Written by Danielle Leblanc on March 6, 2014
in Email Marketing

Email marketers can expect more changes at Gmail this week. An “unsubscribe” link will appear at the top of the header field for all marketing emails. Placing the “unsubscribe” link in a consistent location across all marketing emails makes it easier for customers to unsubscribe.

How it works

The unsubscribe link will only appear for senders who are utilizing the “list-unsubscribe” header within their email campaigns and have an established sending reputation.  When you click the unsubscribe link, Gmail will send a request to your ESP (Email Service Provider) asking that your email address be removed from the mailing list. Some ESPs may take up to three days to honour the request.

Is this change good or bad for email marketers?

At Ariad, we believe that maintaining clear and easy ways for recipients to opt-out of unwanted email is a good thing.  Providing a clear, easy unsubscribe mechanism reduces the amount of spam complaints a sender receives. When customers can’t find the unsubscribe button, they may flag unwanted marketing messages as spam to remove the messages from their inbox.

When enough people do this, email providers like Gmail begin to classify the sender as a spammer and prevent all marketing messages from appearing in customer inboxes. An easy-to-find unsubscribe link will reduce the use of the spam button and decrease spam complaints. This will have a positive effect on overall deliverability for companies sending legitimate permission-based marketing emails.

Make preference centre links easily accessible

One thing to note, however, is that the Gmail list-unsubscribe feature uses a “one-click unsubscribe” technology, so senders who are operating robust preference centres and opt-down tactics will lose the benefit of these pages. The Gmail unsubscribe button does not have the ability to link through to your own hosted unsub pages or preference centres.

The Ariad team continues to test and track these changes, and assess the impact on our clients. Right now, we see this change as a positive enhancement, although if you do have a preference centre as part of your email marketing programs, we would recommend making sure the link to that page is easily accessible and is in a clear, easy-to-find place within your email creative.

Stay tuned, and please reach out to the Ariad Email Team with any questions.

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