Top Reasons You Are Getting Spam Complaints and How to Fix Them
No one is safe from spam complaints. Complaints can happen even to good marketers who are sending to permission-based email lists.
The complaint rate used to be underestimated, but the recent research shows that 20% of deliverability issues were caused by a lot of spam complaints.
The complaint rate is calculated as the number of “report spam/junk” complaints out of emails sent. For example, the 0.1% complaint rate is considered acceptable and often seen among good senders, but the 0.5% rate is already too high.
While you may not be able to achieve zero complaints, you absolutely can reduce and maintain your complaint rate at the acceptable level to increase your Inbox placements.
Here we’ve put together the information every marketer should know about spam complaints: reasons people send complaints, means to process spam complaints, and recommendations and tips to reduce complaints.
1. What Spam Complaints Are and How They Affect Deliverability
A lot of senders see marketing email campaigns as one-way communications with no real dialogue back to the sender.
But it’s important to understand that even if the recipients do not communicate back to the sender evidently by replying the email, they have other ways to communicate through their activity: opens, clicks, deletions, spam markings, complaints, and whitelisting.
And these actions affect your email deliverability. The recipient activity or engagement is one of the factors determining whether your emails will be delivered to the Inbox or spam folder.
On one side, positive actions such as opening the email, moving it from Spam to Inbox, forwarding and replying, adding the sender to the address book improve your reputation with mailbox providers.
This positive engagement tells mailbox providers that you’re sending to a clean and opt-in list and that the recipients like and engage with your emails. This proves that your subscribers actually want to receive your emails and increases your Inbox placements in comparison to spam placements.
On the other side of subscriber engagement are spam complaints. They are more harmful to your reputation and deliverability than other negative user’s actions (ignoring, deleting).
Spam complaints are a direct signal from recipients to mailbox providers that your emails are unwanted. Mailbox providers attempt to protect their users from unwanted mail and heavily factor spam complaints into their filtering decisions.
Most ISPs have a “Report Spam/This is Spam” button that the email readers can easily click on and tell the ISP that the email is undesired. If enough people mark your emails as junk/spam, then the ISP will begin filtering your emails to the junk or spam folder.
Oppositely, if enough recipients are moving your emails from their junk or spam folder to their Inbox, then this will improve your deliverability and Inbox placement.
Besides clicking on the “This is Spam” button in their Inboxes, the recipient can complain using other ways:
- They can email the postmaster or spam agency, for example, SpamCop. This method is typically used by more savvy subscribers, and, therefore, can have a bigger impact than the spam markings would.
- They can use the Microsoft Spam Fighters Program. Through this program, Outlook.com users are asked to vote on whether they consider your emails spam or not. After enough spam votes, your emails will start to be routed to the junk folder of Microsoft users.
So, you should remember that email marketing is a two-way communication, and your subscribers have a variety of methods to communicate back without you even knowing about it.
How they communicate is an important factor determining whether or not your email campaigns will be delivered to the Inbox. You have to ensure that this communication stays positive and does not result in your emails being filtered out as spam or junk mail.
One Last Thing…
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