One of the questions we hear most often at Postmark is, What is the difference between transactional email and bulk or marketing email? In this article, we’ll explore the differences between bulk and transactional email and explain how Postmark Message Streams can help you optimize deliverability for all your application-based email.
What are Transactional emails?
Transactional email is typically a unique, high-priority message sent to a single recipient. They are often triggered by a user’s action and the user expects to receive the message. Here are a few examples of transactional emails:
- Welcome emails
- Order confirmations
- Comment notifications
- Password reset emails
Typically, these emails are sent specifically when the recipient performs some kind of action in your application. Transactional Message Streams in Postmark support Transactional emails.
What are Bulk emails?
A bulk email typically includes the same message content sent to multiple recipients at once. There is no action from the recipient that triggers bulk messages to be sent. Here are a few examples of bulk messages:
- Product update announcements
- Updated to Terms of Service
Postmark supports sending of bulk messages when they're sent through a Broadcast Message Stream in a Server.
Not sure if your message is transactional or a broadcast? Take our handy quiz where we help you determine!
What are the best practices for sending transactional and bulk emails from the same provider?
Because different types of email have various origins as well as vulnerabilities, we recommend separating transactional traffic from other types of email. When bulk and transactional messages are sent from the same IPs, receiving mail clients may classify more time-sensitive emails as bulk marketing which can lead to significant delays and deliverability issues.
Unlike many other email service providers, transactional and broadcast messages do not mix in Postmark, including IP ranges. This follows best practices for separating email reputation as recommended by inbox providers like Gmail. Keeping sending environments as distinct as possible in this way makes it easier for providers to recognize what’s safe to place in the inbox. By setting up separate Broadcast and Transactional streams in Postmark, we will automatically use different sending IPs and From domains
Can I send bulk emails with Postmark?
Yes. Message Streams makes it possible to send all application emails, including bulk messages, through Postmark.
In the past, Postmark optimized deliverability and time-to-inbox by restricting the email supported to transactional only. But we know that transactional messages aren’t the only type of application email that support great user experiences: bulk emails like product announcements, newsletters, and updates to terms-of-service, are just as critical. So instead of focusing on the type of email sent through Postmark, we’ve solved the bigger issue: making sure deliverability and time to inbox is optimized for all application email, no matter what category it falls into.
How does Postmark Message Streams work?
Postmark Message Streams offers a simple and intuitive way to route different types of messages through separate but parallel infrastructure. Each Message Stream is classified based on how the email is sent: transactional (sent to a single recipient) or broadcast (a.k.a. bulk application email sent to multiple recipients).
This classification helps us route emails through distinct sending pathways and IPs to optimize deliverability for all message types. Learn how to create and send from Message Streams.