Study Finds Some Top Brand Marketers Are Struggling To Provide Adequate Email Unsubscribe Options

Twenty Percent of Marketers Sent Additional Email Messages To Consumers After Confirming The Person Had Unsubscribed

New York, New York, Denver, CO, and Mountain View, CAFor Immediate Release -Twenty percent of top brand marketers sent additional emails to subscribers after confirming an unsubscribe request, Return Path discovered with its new research study titled Keeping the Subscriber Experience Positive After “Unsubscribe Me.” Eleven percent of the companies studied emailed subscribers more than 10 days after confirming an unsubscribe request – a violation of the federal CAN-SPAM Act. Marketers risk impacting their overall email reputation with spam complaints if they have a faulty email unsubscribe process.

Return Path, the leading e-mail deliverability and reputation management company, conducted the study by unsubscribing from the email lists of 45 companies from the retail, consumer goods, travel, and media/entertainment industries. Return Path originally subscribed to these email lists to conduct its Subscriber Experiences study.

“We conducted the Subscriber Experiences and Unsubscribe Experiences studies, because we were concerned that marketers were having issues with two very important points of contact with their email subscribers – at the beginning and the end of the relationship,” said Bonnie Malone, Director of Strategic Services. “Unfortunately, the studies confirmed our concerns. Marketers often fail to optimize the beginning and end of the email marketing cycle, even though this interaction with their customers is a key factor in their email sending reputation. If marketers don’t immediately honor an unsubscribe request, they risk consumers clicking the “Report Spam” button, which ultimately and negatively impacts their email reputation, determining whether or not their emails are delivered to all their subscribers’ inboxes.”

When consumers unsubscribe from email marketing, they could potentially be enticed to remain subscribed but with less frequency. However, the overwhelming majority of marketers studied missed out on keeping consumers subscribed to less frequent mailings. Only two companies out of the 45 studied offered options for subscribers to change the frequency they received email or the ability to opt out of some of the marketers’ emails.

“Marketers work very hard to design compelling email marketing campaigns, but can’t neglect to evaluate the entire email experience for subscribers – including when those customers decide to unsubscribe,” Malone said. “While email marketing may have a small influence compared to the overall digital and traditional marketing campaign reach, email is a very direct, one-to-one interaction with customers and potential customers. Even a single negative email experience can lead to a poor overall brand image for consumers.”

Return Path’s study also revealed that most marketers have not designed their unsubscribe procedures to accommodate consumers who simply want to change their email address – yet remain subscribed. Only 11% of companies allowed subscribers to change their email address on the unsubscribe landing page. When email change of address (ECOA) is not included as part of the unsubscribe process, consumers are forced to manually unsubscribe from one address and resubscribe with a new email address.

“Instead of placing barriers in front of consumers who simply want to change their email address, marketers should make it simple and easy to stay subscribed while changing email addresses,” Malone said.

Download the study now.

About Return Path
Founded in 1999, Return Path helps commercial email senders get more email delivered to the inbox. Our tools and services give senders the tools and insight to diagnose and prevent email deliverability and rendering failures by improving and maintaining their email sending reputations. Return Path works with both the sending and receiving communities to bring transparent standards to email delivery and filtering. Return Path’s runs the internet’s most widely used third-party whitelist, Sender Score Certified. For more information, please visit

Press Contacts:

Tami M. Forman
Return Path
212-905-5500 ext 205
[email protected]

Jeff Rutherford
Jeff Rutherford Media Relations
413 369-4128
[email protected]

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