Why unsubscriptions and bounces are important

4 minute read

Studies have shown that in the list of priorities when sending out marketing campaigns, most marketers are greatly concerned about their subscribers clicking on links, with similarly high hopes for open rates and conversion rates. This stands to reason: of course you’ll want subscribers opening your campaign, and even better if they engage by clicking on a link or bringing you some return on investment.

However these priorities, while understandably important, seem to overshadow other statistics you can get from analysing your marketing campaigns: unsubscribes and bounces. Speaking from Sign-Up.to‘s Support desk and specialising in email delivery, here’s why I think these statistics are far more important than opens and clicks – indeed, why opens and clicks would be meaningless without these statistics.

Delivery is everything

The saying at Sign-Up.to is “If we can’t send emails, we might as well go home”. Email delivery is everything to us – it’s what we’re here for! Just as it’s important to us, though, it should be important to you as well. Imagine sending your campaigns out by carrier pigeon, but not training the pigeon to find its way out of the office window. All of the time you spent crafting your message and offering incentives to please your subscribers would be wasted because the pigeon’s still sitting on the windowsill.

Bounces aren’t a short-term problem

It’s easy to see the short-term problem with your subscribers not getting your emails – it’s in the description. What’s also worth thinking about is the longer-term consequences. When an out-of-date or badly-collected list returns a high bounce rate, the first implication is that that percentage of people can’t read your email. What has also happened is that the email clients you tried to send to have made a note of the out-of-date or badly-collected list. If it happens again, they’ll make another note, and if it keeps happening, eventually they might decide to block your emails altogether. This means that even your active and engaged subscribers won’t receive your mailings, and it’s far harder to reverse this consequence than it is to avoid it in the first place.

Unsubscribes are your best friend

No one likes to hear that their mailings are unwanted. It’s tempting to try to prevent people unsubscribing, although most people appreciate that this will only lead to complaints – not to mention it being a legal requirement. However, if you take your unsubscribes for granted, you’ll miss a big clue from your subscribers which may help you in the long run. Ask yourself why the campaign you sent, or the list you sent to, resulted in such a high unsubscribe rate. Were the subscribers not expecting the mailing? Was the content not relevant to them? Was the campaign sent too soon after your last one? An unsubscribe might look like a heartless goodbye, but really they are the perfect, most quantifiable kind of constructive criticism.

Unsubscribes and bounces don’t carry the same instant gratification as watching your open and clickthrough rates gradually rise, but don’t let that dishearten you. The true goal for your email marketing is building a relationship with your subscribers, and taking on board their constructive criticism is the first step to bringing a smile to their face when they see your company name in their inbox.

For further reading have a look at our coffee break guide to email delivery.