By Andrew
12 January 2023

Three Stages of Data Cleansing

ZAP~POST’s goal is for you to get the highest possible Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) or Return on Investment (ROI). The best results are achieved by:

This article shines a light on ZAP~POST’s unique Data cleansing processes. Counter-intuitively, our philosophy is to reduce your sending volume by automated Data cleansing processes, with the ultimate goal of improving your Conversion rate and therefore your ROI. Data Cleansing also comes as standard and is built into your Plan rate. No hidden charges. In fact, ZAP~POST actually credits back Zaps for removed records.

There are three distinct stages:

    • Data validation (at point of receipt)
    • Address validation (Post Code Address File (PAF))
    • Deceased & Gone Away checks


Data Validation

No matter how you submit Recipient Data to ZAP~POST, ultimately, it all runs through our API’s and therefore through a validation process. So what’s getting validated exactly?

      • Check 1: Recipient has a First Name and a Last Name
      • Check 2: First name validation:
        • 2 Alpha characters or more,
        • No numeric characters,
        • Not a salutation
      • Check 3: Post Code or Zip Code associated with every record
      • Check 4: Destination is a ZAP~POST Country

Address Validation

No matter how you submit Recipient Data to ZAP~POST, ultimately, it all runs through our API’s and therefore through a validation process. So what’s getting validated exactly?

ZAP~POST checks every UK address against the Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File (PAF).

If you want more detail on PAF, the most succinct source is here, and these are the headlines: "PAF is a database that contains all known "delivery points" and postcodes in the United Kingdom. The PAF is a collection of over 29 million Royal Mail postal addresses and 1.8 million postcodes. …A charge is made for lookup services or wholesale supply of PAF data. Charges are regulated by Ofcom."


There are three outcomes from the PAF check: Good, Changed or Bad.

Good: The Recipient’s postcode is recognised and the address format is good.

Changed: The address is recognised but the format of the address has been improved. 

Bad: The address and or postcode was not recognised, resulting in the Recipient being removed from the send.


Deceased and Gone Away Checks

After the address has been validated, the next (and final) check is whether the addressee is still living at the address. ZAP~POST queries multiple databases as follows:

For Deceased records:

    • The Bereavement Register, 
    • Mail Preference Service and 
    • Mortascreen

For ‘Gone Away’ records:

    • GAS (Gone Away Surpression)* 
    • Information Works and 
    • NCOA Suppress.

*Gone Away Suppression (GAS) was established in 1992 and is validated across multiple, trusted sources. GAS is made up of a large number of consented datasets from organisations that have been notified when someone moves in or moves out of a property. This includes government information (e.g. from local authorities) and two of the three major credit reference agencies – providing comprehensive coverage of movers in the UK.


Zap Credits

A credit given should a zap not be sent following the “data cleanse process” of all recipient records provided.

For example, you submit 1,000 recipient records into the app.  They will automatically be processed through the automated data cleanse process. In the process, 200 records were rejected for various reasons rangind from: bad address, deceased, or gone away.

Of the 1,000 recipients, only 800 will be sent.
You'll be provided with the 200 rejected records, so you can update your files accordingly.

In this example,  the Data Quality score is 80% and therefore the ratio of rejected records to Zap credits provided is 2:1.  Or, for every 2 records rejected, you get one zap credit. 

Zap Credits table

Before the data cleanse process, recipient data is subject to validation at the point of submission to the app, either via CSV, or via the API.  Any records that are not permitted into the app, are not subject to the data cleanse process and are not charged for, and therefore are not eligible for Zap Credits. 

ZAP~POST automates these three processes (for UK addresses) and once completed, the results are available in the app, under ‘Processing’ and the resulting Zap credits roll forward to the following month.  Unlike other Direct Mail solutions, this service is included as standard in your Zap Plan pricing.

Note: Due to licencing restrictions, you will not be able to download a list of Deceased and Gone Away records, without speaking with your ZAP~POST account manager. There are additional costs payable if you require the rejected Recipient records.