Direct Mail

Mail Scanned for Informed Delivery

By 8 April 2024April 29th, 2024No Comments
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What Is USPS Informed Delivery, And How Can It Benefit Your Direct Mail Marketing?

Sending postal mail for your business can often become a patient person's game. It can take days to deliver, and you may stay in the dark until the mailer finally reaches its recipient. But is it always the case? Is there no better way to track your business mailer?

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Did you know that there is a way for you to track postal mailers from the start to the finish of the delivery cycle? Would you believe us if we said that you and the recipient can even get a picture of the mailpiece before it reaches its destination?

Sounds too good to be true? Well, we have two words for you: “Informed Delivery.” If you are unfamiliar with the USPS Informed Delivery service, you probably have many questions in mind now. You may wonder what Informed Delivery is and where mail is scanned for Informed Delivery.

To find out the answer to all these questions, we suggest that you keep reading this article.

What is USPS Informed Delivery?

Before we discuss where mail is scanned for informed delivery, we should explain the USPS Informed Delivery service. Informed Delivery is a nifty USPS optional service that lets the recipients get a digital preview of their incoming mail.

In other words, USPS Informed Delivery gives direct mail recipients early access to their incoming mail. It might surprise you that the Informed Delivery service from USPS does not cost any extra charges. However, there are a lot of confusion and misconceptions surrounding USPS Informed Delivery.

The Image

Apart from questions about where mail is scanned for Informed Delivery, a prominent misconception people have is the mailer's image. Some think that the USPS Informed Delivery enables them to read a sealed letter even before it reaches the recipient.

But in reality, the USPS can't open a sealed mailer and take a look inside even if the recipient is okay with it. In addition to that, users can only view grayscale images of the mailer's exterior. It means the recipient can get a look at the address side of the letter but never the content.

The Informed Delivery Tool

Another common confusion people have about USPS Informed Delivery's past mail is about the Informed Delivery tool. Most people are unsure about the tool's role or its intended purpose for the recipient. Here is a list of things the Informed Delivery tool can do.

  • The Informed Delivery tool records the images of the mailer after USPS scans it.
  • The sender receives notifications from the Informed Delivery tool as the mailer progresses through its delivery cycle.
  • After the mailer reaches its final destination, the Informed Delivery tool sned them a final scan notification informing them the delivery is completed.

Where is Mail Scanned For Informed Delivery?

As you very well know, USPS Informed Delivery past mail is a free and optional service. The real-time delivery notifications it offers help marketers launch complementary campaigns targeting the same group of customers.

The United States Postal Service takes digital images of the front side of letter-sized mailers. At this point, you already know that USPS does this because how else would Informed Delivery be possible? However, you may not know that this image is the original purpose of USPS taking pictures of the mailers.

USPS Automation Equipment

Some of you may not know this, but the USPS uses automation equipment for sorting and delivering your mailers. The images that USPS takes of the mailers were initially intended to help automate the sorting and delivery of mail.

Scanned Image For Informed Delivery

USPS uses the scanned image of the mailer at the beginning of the sorting and delivery process to provide its customers with digital notifications. The user gets the message before the delivery of the physical mail. As a result, both the sender and recipient have better visibility into the mail, which you can positively use for your marketing efforts.

Does USPS Scan Mail at The Local Post Office?

Now that you know USPS scans the mailer primarily for sorting and delivery, you might wonder, “Does USPS Scan Mail at The Local Post Office?” No, the scanning of the mailer does not happen at your local Post Office. The scanning process only occurs when the mailer reaches a large USPS sorting facility with advanced mail sorting equipment.

How Does Informed Delivery Work?

Let us assume that you have opted for USPS's optional Informed Delivery service for your business mailers. In that case, your target audience or the recipients will receive an email preview of the mailer before USPS delivers it.

The recipients can look at the images of their inbound mail before it physically reaches them. As we mentioned earlier, the scanning of the mailer is done so that USPS Informed Delivery past mail is quickly sorted and delivered.

Informed Visibility and The Flow of Information

At this point, you already have a good idea about USPS Informed Delivery past mail and the data you can access through it. However, you may still be confused about the flow of information in Informed Delivery. Not to worry, below, we discuss how and when you get the data from Informed Delivery.

1. When You Send The Mail

The flow of information in Informed Delivery starts when you send the mail, and the USPS scans the mailer. As soon as USPS receives and reviews the mailer, the data enters the tracking system. From this point, the sender can track the mailpiece using the Informed Visibility tool.

