SaaS Emailing – Short review of SendGrid Email Service

In 2015, the worldwide SaaS market was valued at approximately US $80 billion. According to Forbes magazine, “by 2020, it will grow by estimated 69% to become over $130-billion-dollar industry” (Forbes.com, 2017). The incredibly fast rate at which SaaS adoption grows is primarily the result of a very positive attitude towards ‘software as a service’ model among businesses of all sizes. The following post introduces one of such SaaS technologies, called ‘SendGrid Email.’

SendGrid Email Service

SendGrid was established in 2009 by three engineers who produced “an industry-disrupting, cloud-based email service to solve the challenges of reliably delivering emails on behalf of growing companies.” (SendGrid, 2017). SendGrid was created as a user-friendly solution and designed as an easy to plug-into, yet very scalable tool.

Popularity

It took SendGrid only a year to send their 1st billion customer emails. However, it was only after the service converted to Amazon AWS cloud, that they became so trendy. According to Amazon, even though SendGrid SaaS is a relative newcomer to SaaS, they have quickly become the most utilized cloud email service in the world, Amazon says: “SendGrid sends over one billion emails per day and is trusted by leading senders like Uber, Airbnb, and Spotify.” (Aws.amazon.com, 2017).

Flexibility

For Everyone – For customers not versed in programming, SendGrid offers an intuitive interface through which customers can effortlessly draft and send their emails.

For Marketers – SendGrid offers UI that allows a complete analysis of the statistics of email campaign results. There are many ways to configure email campaign dashboards. One such example is shown here:

However, users of SendGrid are not necessarily tied to their AWS platform only. For example, clients that use Microsoft Cloud can use Azure Power BI to process SendGrid data. Figure 1 illustrates such Power BI dashboards for SendGrid. Power BI shows results of a SendGrid email campaign in an entirely different visual form, including details about email delivery, stats on the total number of clicks, spam details or subscription info.

Figure 1 – Monitor SendGrid stats using Power BI – (Team, 2017).

For Developers – Lastly, for companies with a need to incorporate SendGrid directly into the software, SendGrid exposes all the app capabilities through code controllable SMTP or Web API integration, which shows the power and flexibility of the tool.

 

 

FAQ

1. It’s difficult to judge the quality of an Email API provider. 2. Delivery reputation is a big issue. 

The great reputation of SendGrid IPs is actually why customers go to SendGrid. There is no better thing to prove this, as the testimonial by an actual SendGrid customer (Figure 2)

Figure 2 – Aws.amazon.com. (2017)

 

3. SendGrid doesn’t return a unique ID when sending an email, and there is no way to query their system about a particular email.

According to(Figure Sendgrid.com (2017), “SendGrid will create a Message-ID for each individual message you send through our systems. This Message-ID information can be viewed in certain events in the SendGridActivity Feed as well as Event Webhook POST data.” (Sendgrid.com, 2017)

SendGrid still claims that there is an exception for the emails sent using direct SMTP integration, those won’t have the Message-ID assigned.

 

4. They may neglect smaller customers.

Not true. SendGrid allow to “Send 100,000 emails per month for $19.95/Month” (SendGrid, 2017). I looked at the bunch of emailing services and SendGrid is so affordable for small business, it’s actually a hard to believe they can create profit at that cost. No wonder their customers send over billion emails a day. It’s truly one of the most affordable services out there.

 

5. Email providers suffer from downtime and service delays. When the primary provider (eg. SendGrid) goes down, we need automatic failover to quickly switch to another provider.

Since SendGrid switched to Amazon AWS, I looked at the history of their service tickets and other than regular maintenance, there is rarely any occasion of their mail delivery system being down.

 

Conclusion

Why has SendGrid evolved so quickly to become de facto a standard in SaaS emailing?

In my view, it is because ‘emailing’ is still one of the most widely used communication mechanisms between the businesses and their customers.

The businesses use email to send the newsletters, promotional emails, order confirmations, shipping notices, customer support emails, and it does not end there. They also use email as a mechanism to verify customer identity during the sign-up process, and it is still one of the quickest methods to send verification emails about forgotten client passwords.

There are many other uses to email that I have failed to mention. I think that primarily due to the vast versatility of email it will remain one of the most central services of all.

As such, I believe, SendGrid SaaS service could be a useful SaaS addition to practically any corporation, large or small.

 

References

Forbes.com. (2017). Forbes Welcome. [online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2015/01/24/roundup-of-cloud-computing-forecasts-and-market-estimates-2015/#ea650ccdb7a7 [Accessed 28 Sep. 2017].

SendGrid. (2017). About Us | SendGrid. [online] Available at: https://sendgrid.com/about/ [Accessed 28 Sep. 2017].

Aws.amazon.com. (2017). AWS Marketplace: SendGrid Email Service. [online] Available at: https://aws.amazon.com/marketplace/pp/B074CQY6KB?ref_=%22saas_products_all%22_B074CQY6KB_16 [Accessed 28 Sep. 2017].

Team, T. (2017). Monitor and track your SendGrid email delivery stats using Power BI | Microsoft Power BI Blog | Microsoft Power BI. [online] Powerbi.microsoft.com. Available at: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/monitor-and-track-your-sendgrid-email-delivery-stats-using-power-bi/ [Accessed 29 Sep. 2017].

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