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Gmail Introduces New Easy Unsubscribe and Block Options to Stop Users Wrongly Marking You as Spam

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For email designers and developers, Gmail is very quickly taking over Microsoft Outlook’s title of “most hated email client.” This is a problem because Gmail represents a massive 16% of email opens, behind only the iPhone in the client market share statistics that Litmus makes public. That percentage represents a large number of devices that marketers have to worry about due to the fact that there is no difference in how mobile (app and mobile Web) and desktop email opens are calculated by Gmail.

Unlike the mail clients that come with Apple computers, iPhones, iPads, and Android devices, Gmail doesn’t support key bits of modern HTML or traditionally responsive email, but that isn’t the only thing scaring marketers away.

In an update to the Gmail app last week, Google introduced a pair of small features that have potentially huge implications for email marketers. First though, a little background: When someone receives your newsletter and no longer wants it in their inbox, they’re going to get rid of it as quickly as they can. Prior to this update, there were a few ways for them to do this with varying degrees of severity:

  1. They can simply archive or delete the message.
  2. They can report the message as spam. This will take future emails from the sender and move them to your junk folder. If the message or the sender is reported as spam enough times, the sender can be blacklisted by Gmail or the Internet service provider and future messages will bounce or not be sent.
  3. They can report the message as phishing. This is the most severe because phishing is inherently malicious and the easiest way for your content to be totally banned. This option is a little more difficult to find than the others.

Unfortunately for marketers, many users do not know the consequences of reporting spam and will use that option because it is often the easiest. In Gmail’s Web app, for example, the order of buttons that sit above an email that you are viewing is:

Reply – Archive – Report Spam – Delete

The spam button uses an exclamation mark icon that draws the eye and seems very important. It’s very easy to see why people go for that option.

Block and Unsubscribe

In an effort for users to get rid of your email in an easier and more accurate method, the new update introduces a pair of options that slot in between deleting the message and reporting it as spam in terms of severity. Welcome to the game, Block and Unsubscribe.


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This new option functions just like the unsubscribe link that, by law, has to be in your email to give your readers an option to opt out of emails. It will unsubscribe you from a newsletter without giving an option to update your preferences if you would rather recieve that newsletter less frequently or to change what type of emails you receive.


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Blocking a sender takes it a step further. It’s like blocking someone on Twitter. You simply won’t see messages from them again.

So what can you do?

The first thing you can do to keep subscribers on board is to create more relevant and engaging content. If your readers like what you send them, they have no reason to leave. Still, you can’t please everyone, and even if your content is great, it may not resonate with your entire audience.

Maybe that user just isn’t into everything you’re sending or would like to get less of it. They’re determined to get out or change their preferences. It’s better that they can do that easily instead of hitting that big “Report Spam” button. Make your “Unsubscribe” link obvious and take users to a preference center where they can make adjusts to what you send them and how frequently they’ll receive it.

Need help taking control of your content marketing and sending more meaningful, engaging, and relevant emails to your subscribers? Contact us today!

Content Marketing = More Placements! FIND OUT HOW

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