Movie Lovers' Social Site Flixster Improves Click-Through Rates up to 300% with Return Path Gold and Certification


Flixster.com is the leading social networking website for movie enthusiasts, with more than 30 million unique visitors per month and two billion movie ratings. The company also owns the popular movie review site www.RottenTomatoes.com, and operates movie applications on Facebook, MySpace, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. With nearly 30 million email addresses on file, email is a critical communication tool for Flixster. In fact, email is the foundation of Flixster’s success and essential to its future growth. The company relies on the channel for everything from new member acquisition to ongoing communications and their popular newsletter program. Flixster is more than a website, it is a community of movie enthusiasts – and email powers this community, as most actions – writing a review, chatting about movies and other activities – trigger emails. If those messages fail to arrive in the inbox, a key benefit of Flixster membership is lost.


With email playing such a critical role, ensuring that messages are delivered to the inbox as intended is crucial to Flixster’s overall business success. The company wanted the assurance of near perfect inbox placement rates – and the high open and click rates that result. Simply put, Flixster could not afford to lose member engagement and new subscriber opportunities to blocking, filtering and other deliverability problems. Beyond ensuring that messages arrive, making sure the email renders properly with images and links enabled is also very important.


Armed with the knowledge of the importance of email deliverability to its business, Flixster chose the Return Path Gold service. As a Return Path Gold client, Flixster uses Return Path’s industry-leading technology including seed-based deliverability monitoring so they always know where their email ends up. Thanks to Return Path’s rendering technology the Flixster team knows how good or how bad their campaigns look in the leading email readers. Plus, Flixster has access to Return Path’s team of deliverability and email infrastructure experts. To support their monitoring efforts, Flixster applied for and was accepted to the Return Path Certification whitelist. Return Path Certification was especially important for Flixster since the majority of their email file is comprised of Hotmail and Yahoo! accounts. Return Path Certification is used by Hotmail and Yahoo! to differentiate legitimate messages from spam – and both providers automatically enable images and links for emails sent by Return Path Certification members.


Proactive investments in deliverability technology and services are really paying off for Flixster. Chief Technology Officer, Saran Chari noted that, “It would certainly be reasonable to say that our click-through rates have increased by 200% or 300% because of our partnership with Return Path”. Furthermore, 90% or more of Flixster’s emails are reaching the inbox with images and links enabled – making their campaign two or three times more effective than before engaging with Return Path. Chari concludes that the “thoughtful management” of email traffic was integral in building Flixster into the brand it is today – the most popular online community for movie lovers.