Direct Mail: Create USPS Informed Delivery Ads

What is USPS Informed Delivery? It allows customers who sign up to receive emails with grey-scale images of the address side of letter-sized mail pieces that have processed through automated equipment. Why is this helpful for companies that send direct mail?

Informed Delivery

What is USPS Informed Delivery? It allows customers who sign up to receive emails with grey-scale images of the address side of letter-sized mail pieces that have processed through automated equipment. Why is this helpful for companies that send direct mail? You are now able to send the post office your artwork along with your mail.dat file to be included in the email that is sent to customers with a link to a web page of your choice for the campaign. Basically, customers get a digital preview of their mailbox. This means that prior to getting your mail piece, people can click on your link and start buying.

Here is an example:

How it works:

  • Your content is associated with an individual mail campaign. You can run multiple campaigns at one time for a single mailing. You may also run multiple mailings and campaigns simultaneously.
  • Each campaign is triggered by and mapped to a single Mailer ID that is used on the mail pieces. You may set a date range, as well.
  • Mailers can also use the Serial Number range within the Intelligent Mail® barcode to provide a greater level of personalization.
  • When a mail piece scan for an enrolled Informed Delivery user and the MID or Serial Number in the IMb is associated with an active mailer campaign, the customer will see your customized content that you provided to the USPS.

If you would like more detailed information you can check out the USPS guide at:

This is an easy way to add a channel to your direct mail. Since customers have signed up to get the emails you can easily provide color artwork they will want to click on. So what do you need to qualify to participate in this program?

  1. Mail pieces must be automation compatible
  2. Mail pieces must contain a valid IMb
  3. You or your mail service provider must be IMb certified

This is a free program, so why not try it out and see if your customers like it?

How to Participate:

The process is simple; you create and send the normal hardcopy mail, then provide USPS with your image content and web address. There are two ways you can run informed delivery campaigns:

  1. Ride-along Image and Target URL: This campaign includes the USPS gray scale scanned image of the letter-size mail piece and an image provided by the mailer. This image is placed below the gray-scale image in the email. The Ride-along Image is clickable and so is the “Learn More” link. These are both linked to the same URL.
  2. Representative Image, Ride-along Image, and Target URL: In addition to the required Ride-along Image and URL, this dual campaign includes an image that is provided in lieu of a flat-size image or in place of the gray-scale letter-size image. In this version, your images are static, they are not clickable. The images must be clearly branded and must be directly related to the hard copy mail piece. One more thing, images are optional for letter-size mailings; but required for a flat-size mailing.

Now you are ready for the required components to actually do your campaign:

  • Campaign Display Name
  • Campaign Title
  • Campaign Code
  • Campaign Start Date
  • Campaign End Date
  • MID on Piece
  • IMb Serial Number Range
  • Image and URL
  • Images must not exceed 200 kilobytes
  • Images must be in JPEG (.jpg) format
  • Images must meet minimum or maximum pixel height/width, which varies per image type
  • Images must be representative of the brand or mail owner and directly related to the mail pieces

Now you are ready to submit your campaign. There are two ways to submit an Informed Delivery campaign, via the Mailer Campaign Portal or PostalOne!. The Mailer Campaign Portal is currently in beta testing. With PostalOne! mailers enter campaigns. You may also edit campaigns here. Are you ready to get started?

Author: Summer Gould

A blog about Direct Mail Marketing, tips, tricks and what not to do.Summer Gould is President of Eye/Comm Inc. Summer has spent her 27 year career helping clients achieve better marketing results. She has served as a panel speaker for the Association of Marketing Service Providers conferences. She is active in several industry organizations and she is a board member for Printing Industries Association San Diego, as well as a board member for Mailing Systems Management Association of San Diego. You can find her at Eye/Comm Inc’s website:, email:, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @sumgould.

2 thoughts on “Direct Mail: Create USPS Informed Delivery Ads”

  1. Direct mail continues its resurgence. Six years ago I wrote an article, Direct Mail’s Resurgence and New role in Integrated Marketing for Target Marketing. And unlike industry pundits, I predicted that direct mail would make a come-back and succeed based on the right strategies to the right audiences and integrate with digital; hence making direct mail part of the omnichannel presence.

    Have you noticed anything different about the contents of your postal box lately? Or, perhaps the connectivity of your postal box to your email thanks in part to the USPS’s Informed Delivery program in which postal customers sign up to receive advance notification and scans of the mail to their inbox.

    Talk about a new type of “teaser.” Years back retailers like JC Penney would send an advance postcard mailing with a special offer code alerting of the forthcoming seasonal catalog. What a terrific way to create a sense of urgency and awareness of a new sale or new offer.

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