Monday, March 24, 2014

New Gmail Unsubscribe Implementation

By: Chris Reibold
Senior Email Analyst

Google has started displaying unsubscribe links at the top of messages in its popular web client for Gmail:

Essentially, Gmail looks for the List-Unsubscribe header and pulls the information, displaying the above hyperlink next to the sender address. As a measure of security, DKIM/Domainkeys is verified before the link is displayed in a message.

This is actually a rather good move on Google’s part in helping email marketers and newsletter senders like yourself. By emphasizing the unsubscribe link at the top, the recipient of the message is more likely to simply click that instead of the “spam” button that is above it.

Please keep in mind that this change has come at a time when Gmail’s FBL (Feedback Loop) is being implemented for companies like JangoMail to use. FBLs send a message that goes to the sender whenever a subscriber hits the spam button. Eventually Gmail’s use of the unsubscribe link will be gathered, along with the FBL data, to tell us how well your engagement is with Gmail-using recipients.

There is an obvious shift in the way Google wants Gmail to operate; they have added tabs, turned on images by default, made the unsubscribe link more prominent, and now they are implementing an FBL.

It appears that Google really wants to cleanup the inbox and minimize the amount of spam their users are receiving. This is a double edged sword.  On one hand it can make your message emphasized over others, but on the other it will also make it harder for you to land in the inbox.

Only time can tell how well this new feature works, but Gmail putting an emphasis on unsubscribe over spam is a good thing indeed.