Wouldn’t it be neat if an email marketer knew when the customers on her email mailing list were tired of receiving her marketing emails? Smart email marketers know there’s no point in keeping dead wood on their mailing list. Overall email metrics will actually improve along with better inboxing rates when non-responders are removed from active campaigns. The question that needs answering has always been what defines an inactive recipient? How many days of not opening and not clicking emails qualifies a recipient to receive the inactive label and be removed from active campaigns? 30 days? 60 days? 90 days? 120 days? 6 months? A year?
Gmail, the largest email provider on the planet today, provided an answer to this question in 2018 when it rolled out its new and improved features. The feature that gives us a clue to how Gmail’s algorithms are determining your engagement rate is called Smart Unsubscribe. Smart Unsubscribe uses artificial intelligence to analyze promotional emails that the Gmail user has not opened in the last 30 days or more. Gmail will then automatically ask the user if she would like to unsubscribe with a pop-up notice like these:
These prompts are based on how many emails the user receives and interacts with (opens) from a specific sender. If the user selects Unsubscribe, Gmail will use your list-unsubscribe header to automatically send a one click unsubscribe request. This smtp header code looks like this:
The message to marketers is clear and can be applied to your overall email deliverability strategy. If you’re sending daily emails all month long, this prompt is going to appear more frequently for the users who are not engaging with your emails.
Unengaged users are not doing you any good and are in fact harmful to your inbox placement rate and the ROI of your email marketing program. If your recipients are not opening and engaging with your emails over the course of 30 days you should not continue to include them in your active mailings. Non-responders should be moved to a re-engagement segment as part of a regular automated reactivation campaign strategy.
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