What does USPS’s Informed Delivery® Mean for Marketers?

Informed Delivery, a new service offered by the USPS®, is a consumer-facing feature that provides users with digital previews of their household mail shortly before it arrives. Plus, marketers can have interactive elements added to the mail. Over 7 million people are enrolled, and 10,000 more are signing up daily. Since this can be a game-changer for marketers, let’s take deeper look at how it works, benefits and stipulations.

How Informed Delivery Works

Consumers that enroll in the Informed Delivery service receive scanned images of the exterior of incoming letter-size mailpieces (processed through automated equipment).* Images are available via email notification, online dashboard, or mobile app. The user can also:

  • Automatically track packages
  • Set up email and text alerts so they don’t need to enter tracking numbers
  • Enter USPS Delivery Instruction™ for their mail carrier

PLUS, if the mailer/marketer conducts an Informed Delivery interactive campaign, in addition to seeing a preview image of what’s about to arrive, consumers also see:

  • Banner ads related to the mail piece.
  • URLs that allow them to respond to calls-to-actions (CTAs) immediately.
  • Additional image ads that can actually replace the envelope image, with unique messaging and colorful graphics.

Flat mail–like magazines or odd sized mailers–can also ‘deliver’ a color image ad as well—which is good since preview scans of the pieces are not available yet. They all still show up in the recipient’s incoming list of mail about to arrive.

What’s in it For Brands and Marketers?

The Informed Delivery interactive campaigns can add a lot of value and benefits to your direct mail initiatives:

  • Generate multiple impressions from a single mailpiece. Each mailpiece scan generates additional messaging, graphics, and CTA’s.
  • Every mail piece generates at least three impressions—the notification, the banner ad, the actual piece—and they remain online fordays.
  • If other members of a household sign up, each of those email recipients also sees the same assets and banner ads for every mailer arriving in the box, resulting in expanded reach and even more impressions.
  • Increase engagement with your target audience. The campaigns offer a high email open rate of%—more than twice that of industry average.
  • Reach consumers digitally by merely knowing their physical address.
  • Receive a summary report for each campaign that shows the click through rates by zip code, allowing marketers to see which areas are generating the best response so they can optimize marketing spend. Additional reporting features are scheduled to come soon.
  • Drive consumer response with interactive content related to the mailpiece; potentially increasing ROI on direct mail spend.

Here’s How an Informed Delivery Interactive Campaign Might Look:

How Does the Technology Work?

The USPS service has used image technology for years as part of their mail sorting process. Now they’ve leveraging the same technology for this new purpose. For a letter, postcard, or flat to be eligible for Informed Delivery, it must be automation compatible and scanned through USPS equipment. All pieces need a valid IMb®, the bar code that appears at the bottom of the envelope. The service is available wherever electronic mail sorting is done for typical mail delivery.

When consumers go online to sign up, they can type in their zip code to verify if the service is available in their area. After a year of testing in a few major metropolitan areas, it is now fairly prevalent across the US.

How Can a Mailer/Marketer Participate?

In summary, you create hardcopy mail as usual, provide the USPS with your data elements and supplemental content, and induct the mail. To learn more, go to the USPS website:

What’s in it for Consumers?

Convenience, awareness, anticipation, and multiple ways to get additional information and respond. Program participants can see what’s coming, even if they’re away from home or traveling. They’ll know when to look out for important mail, with a heightened sense of awareness and engagement. 88% of them view the notifications in the morning, 11% in the afternoon, and 1% in the evening. And, they are mobile savvy: 59% view the notification on a mobile device, 33% on a computer or laptop, and 7% on a tablet.

Here what the USPS says about the user response:

  • 95% are satisfied or very satisfied with Informed Delivery
  • 95% view Informed Delivery notifications every day or almost every day
  • 96% would recommend Informed Delivery to friends, family, or colleagues

Bonus Blog: Mobile Optimization Tips

Over to YOU!

We’d welcome your thoughts on Interactive Informed Delivery campaigns. And, if you’ve done one (or more), what did you see as the pros and cons?

*Exterior images are only provided for letter-size mailpieces that are processed through USPS’ automated equipment. Color images from participating mailers are also included. Package tracking information on Priority Mail®, Priority Mail Express®, and other trackable parcels is also included.
Content and photo source:

Barbara Johnston

Barbara Johnston

Creative Director at Eclipse Marketing Services
Barbara has worked on new product launches and brand initiatives for Campbell’s Soup, AT&T, M&M/Mars, Johnson & Johnson, and Schering-Plough. Branding initiatives include brand guidelines, packaging, direct mail, web and print.
Barbara Johnston

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