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What are the Gmail and Yahoo! smart unsubscribe features and how do they affect my email program?

What is the new smart unsubscribe feature for Gmail?

According to AndroidPolice, Google is rolling out a smart unsubscribe feature for Inbox by Gmail users, asking if they want to unsubscribe from promotional emails that they haven’t opened in 30 days or more. 

  • The smart unsubscribe feature is currently only available in the Inbox by Gmail Android app or via Inbox by Gmail webmail. The Inbox by Gmail app in iOS will not have the feature until a future (undisclosed) date.
  • Classic Gmail, where the majority of Gmail users check and read email, is not affected. There is no indication of if and when classic Gmail will add this feature.

What is the new smart unsubscribe feature for Yahoo?

Yahoo rolled out a similar feature which works slightly differently. After deleting emails multiple times from a sender, Yahoo will ask the user if they’d like to unsubscribe or filter and archive future emails from that sender.

Yahoo appears to rely on the list-unsubscribe header (RFC 2369) for this process and will honor one-click unsubscribe links, unsubscribe requests via mailto, or redirect users to the unsubscribe page.

How will this impact inbox placement?

Marketers are not penalized for unsubscribe requests, so you will likely see no impact to your inbox placement rate as long as unsubscribe requests are honored in a timely manner. Some marketers could see inbox placement rates improve as people unsubscribe versus the alternative of marking emails as spam or deleting messages without reading them.

While marketers may see a small increase in unsubscribe requests, the end result is a cleaner list, happier subscribers, and likely better deliverability.

How will this impact my Gmail and Yahoo! subscriber list?

Your unsubscribe rate at Gmail and Yahoo! may increase, as subscribers who before may have been content to ignore your email until they wanted it again will now be prompted with an option to unsubscribe. 

Can I prevent this from being used for my subscribers?

You can't prevent Gmail or Yahoo! from using their new smart unsubscribe features with your subscribers. What you can control is to send your subscribers relevant and timely content so they stay engaged with your email program and choose not to unsubscribe.

The best strategy is to meet your subscribers’ expectations and to continue sending emails they want and love.

 

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