Everything you need to know about Gmail’s Auto-Unsubscribe

Tom Sather, Senior Director of Email Research at Return Path, explains the most important aspects of Gmail´s Auto-Unsubscribe.

Gmail recently announced the addition of an auto-unsubscribe feature to promotional messages, making it easier for Gmail users to unsubscribe from messages they no longer want to receive.

Gmail users will now be seeing a more prominent link at the top of the email beside the sender’s name, allowing them to unsubscribe without looking around for the typical place at the bottom of the message.

Marketers have asked if this is a good thing or bad thing for them, and others have asked how they need to get it implemented.

Some email marketers think this adds insult to injury coming right after the release of Gmail’s tabbed inbox. The naysayers are worried that not only are people ignoring email delivered to the promotional tab, now they will unsubscribe in droves, driving subscription numbers even lower. While this is possible, it’s highly unlikely, and in fact, will likely drive complaint rates lower for brands which will then improve deliverability and increase inbox placement rates.

By giving subscribers a no-hassle way to unsubscribe, they will be less likely to mark an email as spam. Long story short, this is a win for marketers, and every marketer should look at implementing the auto-unsubscribe if they haven’t already.

Gmail’s unsubscribe feature is based on the list-unsubscribe header and will only work for senders with positive reputation, meaning that spammers and phishers won’t be able to abuse this feature and use it as a way to validate if an email address is real or not.

It’s important to note that if you are continuing to mail to a user after they click on the unsubscribe link, deliverability to all users, and not just that one user who clicked on the unsubscribe link, can suffer as a result.

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