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:
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.