The Unsubscribe Problem Every Email Marketer Has With Gmail
Written by Philip Storey
2 Minute Read
There's a recently new challenge with Gmail that every email marketer faces. Except, many don't realise. And no, it's not rendering. And it's not HTML clipping. It's something much more problematic...
The Purpose of Gmail
Before we go any further, I want to share something that our head of deliverability (back when I worked at Mapp), said to me a few years back. "Gmail don't care about what you need as a marketer. They only care about the inbox experience a Gmail user has. If you are trying to do something that isn't a gain for the end user, you're fighting a losing battle."
And no, the problem I am sharing with you today is also nothing to do with deliverability...and this conversation stuck with me.
Gmail Is Helping People Unsubscribe From Your Emails
That's right. Gmail is helping your subscribers unsubscribe from your marketing emails. And they're not messing around. This is what it looks like in the inbox:
Gmail is asking your subscribers, if they want to unsubscribe from your emails. They are doing this directly in the primary tab. This is not a new thing, but it is a big deal.
I have only been subscribed to Vivino emails for a month, since I became a customer. They are clearly tracking to see if I am opening their emails (they literally say it in the unsubscribe notification). This means that they aren't playing this lightly - I expect this problem to become more of a challenge over time...
Open Rate Does Have Purpose
The first thing I want to say about this problem, is that there is always a solution and a way forward. For years, many in the email industry have talked about open rate being an almost useless metric to measure. I have always felt that to be a little shortsighted.
Open rate is massively valuable to measure. It's also a valuable metric to try to improve. And now, I would suggest that this is something that marketers pay particular attention to, especially with your subscribers who use Gmail.
What You Can Do About It
Here are my suggestions for what you can do to make sure your subscribers are way less likely to see this notification:
Measure open rate for new subscribers in the first 30 days
Also measure your unsubscribe rate for new subscribers in the first 90 days of being a subscriber and measure if this is higher for gmail subscribers. If it is, you might have a problem...
Focus your strategy on getting one of your emails opened in the first 30 days after subscribing
One way to do this, would be to bring in a double opt in. This isn't always the best approach but it will help with this specific issue
Whatever you do, make sure you give yourself the best chance of having your emails opened. This is the only way to avoid this potential problem.
Is This Really a Problem?
There's no doubt, email platforms have been measuring deliverability based on engagement, for many years. But proactively inviting your subscribers to unsubscribe is a problem that requires attention now, before it becomes the norm.
Analyse your data as I have suggested above and see what the situation is for your email marketing. If you need a hand, please feel free to reach out to the team.
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