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What to Do With Those COA Reports

Written By Amber Breeden

September 22, 2021

Anytime we send mail for our clients, we process the data through the National Change of Address System (NCOA) to ensure the mailing is in compliance with the USPS Move Update standard. When an individual or business completes a “Change of Address” form with the Post Office, the new information is matched against existing information. NCOA flags incorrect addresses and updates them to increase the deliverability of the mailing. After we run the mailing data through the system, we receive what’s called a COA audit report detailing all of the records that had an address update. 

We then pass the COA report and data on to the client, showing which of their records were updated during the NCOA process, along with the updated address information. Unfortunately, most clients don’t know what to do with this information or realize how important it is to the success of their future mailings. 

We’re working to change that.

When you receive a COA report from us, it’s important to update those records in your database. This can be a manual, time-consuming task, so you may want to set aside time once a week or once a month to make batched updates. Now, you may be wondering, if the information will be updated again the next time we run your data through NCOA, why bother with these tedious updates?

Because names only appear in the COA reports for four years. If you don’t update the address in your database within that four-year period, the record will drop from the report, and it will not be flagged and updated during NCOA. That means you’ll end up sending mail to the wrong address. Over time, that’s a huge waste of your marketing budget, not to mention that it can impact response rates if the numbers are high enough. 

Bottom line? It’s worth taking the time to update these records to ensure the long-term deliverability and success of your future campaigns.

*Special thanks to Deanna Falkenberg, our Data Services Manager, for her contributions to this post.