Why measuring unsubscribes is as important as measuring response rate. | DMA

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Why measuring unsubscribes is as important as measuring response rate.


Unsubscribes are often something marketers ignore and accept as part of the course for sending emails, but measuring data loss is as vital as any other email metric. It is not a bad thing to have recipients opt-out of your mailings as you do not want to mail consumers that are not interested in your offering, but what if they have unsubscribed due to over mailing irrelevant content or one poorly executed campaign that could have been avoided.

The best way to measure unsubscribes is calculating your Disaffection Rate – this is the number of unsubscribes divided by the number of opens. This should then be analysed alongside the usual revenue and response rate metrics to help determine the success of a campaign. Like with any metric, the rate that is acceptable is determined by the targets of the individual campaign but anything over 1% could be cause for concern. A campaign may be giving you great open and click through rates but if you have a high disaffection rate, you could be prioritising a short term boost over a longer term lucrative relationship, doing more harm than good.

ESB Connect analysed over 50 million emails by vertical to get an indication of disaffection rates. Verticals such as Over 50s, claim, dating and debt tend to have a higher than average disaffection rate. The lowest disaffection verticals are broadband, phone, utilities and travel – verticals that tend be appealing across most audiences. Home & Garden, Cars, Subscriptions and Insurance are also verticals where disaffection rates can be higher than average even though they often give great response rates so require more caution.

One way to reduce disaffection is to use effective targeting. It is becoming more and more important to be selective over the audience that you send your emails to rather than a scatter gun approach that has been commonplace in the past. Age, Gender and Postcode are the obvious metadata that can be used to select audiences to send specific offers to but these are not always present for all data so it is important to log mailing history and understand what verticals your data is interested in so you can adjust frequency, and target appropriately.

The value of an active email address is higher than ever, once they unsubscribe, they are lost forever, and therefore measure disaffection rate is a key measure that could have a significant long term impact on your campaign success.

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