Informed Delivery is a Postal Service program that provides consumers with images of the mail arriving in their mailboxes in the next day or two. The exterior, address side of incoming letter-sized mail pieces are scanned while going through postal processing equipment. Users can see the scanned images each day via email notification, online dashboard, or mobile app.
It is a simple process to sign up for Informed Delivery at https://informeddelivery.usps.com/box/pages/intro/start.action. Mail is scanned as it goes through automated processing and the images are matched to the delivery point in the postal barcode. The recipient receives the mail piece images daily, and typically the mail arrives the same day, but occasionally the following day.
An Informed Delivery Email Notification is shown at the left with the basic black and white images of the mail pieces.
How do consumers view their mail using Informed Delivery?
- Most users (79%) view their mail in their daily email.
- 11% use the Informed Delivery dashboard.
- 10% use the USPS mobile app.
The emails have a high open rate with 64.7% of the notifications opened daily. 86% of consumers are satisfied or very satisfied with the program and 90% would recommend Informed Delivery to friends, family, or colleagues.
From a business mailer’s perspective, basic Informed Delivery with a grayscale image of their mail packages provides a bit of value. It allows consumers to get an advanced notice that the mail piece is coming, creating an additional impression of the company and/or product.
However, business mailers can take the program a step further by adding a small color ad that links to a web page – creating an interactive digital and mail campaign. A color image can also replace the black and white image of the mail piece. The color ad and mail piece image will stand out in a consumer’s Informed Delivery notifications, giving them a sneak peak of the mail piece that will soon be delivered in their mailbox. They can also click on the link in the ad and respond immediately to the offer via the web page. When the mail piece is delivered, it reinforces the offer and provides a second opportunity for the recipient to respond.
An Informed Delivery campaign provides mailers with the following benefits:
- Build product / brand awareness
- Create multiple impressions
- Drive customer response
- Enhance product experience
- Potentially increase ROI
- Provide data for analysis
Setting up an Informed Delivery campaign is simple, especially if your mail service provider handles all the postal setup.
- Create a Ride-along image that is the small color ad that appears below the image of the mail piece. It is linked to a webpage to respond to the offer or provide more information.
- Develop the URL that is linked to the Ride-along image. It can take consumers to a website, a landing page for the offer, or a pass-through landing page to capture responses.
- A Representative image of the mail piece is optional for letters but required for flats. This color image must closely resemble the front or back of the mailer and replaces the grayscale scanned image of the package.
- Setup the campaign in the USPS Business Customer Gateway (BCG). Mail service providers like J&Q can take care of this step.
- The images and URL must be approved by the USPS before mailing.
Once the campaign is set up in the BCG and approved, the packages are produced and mailed. The mail pieces are scanned as they are processed through USPS automation equipment. The interactive campaign images are matched to Informed Delivery users based on the 11-digit delivery point ZIP code in the outgoing address. Informed Delivery users see the mail that will be arriving in their notifications.
Post-campaign reports include a summary, as well as a detailed report providing the number of Informed Delivery emails sent, opened and click-throughs.
What generates more response – the black and white image of the scanned mail piece (with the person’s name and address) or the generic color representative image? From our friends at Snailworks – the Postal Service has indicated that in their testing they consistently saw higher click through rates on ads that did not replace the black & white image. But, as they have continued to test, they have seen the rate flip, with color images drawing almost double the number of clicks. Business mailers may want to test the two types of images as they do their own interactive campaigns.
Running an Informed Delivery Promotion is a USPS promotion, earning mailers an upfront 2% discount on postage. Registration for the promotion begins on July 15. The promotion period for the mailings is September 1 through November 20, 2021. Eligible mail includes First-Class letters, postcards and flats, as well as Marketing Mail and Nonprofit Mail automation letters and flats.
For more information on Informed Delivery and the Promotion download J&Q’s white paper.