Gmail’s unsubscribe links provide an alternative to getting marked as spam

As folks who regularly subscribe to a wide variety of newsletters, we can understand the frustration that comes when you can't opt-out. So when Gmail announced that they were making it easy to unsubscribe from both the inbox and preview pane, our first thought was that it wasn't such a bad thing for recipients - and certainly not the end of the world for senders, either.

While the majority of email senders place very prominent unsubscribe links through our email campaigns, sometimes there isn't an easy or obvious opt-out. So Gmail, in conjunction with a variety of email services including Campaign Monitor, have made it possible to unsubscribe from newsletters, either from the inbox using "quick action buttons", or using an "Unsubscribe" link in the header of an email message. Here's an example of the new header unsubscribe link, as seen in Gmail's browser-based client:

Gmail new unsubscribe link

Again, the idea is not to encourage people to peel away from our lists, but prevent scenarios in which email campaigns get marked as spam, instead of being unsubscribed from. As a Gmail staffer announced just earlier:

"One of the biggest problems with the Gmail spam filter is identifying unwanted mail or soft spam," said Google's Vijay Eranti, who heads anti-abuse efforts at Gmail. The issue, he said, is that sometimes customers opt into a company's send-to list but later decide they don't want the emails. And if they can't find the unsubscribe button, sometimes they mark the message as spam.Gmail's 'unsubscribe' tool comes out of the weeds, PCWorld, 20 Feb 2013

It's also worth mentioning that Gmail currently claims ~10% of email client market share, so as was the case with Gmail's earlier changes (like tabbed inbox), we don't expect that this will herald in a wave of unsubscribes, the next time you send a campaign.

It's business as usual

These new unsubscribe methods are currently in beta and are gradually being rolled out across both senders and Gmail accounts. We'll be working with Gmail during this trial and will keep you informed of changes to how your subscribers will interact with your emails into the future.

So, the bottom line is that we're hoping to see better deliverability to Gmail addresses as a result of fewer campaigns being marked as spam and improvement of the feedback loop between us from here on in. If you have any questions or observations about these unsubscribe links that you'd like to share, be sure to let us know in the comments.

Posted by Ros Hodgekiss

4 Comments

  • JT
    24th February

    What is happening from a technical perspective when a user clicks the unsubscribe link or selects the unsubscribe link form the quick action buttons?  Should senders expect to see some type of bounce or a particular message from gamil mail servers?

  • Paul West
    25th February

    Hey JT,

    Thanks for your comment! This link works in the same way as our normal unsubscribe link. Any recipients that click the link, will register as unsubscribed in your subscriber list.

    This type of unsubscribe link will only appear when the email has been sent with providers that are working with Gmail, like ourselves.

    Thanks again JT!

  • Ben Carver
    7th March

    Lots of great points that I also covered in my own recent article, Don’t Fear the Unsubscribe

    http://www.steadfastcreative.com/dont-fear-unsubscribe/

  • طراحی سایت
    10th March

    In reality, spam is determined by a number of percent as spam, for example mail hosting will first compute the spam probability of an incoming email and if the number exceeds a threshold, they will flag the email as spam. There are several factors in calculating spam probability. one of them is reading or unreading email, deleted or undeleted email and a lot more.

    So that’s not unexpected if Google will use the same technique for unsubcription links.

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