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Email Distribution Management

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About Email Distribution Management

Once you have emailed survey invitations through Qualtrics, you will see a block with your distribution information and actions you can perform on them. Here you can view your distribution details, send Reminder and Thank You emails, cancel or delete distributions, and download the distribution history. These different options allow you to manage your email distribution and monitor progress.

Distributions tab of a survey, Emails selected to left, see two purple boxes with names of contact lists, times they distributed, and the number of emails sent

Overview of Distribution Information and Options

Each time an email distribution is scheduled to be sent, it is recorded as a separate distribution block in the Emails section. Within each distribution block, you’ll find relevant information about the status of the distributed emails and surveys.

Email distribution settings

  1. Email to Contact List: The individual or contact list your distribution was sent to and the total number of contacts in the distribution.
    Qtip: In this example, the contact list has the date it was created in the name. This is unrelated to the date the distribution was sent / scheduled for.
  2. Sent On / Scheduled For: The date and time the distribution was sent. If the distribution has not yet been sent, the scheduled time will be listed in blue. The timezone will match the one set for your account.
  3. Emails Sent: The current number of emails delivered out of the total distribution.
    Attention: Occasionally, the distribution will show a larger number of Emails Sent than what shows up in the downloaded email history. This will happen when members of the contact list that were originally recipients have been deleted. Deleted contacts will not appear in the download, but deleting contacts has no effect on the Emails Sent statistic.
  4. Emails Failed: The number of emails that did not leave our servers. The most common cause of a failed email is an incorrectly formatted email address, such as a missing @. This number does not include bouncebacks.
  5. Surveys Started: The number of surveys where the recipient has at least clicked on the link, but hasn’t submitted the survey.
  6. Surveys Finished: The number of surveys sent out in the distribution that have been submitted.
  7. Emails Bounced: The number of emails that were rejected by the recipient server.
    Qtip: There are two types of bounces: hard bounces and soft bounces. Hard bounces are emails that can’t be delivered due to a permanent reason. This could include the email address not existing, the recipient server not accepting emails, or the domain not being a real email domain. Soft bounces are emails that can’t be delivered due to temporary reasons. The recipient email inbox could be full, the email could be too large, or the recipient email server could be temporarily down. Qualtrics automatically retries sending soft bounces after a period of time.
  8. Duplicate Emails: The number of duplicate emails prevented from sending. Duplicate emails are emails with the exact same message and recipient as another email that went out. For example, if your contact list has the same email address on it multiple times, this will be seen as a duplicate, and to prevent your entire distribution from being flagged as spam, the Qualtrics mailer will not send these out. See the Editing Contacts in a List page for help consolidating duplicates in your contact list.
  9. Complaints: The number of notifications Qualtrics servers receive from the email provider when a recipient clicks ‘Report Spam’ (or equivalent) for a Qualtrics originated email. See the Avoid Being Marked as Spam page for more details.
    Attention: Not all email providers send reports to Qualtrics servers, so the actual number may be greater.
    Qtip: Your email is more likely to be blocked or put in a spam folder if you are sending distributions to low-quality email addresses. Make sure you know who your recipients are.
  10. Actions Menu: When you click the dropdown arrow, you will see the following options:
    • Edit Distribution: This option only appears if you have scheduled your distribution to go out some time in the future. Edit your email message, your recipients, and more.
    • View DistributionThis option only appears if the email distribution has already sent. Here, you can take a look at the message you sent out, including any advanced options you selected.
    • Schedule Reminder: Schedule a reminder email to go out to your respondents who haven’t finished yet.
    • Schedule Thank You: Schedule a thank you email to go out to all finished respondents.
    • Download History: Download the links, link expirations, and status of all the email addresses in the distribution. See the Distribution Statuses page for a list of all the possible statuses and what they mean.
    • Cancel Distribution: This option only appears if the email distribution is scheduled for the future. This option cancels the distribution so it never goes out.
    • Halt and Delete Distribution: This option only appears if the email distribution has been sent, and is still in the process of sending. This gives you the opportunity to delete the distribution before it goes out. You only have as long as it takes the email to send before this option disappears.
    • Delete Distribution: This option only appears if the email distribution has already sent. Deleting a distribution deletes the links that haven’t been clicked yet.
Qtip: For more information on email statuses, such as emails sent, bounced, or failed, see the Distribution Statuses page.

Standard vs. Compact View

All of the same information, including the dropdown of distribution actions, can be viewed in a more compact, list-like form. Use the icons in the upper-right to switch between the standard view and a more list-like view.

A gif of the hamburger icons in the upper-right. When the thinner lines on the right are clicked, the purple distributions disappear and are replaced with lists of contacts

Viewing and Editing a Distribution

Depending on whether your distribution has already been sent, you will be able to either view the message that was sent, or edit it before it goes out.

Viewing Sent Distributions

If your email has already been sent, you won’t be able to make any changes to it, but you will be able to see what contact list it went to, when it was sent, what message was used, and other settings you may have applied.

Click the dropdown menu on the right of the distribution block and select View Distribution.

Viewing your distribution

You will be able to view all details of the message sent, including the From and Reply-to Emails, the time it was sent, the subject, the message in its entirety, and any additional advanced options you set.

Attention: If you used a saved Library message in your email, but modified the message after the Distribution was sent, when you view the distribution, you will see the most recently saved version of the message instead of the message that was sent.
Attention: If you schedule an email with a Library message, and then delete the saved message from your library, the distribution will not send out, and you will receive an error. If you click on the distribution, you will see that the ‘Message has been deleted.’ You can delete library messages after the distributions are sent, but when viewing the distribution afterwards, it will still show as ‘Message has been deleted.’

