Gmail’s new unsubscribe button & how it impacts the email marketer

After the latest release of the new Gmail promotions tab to benefit email marketers, Gmail now throws another curve ball into the mix with its new unsubscribe button.

Coming as a great shock to some email marketers, who thought they were able to keep the unsubscribe link hidden within the fine print, the new Gmail unsubscribe feature has taken away this need all together. The key to understanding this from a marketers perspective is that it will widen the efficacy gap between double opt in and single opt in marketing. It will also penalize marketers who buy lists.

What they should realise is that the unsubscribe link is a healthy way of disengaging from the consumer. Gmail explains that when consumers can’t find the unsubscribe link, mainly because it is so hidden in the email, they get annoyed  with the company and send the mail to Spam. Then they want no future interaction with the brand as they are already bombarded with spam mail on a daily basis.

new gmail unsubscribe button

Gmail wants to make the user experience easier when it comes to getting rid of unwanted commercial mail thus the Gmail unsubscribe add on is there to provide a quickfire means of getting rid of the increasing volumes of unwanted marketing. Gmail has done this so that all the emails that users receive from email marketers are in their inbox because they chose to subscribe. This will minimize the chance of marketers' emails being sent straight to spam and never seen by the consumer, so long as they are wanted in the first place. Chris Kolbenschlag, Director of Deliverability at Bronto, says that “hitting that spam button is the No. 1 reputation killer for a marketer

Google is now placing the new Gmail unsubscribe service at the top of promotional emails . It appears in the upper left corner of an open email, next to the senders address. It does not however appear on all marketing emails, Gmail searches within the emails for the header “List-Unsubscribe”. Therefore it won’t appear on emails that have a unsubscribe link situated within the email. Additionally, according to MailChimp the “IP also has to authenticate the email,” Gmail wants there to be a digital signature, the DKIM key signifies this. It allows Gmail to know that the company is trusted and legitimate. At the moment this is still in developmental phases and this is why  the unsubscribe link in Gmail won’t appear all the time and some days it won’t appear at all.

Many marketers are asking why Gmail made this change.  For the benefit of Gmail it will help them differentiate between the bad and good senders. The good senders will send out emails that are fine tuned for the consumer’s needs. Whereas bad senders will merely send out bulk spam mail. It will also as previously stated, lessen the amount of spam complaints. Gmail wants users to find it easier to unsubscribe than it is to report as spam. They are now using this feedback from the users and relaying it back to the marketers. Marketers can use this data to improve the user’s experience.

Gmail calls this the feedback loop.

Most of the time FBL’s (feedback loops) are just emails sent to the sender when a user unsubscribes. However according to MailChimp, Gmail wanted to provide ESP’s  with “aggregate reports on a campaign level, without specifying which subscribers complained.” Gmail is in the process of piloting different feedback loops so that marketers can receive even more data from the consumer.

The entire purpose of the gmail unsubscribe filter, according to Amanda Dodge from CityPress, is to “eliminate readers who will never buy from you”. Gmail wants users to be in control of the emails they are sent. Marketers must look at this venture from Gmail as a positive one, because even though they are now more easily able to unsubscribe, they are now given the choice  and users will have a better experience with  brands.

How can marketers prepare?

  1. Adjust the frequency of your marketing - The new unsubscribe button will increase unsubscribe rates if you irritate customers. One of the main causes of this is mailing too frequently with a communication strategy that reflects a 'need to sell’ rather than sharing valuable information with your subscribers. A good rule of thumb is that if you are mailing for a reason other than having something useful to communicate, your unsubscribe rate will increase and you will lose in the long term.
  2. Content is key – With the exception of retailers, a price or deal focused content strategy can cause friction. You need content that is engaging before you earn the right to do business with someone.
  3. Review your opt in processes - It is worth noting that non opt in mail has been very profitable over the last two decades. The more policing measures that are implemented to give the recipient power to stop this, the better. Make sure you are only sending emails to leads that want the mail and this will in turn reduce your email costs.