From the minute USPS scans your mailer and enters it into its tracking system, you can get valuable tracking information from USPS. Hence, you can see when your mailpiece enters the different stages in the delivery cycle right from the beginning.

2. When The Mailer Reaches Its Destination

When your USPS Informed Delivery past mail reaches its destination, USPS takes a final scan of the mailer. As the sender, you also receive this last scan from the USPS. The final scan also serves as proof of delivery for your business.

Near Real-Time Delivery Information

As you can see, with USPS Informed Delivery, you get near real-time delivery information for your business mailer. What does that mean for the sender? It means the sender can run complimentary campaigns alongside the direct mail campaign. Running email campaigns or social media ads targeting the same customers and direct mail maximizes each touchpoint's impact.

How to Access The Scanned Mailer Images?

There are several ways the mail recipient can access the scanned mailer images. The most common and convenient way to view the photos is through email. As long as you have opted for the USPS Informed Delivery option, your recipients should be able to receive an email notification.

Similarly, you can also get a notification upon the delivery of the mailer. And in case the mail is not an ideal option, you can get information on Informed Delivery via text message. Apart from this, you also can use the USPS mobile app, from which you can access even more information on the mailer. 

USPS Service Sign-Up

Using USPS Informed Delivery past mail requires signing up for USPS service. The sign-up process is pretty simple. You will be asked to enter your basic information and undergo a verification process. After the sign-up and verification, you will start receiving daily emails containing the scanned images of the first ten mailpieces you will receive.

What Information Can You Get From Informed Delivery?

Companies that use Informed Delivery for their direct mail communications gain rich insights into the USPS mail delivery process. When we say that you can access information at different stages of the delivery process, we mean every single step.

You can even learn when your letter moves from the sorting machine to the delivery trucks. And if that doesn't impress you, we don't know what will. And guess what?

You can track the details of the direct mail delivery right until the final delivery to the recipient's mailbox.

Did you know that with USPS Informed Delivery past mail, you can use a delivery-progress scan for each mailpiece? The mailers you send are classified into three categories, and they are

  • Being sorted
  • En route
  • Delivered

That means you can categorize your bulk mail into these three categories to get a holistic view of where your campaign stands. In addition to that, you can also view each mailpiece by delivery area, ZIP code, destination, campaign name, etc.

Why Should You Use Informed Delivery?

Many people prefer to see what they are about to receive in the mail every day. Perhaps not everyone may concern themselves with questions like where is mail scanned for informed delivery. However, there are plenty of other reasons for you to use USPS Informed Delivery.

For most people, Informed Delivery is a means to tell when their letter will arrive at its destination. In addition to that, Informed Delivery lets you see the tracking number of the package or mailer you are sending or receiving. 

The recipient can even inform the carrier where they want to pick up the mailer if they are not home for the delivery. If that's not enough, you can use the Informed Delivery app to schedule redelivery if the original delivery time is not convenient. 

Benefits of Informed Delivery From a Marketing Perspective

There is no question that Informed Delivery significantly benefits the recipients. We saw above how USPS Informed Delivery past mail makes it convenient for the recipient. However, the recipients are not the only people that benefit from Informed Delivery.

Below, we discuss how Informed Delivery helps businesses from a marketing perspective.

Direct Mail Campaign Monitoring

Direct mail campaigns make a strong comeback with their significantly high open and response rates. The chances are you are either already using direct mail campaigns or thinking about using them. In any case, you will be happy to learn that Informed Delivery can help you monitor direct mail campaigns.

Here is what you can do. First, take your mailing list containing the details of your target audience for your next direct mail campaign. Then compare it against a list of Informed Delivery users. It is an efficient way to ensure that you target the right for your direct mail campaigns.

Use The Data You Get From Informed Delivery

As marketers, you have the option to monitor direct mail marketing as they move through the mail stream. You can track the mailer every step of the way. For example, you can see when the mailer arrives at the warehouse. As a result, you get a more holistic view of USPS Informed Delivery past mail's journey. 

Similarly, you can also see when your mail items are sorted. More importantly, you can see when it reaches its final destination. It gives you a chance to pitch digital campaigns to coincide with the arrival of direct mail delivery. 

Simultaneously Coordinate Your Direct And Digital Marketing Campaigns

We live in the age of multichannel marketing campaigns. A postal touchpoint is now an essential part of such campaigns. As we know, Informed Delivery gives you valuable insight into the different delivery stages of your mail. 

And when you know the delivery stages of the mailer, it becomes easier to implement successful multichannel campaigns. Why? Because the secret to an excellent multichannel marketing campaign is flawless timing. And that is precisely what you get with USPS Informed Delivery past mail.

