Gmail Gives Users a Simpler Unsubscribe Option – How Should Email Marketers React?

Google’s Gmail is one of the biggest players in the email arena, so when the company announces a change email marketers immediately take notice. Gmail has recently announced such a change, introducing a prominently displayed unsubscribe button that users can now take advantage of.

An Easier Way to Unsubscribe
This simplified unsubscribe link will now appear on virtually every newsletter, and that means both changes and challenges for email marketers everywhere. From now on, when Gmail users open a promotional email, they will be confronted with an Unsubscribe link right in the header field of the message.

This Unsubscribe link is located directly to the right of the sender name and email address, so users will not be able to miss it. Formally known as the List Unsubscribe Header, the new features makes managing email lists properly more important than ever before.


Specifically, marketers will need to maintain clean email lists to ensure that everyone who receives their newsletters really wants to. Providing quality useful information to subscribers is another way to keep them coming back from more. Now that recipients can unsubscribe with a single click, meeting the needs of readers is even more critical.

Segment for Success
Email marketers who have not already done so should also take the time to segment their lists as much as possible. Not all subscribers are created equal; they all have different interests and needs. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach to email marketing may have worked in the past, but it will not work going forward.

If you send a newsletter to someone who does not have a need for, or an interest in, what you are saying, you can bet that user will not hesitate to use the prominently displayed unsubscribe button Gmail has so conveniently provided. Breaking your master list into detailed segments based on interests can help you avoid that unhappy fate.

What Should Email Marketers Do?
The first thing email marketers should do about this change is stop panicking. Many marketers are unjustly worried that all their subscribers will flee now, but that is probably not the case. Keep in mind that subscribers could always click the unsubscribe button you already provided. They did not before, and they will not now, as long as you are providing quality information and real value.

In fact, the new Gmail unsubscribe link may actually lead to a reduction in complaints. The change could also prevent future delivery problems by streamlining the email marketing process. To understand why that might be the case, it is helpful to look at why Google is implementing this change.

Reducing Spam
With this change, Google hopes to prevent unwanted opt-in messages from being labeled as spam. Gmail recipients will now be encouraged to unsubscribe from lists they no longer want to be part of, which in the end should save legitimate marketers from a number of problems.

Before this change went into effect, a recipient who could not find the unsubscribe button might have marked the message as spam instead. A large number of spam notifications is a very bad thing for any email marketer, but this change should greatly reduce that threat.

The new and more prominent unsubscribe button is the latest in a series of changes at Gmail, and it will likely not be the last. This latest change should serve as yet another reminder that email marketers need to stay vigilant and, most importantly, need to keep providing quality useful content to all their subscribers.

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