Boomerang's A.I. Can Predict Which Emails Will Get a Response

Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

It sucks when people don’t respond to email. Most of the time this can be attributed to them suffering from email overload — but what if some of the blame lies with the many people who don’t send messages worth responding to?

Boomerang has introduced a tool called Respondable that uses artificial intelligence to help those people send better email and get more replies. That way, if the email still doesn’t get some kind of response, it isn’t the sender’s fault.

Respondable’s artificial intelligence analyzes different factors — subject length, word count, question count, reading level, and others — while its user is typing. It then uses information gleaned from other users to weigh those factors together and figure out whether the email is likely to get a reply or languish in an inbox.

Those factors have been used before to help people figure out whether or not they’re likely to get a reply. Short emails get few replies, for example, while messages containing attachments will usually get a response.

Boomerang also taught Respondable to weigh other, more experimental factors like the message’s positivity, politeness, and subjectivity to see how they affect responses. These factors are harder to quantify, but could give a better clue as to how likely someone is to respond to an email based on its tone and mannerisms.

Respondable is just one of the ways companies are making email better. Google’s short-lived mic drop feature was interesting but flawed, while the ability to “unsend” emails is like a gift from the email gods.

Finally, an artificial intelligence that can help a lot of people without stirring up fears of someone developing SkyNet. Now if only it could teach us how to communicate in meatspace, too.

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