Email Validation, Verification and Hygiene: What's the Difference?

February 9, 2021
By Lizzie Hoffman

TowerData Email Validation Verification Hygiene

As email marketers, you’ve definitely heard these terms before: validation, verification and hygiene. While they might seem to mean the same thing, these three processes have key differences that make all of them necessary for your email marketing program. Here are their  definitions and learn how each plays a role in a successful email strategy.

Email Validation

At its core, Validation is a technical look at the email address using SMTP tools to look at three main details when assessing an email address:

  • Syntax: Is there an @ sign present? Is there a top level domain? And are there any oddities in the email address like expletives or spammy phrases? 
  • Domain: Does this domain exist? Does it have a mail server?
  • Mailbox check: … 

Validation is what we call our full service at TowerData, though it consists of Validation, Verification and Hygiene. As Validation is the first pass at an email address assessment, it isn’t always conclusive on its own. There are further steps to take to ensure the final status of an email address, namely Verification and Hygiene.

Email Verification

Verification is the second step in the email assessment process and TowerData’s Validation service. At this point, the email address is analyzed against a number of historical data points from emails sent to that email address, such as:

  • Transactional data
  • Historical data
  • Open data
  • Bounce data

Verification helps you further determine if the response the server gave you was correct or incorrect, but this relies heavily on the data used to analyze the email address. Because TowerData has been around for 20 years, there is a large pool of historical data to pull from, thereby providing more concrete, certain Verification results.

Email Hygiene

The third and final step in the process and TowerData’s Validation service is Hygiene. This is probably the term you’ve heard most often in your email marketing career, and we’d agree it’s the most universally accepted term for a non-SMTP check. Hygiene also analyzes the email’s historical data, but more specifically looks at its historical risk factors, such as: Here’s what we check for in Hygiene:

  • Is this a potential spam trap email?
  • Is it a known complainer?
  • Is it tied to a spam litigator?
  • Does it pose a higher risk to email to?

As the market has matured, so have these three processes. But at the end of the day, quality of data remains a critical component of finding new revenue. At TowerData, we’ve compiled our historical email data over 2 decades, allowing our solution to provide the utmost confidence in the final result of the email. To learn more about our Email Validation service from a member of the team, click the button below to reach out.

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