Email Parsing 101: Everything You Need to Know

email parsing

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that email is one of the most data-heavy forms of modern communication.  Something as simple as sending an email collects, transfers, and interprets around 100 KB of data. Multiply that by billions, and now you see why companies may have a difficult time manipulating this data for human consumption. Luckily there is a solution to this problem: email parsing.  

An email parsing API is a SaaS application that extracts configurable data from inbound or outbound emails and applies it to a given infrastructure for further human or machine analysis. 

So what does this actually mean, and how do you parse email for your application?

What is Email Parsing Used For?

One of the many benefits of a good inbound parsing API is that it is configurable.  Because of this configurability, developers can integrate an email parsing API with a variety of different applications.  For example, most SocketLabs customers use our Inbound Parsing API for three primary applications: 

Customer Support/Customer Service Applications

Most modern customer support applications capture customer interactions in a message stream, using email as the primary delivery mechanism for these messages. The SocketLabs Inbound Email Parsing API provides a perfect solution for application service providers in this industry by supplying a fully hosted, ready-to-use system for capturing and parsing inbound messages from customers for storage and display within support applications.

Our service completely eliminates the need for in-house development of a compliant email parsing engine.  This means no expensive maintenance and email infrastructure costs.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Applications

Sales or CRM applications often record email interactions with customers to provide valuable customer history data.  By routing customer responses through our inbound email parsing service, CRM applications can receive pre-parsed email messages as a JSON data structure through a simple HTTP POST message.  This is a clean, painless, more cost-effective way of supporting email within your application. You get all the data you want, when you want it, packaged and ready to go.

Social Applications

Social applications that provide either personal or group interactions via email can get great results from our Inbound Email Parsing API. Social media applications often enable conversations via email, allowing users to follow the conversation online. Our inbound email parsing service is an easy and fast way for application developers to configure their email applications in a way that scales as they scale.  As social interaction grows, our inbound email parsing service grows with you, without concern for the infrastructure to support it.

These are only a few examples of how our Inbound Email Parsing API can help provide an out-of-the-box solution for application developers and solution architects looking to build inbound email capabilities into their applications.  SocketLabs’ Inbound Parsing API provides an effective, scalable, and robust managed solution for inbound email processing.

How to Parse Email From Your Application

We often get inquiries from customers asking about the complexities involved in building an email parsing tool and whether or not they should just build their own.  The truth of the matter is, you could probably build your own. After all, you’re just trying to receive a message and input it into something like a CRM application, right?

While it is certainly possible, there are a number of obstacles to consider before embarking on such an adventure.  Self-configured parsing systems can be made in a way to simplify data consumption, but demands close attention to many server, code and infrastructure difficulties.  Some challenges to consider specifically in the CRM space are:

  • Creating a receiving server to which your inbound mail will be directed
  • Writing logic to take in the incoming message
  • Writing logic to break the incoming message into its component parts and capture items such as “Subject”, “from”, “to”, “free-form text”, etc.
  • Writing the logic to copy it into a database

A better and faster solution is using the SocketLabs Inbound Email Parsing API.  This application does all of the heavy lifting for you, then hands you a simple JSON file over HTTP that is perfectly formatted to drop into your applications’ databases.

The technology SocketLabs uses is the same as our Notification API. Our code is able to categorize and sort the incoming messages, and allows your company to streamline development by integrating the processing logic with world-class infrastructure.

If that isn’t enough, our email parsing process even applies a “Spam Score” to inbound messages.  This is a critical functionality to protect customers who are putting their email data it into a database, so they can maintain the security of their application.

email parsing api example

How SocketLabs Email Parsing API Helps You

Now you know how effective a good email parsing service is in collecting, analyzing and organizing data that will drive new business.

No matter the challenges, SocketLabs offers a fully integrated Inbound Email Parsing API that provides customers with:

  • A highly scalable service for accepting and parsing email messages
  • Full deconstruction of email messages including text, html, attachments, custom headers, and much more
  • Email that is delivered directly to your application as a JSON blob via HTTP POST
  • Full summary and detailed reporting on all inbound email activity for your account

Full API documentation for the Inbound Parsing feature is available here. Get started by signing up for a FREE account and start developing now!

Learn more about our Email Parsing API here.