Unsubscribe Rate


Unsubscribe Rates are between 0% to 100%; once you finish the equation, turn your answer to a percentage by multiplying by 100.

Tips for interpreting Unsubscribe Rates:

Unsubscribe rates are meant to show the fraction (or percentage) of people that have taken an active measure to disengage with your email program by clicking on the unsubscribe link within a particular email.

The unsubscribe is a good metric to benchmark over time because fluctuations in unsubscribe rates can highlight issues with list collection, targeting, and/or the content of your emails. For example, a high unsubscribe rate during your initial welcome series could suggest improvements are needed to better set expectations with new subscribers during the sign-up process, whereas a high unsubscribe rate detected on one of your typical email campaigns could indicate that your subscribers simply no longer find value in the content you are sending. 

Make the unsubscribe process easy. This is required by law in most parts of the world, but more importantly, if someone wants to get off the list, let them! Otherwise, they may choose to mark the email as spam, which is worse for deliverability.

In general, the LOWER the unsubscribe rate, the better. However, a low unsubscribe rate doesn’t necessarily mean subscribers still want to hear from you. It’s possible that they simply haven’t taken the time to unsubscribe or mark your email as spam. 

Look to other engagement metrics such as open and click-through-rates to highlight recipients who are no longer active with your email program.

In summary, you can use unsubscribe rates to optimize your email campaigns by:

  • Identifying recipients who should be suppressed from future mailings
  • Evaluating the performance of an email program over time

Related Links:

Interested in learning more about the legal aspects related to email unsubscribes? Check out CAN-SPAM ACT: A Compliance Guide for Business, It’s the law: 7 email marketing rules you should know, and Is It Illegal to Not Have an Unsubscribe Link?

Looking for inspiration to improve your unsubscribe process? Check out When It’s Time to Let Go: 5 Tactics to Improve the Unsubscribe Experience and The Top 7 Unsubscribe Best Practices for Email Marketers.

Not convinced that making the Unsubscribe process easy is important? Check out Email Unsubscribe Best Practices – Scientifically Tested before you decide.

Facing low unsubscribe rates? Check out Why subscribers ignore you – but don’t unsubscribe to determine if this might be an issue for your deliverability, and also view Email Opt-Out Activity by Geographic Region to see how your unsubscribe rates measure up.

Interested in learning other metrics you should be tracking alongside Unsubscribe Rates? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Measuring Email Marketing Success: 12 Key Metrics and Marketing Metrics: When A Negative Can Become A Positive.

Note: Mentions of CAN-SPAM, CCPA, GDPR, and other laws and regulations are not intended as legal advice.