Will Gmail’s New Unsubscribe Option Hurt Email Marketers?

Spam remains a big problem for everyone. Even though Gmail is generally good at reducing spam, I still receive a lot of emails every week from companies that I did not permit to email me.

Google appear to be tackling this head on. On 6 August they announced that any email that includes an unsubscribe link will appear at the top of the email.

Email is a handy way to get updates from your favorite brands, social networks, discussion boards and more. But sometimes you end up subscribed to lists that are no longer relevant to you, and combing through an entire message looking for a way to unsubscribe is no fun.

Now when a sender includes an “Unsubscribe” link in a Promotions, Social or Forums message, Gmail will surface it to the top, right next to the sender address. If you’re interested in the message’s content, it won’t get in the way, and if not, it’ll make it easier to keep your inbox clutter-free.

Making the unsubscribe option easy to find is a win for everyone. For email senders, their mail is less likely to be marked as spam and for you, you can now say goodbye to sifting through an entire message for that one pesky link.

This feature will save you from having to search for a small unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. Perhaps it is just a superficial change, but as a Gmail user, I welcome this modification as it will help me clean my inbox and unsubscribe more easily from newsletters I no longer wish to receive.

Google Unsubscribe Button

How Will This Affect Email Marketers?

Any feature that makes it easier for subscribers to unsubscribe will obviously increase the rate at which subscribers unsubscribe. There is no doubt about that.

Email marketers who send emails daily normally have large subscribe and unsubscribe rates. I believe they will suffer the most as they usually acquire subscribers by enticing them in with the promise of a free gift.

Most bloggers do the same by offering a free eBook, however I feel there is a stronger connection between the reader and bloggers as they know who they are (i.e. compared to email marketers who solely use landing pages to acquire new subscribers). Therefore, loyalty is stronger.

Personally, I do not believe this change by Google is a bad thing. It is in your interests to have a list in which subscribers want to receive emails from you. If you are sending them too many emails, or if you are giving them little value, they will unsubscribe. It is now easier for them to do that.

I would rather have 1,000 subscribers who want to be on my list than 10,000 that do not. And if people are having difficulty unsubscribing, you will undoubtedly have people who are only on your list as they have not got round to unsubscribing yet. Larger email lists cost more money, so there are positives to take from having a smaller and cleaner list that is more responsive.

What is your thoughts on this? Do you think you unsubscribe rates will be affected by this new Gmail feature?

Kevin