Many mailers know the U.S. Postal Service’s Informed Visibility (IV) product as the latest generation of mail piece tracking, but it is quickly growing into the data distribution platform for a wide range of USPS products and services. Are you taking advantage of what IV offers as you strive to take your mail data to the next level?

An increasing number of USPS programs are leveraging the power of IV’s existing data distribution protocols to link mail owners and mail service providers to the information they need to manage mail programs, as well as efficiently and effectively engage with mail recipients.

IV data feeds can provide you near real-time information about your mail programs from postage payment to mail quality verifications, to following the progress of your mail throughout the USPS process network, up to its final delivery to the intended recipient. IV continues to be expanded with additional data feeds to provide access to Informed Delivery reporting and enhanced access to Remittance Mail information coming soon.

Use Data Feeds to Simplify Access for Recurring Data Needs

One of the strengths of IV is its robust data distribution protocols, which provide the ability to direct the right information to the right members of the mail production supply chain at the right time through the appropriate data feeds. Using data feeds lets you set up your data distribution and forget it — no need to recreate the same data request day after day.

IV provides many options for customization when creating data feeds. You determine:

· File format generated by the feed;

· Run frequency — from minutes to monthly;

· Appropriate feed title;

· Data field selection and the order the fields appear in the feed;

· Where/how the feed is received.

Data and reports can be sent to your designated secure FTP site, or you can retrieve data feeds directly from the IV platform. Sending information to your FTP site allows you to archive the data for longer periods for later use.

As your data needs change, IV offers options to easily modify your existing data feeds to respond to those changes.

Leverage Existing Data Feeds

Let’s look at some of the information already available with IV data feeds.

Mail Tracking and Reporting (MTR) Scan Data

MTR scan data feeds provide valuable insight into postal operations through Intelligent Mail barcode scans not only for individual mail pieces, but also for mail containers (often pallets) and handling units (trays, bundles, or sacks). As mail is moving through the USPS processing network, scan data offers visibility of postal possession of your mail from sorting facilities all the way through delivery to the recipients’ mailbox.

These data feeds allow you to ingest potentially large amounts of scan data, exactly how and when you want. Implementing data feeds may be just the time saver you are looking for to better understand postal processing or more efficiently link mail delivery to other marketing channels.

Mail Quality Data (MQD)

You no longer need to rely on the Mailer Scorecard to review verification data. Retrieving detailed MQD through the Mailer Scorecard can be more than a bit cumbersome. Mailer Scorecard data is not real-time and the amount of detailed data that can be provided is capped.

IV now provides a data feed option to review detailed results of mail quality verifications performed on your mail as it is presented to the Postal Service. MQD feeds can include verification of submitted electronic documentation, as well as mail processing scan data collection.

Retrieving MQD through IV is near real-time and provides unlimited data, with a one-time data feed setup.

Payment Transactions in the Enterprise Payment System (EPS)

Now that the Enterprise Payment System (EPS) has become the standard for most electronic payments to the Postal Service, mailers are looking for convenient ways to gather and parse large sets of recurring transaction data. IV now has a transaction reporting data store with detailed transaction level data on all EPS products, providing access to view and create customized reporting feeds of this data through IV, eliminating the need to manually pull data from PostalOne!.

Package Attributes

As well as letters and flats, IV has begun provisioning data on physical and payment data for packages. This feature allows customized data feeds through the IV-MTR platform for data from the new USPS Package Platform Concept.

Look for More Data Feeds Coming Soon

And this is only the beginning! The USPS IV team continues to look to the future and the additional information that can be made available through IV. Some of the data on the IV roadmap for the current fiscal year includes the following:

Informed Delivery Data

One of the challenges facing mailers who use Informed Delivery campaigns to add a digital touch to their mail piece has been the quantity of data available post-campaign. This data can currently be downloaded through the Informed Delivery portal, but for high-volume campaigns, this can be an arduous process. The IV and Informed Delivery teams are currently working together to make this information more easily available through IV data feeds later this year.

Enhanced Visibility for Remittance Mail and Caller Services

The IV team is working to provide improved visibility of remittance mail as it is processed on USPS platforms, sorted into containers, and then handed off to a customer/courier in Caller Service. This new data will include “available for pick-up” and “tendered to agent” scans within Caller Service to provide visibility (internally and externally) of Remittance Mail as it is processed. Rollout of this visibility is expected later this fiscal year.

If we’ve convinced you that now is the time to take your mail data to the next level, start investigating what IV and automated data feeds can do for your mailing program. We’re confident you will see immediate benefits.

Nancy Garrison is USPS Compliance & Monitor Analyst at IWCO Direct and can be reached at Kurt Ruppel is Director Postal Policy and Marketing Communications at IWCO Direct and can be reached at

This article originally appeared in the March/April, 2020 issue of Mailing Systems Technology.