Editing Scheduled Distributions

If your email hasn’t been sent yet, you can make any changes you like, such as updating the message, send date, recipients, or link type.

  1. Click the dropdown menu on the right of the distribution block.
    Distribution dropdown menu. First option is edit distribution
  2. Select Edit Distribution.
  3. Make your desired changes. For more details on these settings, such as link types, inline questions, and configuring custom “From” addresses, see Emailing Survey Invitations.
    Edit email window. Save in green, bottom-right
  4. Click Save.

Downloading the Distribution History

Attention: The ability to download the distribution history will be disabled if you set your email link type to Anonymous.
Attention: All users can download the distribution history of survey invitation emails. If you have access to XM Directory or the new contacts experience, then you will also be able to download the distribution history of reminder and thank you emails as well.

The distribution history is a list of all the email recipients along with the current status of each survey invitation and the individual link generated for them. This downloadable history allows you to investigate which specific recipients have started the survey, which have finished, and which are not receiving the survey invitation.

Qtip: The distribution history references the contact list to which the invitations were sent at the moment you download the history. If contacts were deleted after distributing the survey, the downloaded distribution history will not be accurate for the deleted contacts.

To download the distribution history, go to the dropdown menu to the right of any distribution block and choose Download History.

Purple distribution, arrow to right, download history option second to last

You can also view the Distribution History for Reminder emails. If your Reminder emails have been sent, you can see the distribution statistics to the right and the send time to the left. In addition, you can see what message was sent by clicking on the dropdown and choosing View Distribution. If you have access to XM Directory or the new contacts experience, then you will also have the option to Download History which will allow you to download a file containing the status of each recipient in the distribution.

a reminder email distribution that's been expanded to see that stats and history for the distribution

The distribution history includes the following for each respondent:

  • Response ID: The unique identification code assigned to each recorded response. This field will only be filled once the recipient has finished their survey.
  • Last Name: The recipient’s last name as it appears in the contact list.
  • First Name: The recipient’s first name as it appears in the contact list.
  • External Data Reference: The recipient’s External Data Reference, as it appears in the contact list. This is not a required field.
  • Email: The recipient’s email address.
  • Status: The current condition of the respondent’s survey invitation. See the Distribution Statuses page for a list of all the possible statuses and what they mean.
  • End Date: The date and time the recipient finished the survey.
  • Link: The recipient’s personal survey link.
  • Link Expiration: The date and time the recipient’s survey link expires (for those who have not finished the survey).
    Qtip: Even if this link hasn’t expired, you may notice a link is not working due to the response expiring under the partial completion settings or the Survey Expiration date.

If you have XM Directory, your export will contain the following additional fields:

  • Contact Id: The ID for the contact on a directory level, regardless of mailing list.
  • Lookup Id: The ID of a specific contact in a specific mailing list.
  • Transaction Id: If this distribution is part of a transaction batch, this field will list the transaction ID.
  • Contact Frequency Rule Id: The internal ID of the contact frequency rule, if in effect for this distribution.
  • Exceeded Contact Frequency: Indicates if the distribution exceeded the contact frequency rules for the contact. This field will have a value of either TRUE (distribution exceeded contact frequency rules, therefore the contact did not receive the distribution), or FALSE (distribution did not violate any contact frequency rules).

Canceling or Deleting a Distribution

Each distribution gives you the option to either cancel or delete it, depending on the distribution status. For distributions that have not yet sent, you have the option to cancel and delete the distribution. For distributions that have already been sent, you have the option to remove the distribution record from your Emails section. If a distribution has already sent, then deleting the distribution will not remove the email you have sent from recipients’ inboxes.

Deleting the distribution will prevent individual survey links that have not yet been clicked on from being accessed. (Anonymous and multiple completes links are unaffected.) It will also remove the option to send reminder and thank you emails.

Warning: Be careful when deleting distributions. Once a distribution is deleted, it cannot be restored. That includes any unclicked links that were deactivated when the distribution was deleted.

To cancel or delete a distribution, open the dropdown menu to the right and select Cancel and Delete Distribution or Delete Distribution.

Top is a scheduled email. When you click the dropdown , the option is cancel and delete distribution. The bottom was already sent. The option is to delete the distribution

Halt and Delete Distribution

The Halt and Delete Distribution option only appears if the email distribution is currently Sending (see screenshot below), meaning you clicked Send, but the distribution hasn’t arrived at the recipients’ inboxes yet. This gives you the opportunity to delete the distribution before it goes out. You only have as long as it takes the email to send before this option disappears.

Distribution says it is sending... Dropdown has halt and delete option at the bottom

Additional Troubleshooting Resources

If you have questions about email deliverability, please make sure you also consult the following pages:

  • Troubleshooting Email Distributions: A guide to improving email deliverability.
  • Email Distribution Error Messages: Qualtrics has built in messages to let you know what you need to do to successfully send your emails. The errors described on this page occur for survey invitations, reminders, and thank you emails.
  • Avoid Being Marked as Spam: If you find that your emails from Qualtrics are consistently being marked as spam, there are a few things you can do to prevent this.
  • Using a Custom “From” Address: The email address you use to send email messages from Qualtrics has a large effect on your email deliverability and open rates. Using your own custom email address requires careful setup to ensure the best email deliverability possible.
  • Finding Qualtrics IDs: Visit this page to learn how to find the ID of a distribution if you need the ID for troubleshooting or to use with the Qualtrics API,