers. Email headers are usually hidden from view however they contain a lot of interesting information about how your email has been handled, where it’s been routed and other key metadata. You can view the headers by clicking the link within each placement test.

spam-headers-fail

On first glance you may be overwhelmed by all the information presented however by scrolling through the information you may come across a few lines relating to the spam result.

In our example, the email has failed the MessageLabs test. Looking at the headers for MessageLabs the reason being passed back to us is that the email was given a spam score of 50 (the threshold being 7.0) and that this was determined heuristically. This means it was based on their algorithm and not solely on a specific piece of criteria such as being found on a major blacklist.

spam-header-reasons

Spam algorithms are proprietary information and so they won’t reveal much more information about how they scored your email. The best advice we can give is to follow any recommended actions in the Learn More panel and to follow all best practice spam guidelines.

 

Spam testing is available on our Plus and Pro level subscription plans. If you are on a Basic subscription, you can upgrade your plan to access Spam Testing from within the Billing tab of your Litmus account.

Try it for yourself!

Now that you know how to perform a Spam Test, try it for yourself! Head on over to Spam Testing to run your first test.

Run a Spam Test →

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