At the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group Conference last week, Google announced it will be rolling out an easier way for Gmail users to unsubscribe from marketing emails. A new “unsubscribe” link will be conveniently located in the header of emails, making it easier for individuals to manage their subscriptions. Previously, the link was present for emails that qualify, but buried in drop downs. With Google’s new roll out, unsubscribing has never been easier.
Providing a more prominent unsubscribe link is a good thing for organizations, in theory. According to Google, it takes people less than 5 seconds to decide if email is spam. This measurement reflects the time from when an email is opened until a user clicks the “this is spam” button. In theory, by making an unsubscribe link easier to find, individuals might click that button instead of the spam button. This would allow for better feedback to Gmail as to what’s wanted and not wanted and decrease false complaint reports.
Google has been focused on making it easier for users to identify, organize, and unsubscribe from emails, putting more power into the hands of email readers. We’ve seen this with last year’s introduction of their tabs organization, the changes to how images are handled, and now this change. While it might seem counterintuitive, having people unsubscribe is a good thing for the following reasons:
1) It gets people off your list who might otherwise have clicked “complain” if an unsubscribe option wasn’t present.
2) These individuals might have stopped reading your emails and have chosen to delete them instead. In turn, this creates an active record and ultimately drives down deliverability.
3) It provides a learning experience and feedback on email interaction, like opens and clicks, and is actionable data you can adjust your email and list growth programs with.
This addition by Gmail is a good thing as they admit one of their biggest problems is identifying “soft spam,” emails that at one point were legit, and now are just unwanted. Since spam complaints are a major factor for email providers in how to treat email, getting rid of false reports is a priority, helping them provide better service to their users, and helping deliver more legitimate email. And for those who send bulk email, this can only be a good thing.