For example, you can use the mailer to send coupons to your target audience. You can then complement the direct mail campaign with digital campaigns or follow it with more detailed offers. Such a strategy will generate a higher response and reinforce your original message to the target audience. 

Who Can Use Informed Delivery?

We have already established that Informed Delivery is available for residential customers. However, you may not know that it is equally applicable to PO Box addresses. The criterion for using Informed Delivery is pretty lenient.

The recipient has to provide their identity proof and show that they live in a qualified ZIP code for using Informed Delivery. It is worth noting that the address of people living in an apartment or condo may not have unique regulations. In such cases, the addressee will not be eligible for Informed Delivery.

What is The Cost of USPS Informed Delivery?

Although we have already mentioned it before, you might still be wondering about the cost of the Informed Delivery service considering everything it has to offer. Let us put your mind at ease by reassuring you again that the USPS Informed Delivery past mail does not cost you a penny.

However, many people have reported seeing a link to sign-up for Informed Delivery as a paid service. If you ever come across such a link, report it instead of clicking on it because it is most likely a scam. Once you report it to U.S. Postal Inspection Services, they will take care of the rest.

How Safe is Informed Delivery?

The USPS Informed Delivery service may come across as the perfect optional service you can get from USPS. It lets you track your mailers almost in real-time. It enables the recipient to schedule deliveries conveniently and is entirely free of cost.

However, nothing is perfect and Informed Mail is no exception. One concern about USPS Informed Mail is its security. For instance, a person signing up for Informed Delivery does not have to prove that they live at the address they signed up with.

USPS Security Measure

As stated above, there is an apparent security concern in USPS Informed Delivery past mail. But, that does not mean USPS does not have any security measures set up to protect its customer's data. Whenever someone tries to sign-up for Informed Delivery, they have to verify their identity online.

Furthermore, the person signing up for Informed Delivery also has to provide other details, such as

  • Previous addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Personal multiple-choice answers

That's not all. In addition to all this, USPS has several other steps to enhance the security and privacy of Informed Delivery mail. You might remember us mentioning that the USPS only scans the outside of the mailer and not what's inside.

In other words, the content of your mailer remains private. And guess what? All the information you or the recipient shares with the USPS complies with the Privacy Act. Hence, there are rigorous conditions under which USPS can share the data you provide it.

What Are The Information You Can't Access Using Informed Delivery?

We talked about all the data or information you can access using USPS Informed Delivery past mail. However, even Informed Delivery has its limitations. So, where do we draw the line between the data you can and cannot access using Informed Delivery? 

The first limitation of USPS Informed Delivery is the size of the mailer, as it is only available for letter-sized mailers. So, if you want to send larger mailpieces like magazines, product catalogs, etc., you can't get the Informed Delivery service.

Furthermore, USPS Informed Mail is an exclusive service for USPS customers. Hence, you can't get the same benefit from postal providers like UPS, FedEx, etc. The last thing about USPS Informed Delivery past mail you need to know is that it only allows you to send data of 10 scans per day.

How To Enhance Your Informed Delivery Using Direct Mail Automation

The best way to effectively enhance all your direct mail operations is to use a direct mail automation solution like PostGrid. The highlight of using the USPS Informed Delivery service is that it gives you advanced insight into the postal delivery process.

However, opting for Informed Delivery does little to nothing to boost your mailer's speed or accuracy. When it comes to business communication or marketing, speed and accuracy are just as crucial as insights and information.

Using a direct mail automation tool like PostGrid lets you print personalized direct mail according to USPS standards. Yes, it also includes printing standardized addresses on your mailer, which speeds up the sorting and delivery of your mailers. 

In addition to that, you can also use PostGrid's address verification tool to ensure the deliverability of your mailers. Hence, by using an advanced direct mail solution like PostGrid, you can optimize the USPS Informed Delivery past mail delivery.


All companies that use direct mail for marketing and communication purposes can benefit from USPS Informed Delivery. Unfortunately, many companies are unsure about Informed Delivery and are filled with questions.

One of the most concerning questions businesses have about Informed Delivery is, “where is mail scanned for Informed Delivery?” Here, we have answered this question and explained how Informed Delivery could benefit the sender and the recipient.

However, companies need to invest in a direct mail automation tool to get the maximum benefit of direct mail marketing. PostGrid offers a superior direct mail automation solution to streamline your marketing and communication needs.

Hence, PostGrid ensures fast and accurate direct mail delivery with full automation and address verification capabilities. Combining this with the advanced insights offered by USPS Informed Delivery past mail gives you an ideal business communication channel.

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