deliverability letter

Unsubscribe rates aren’t evil, they’re indicative

Thoughts by Alyssa Jean • Writer Bento

Have you ever considered that a high unsubscribe rate in your email campaigns could be a sign of success, not failure?

Unsubscribe Rates are probably the most misunderstood metric in email marketing.

Let’s reframe this because unsubscribes are more indicative than negative.

Unsubscribe Rates: More Than Meets the Eye

At first glance, unsubscribe rates can be disheartening. No one likes to see subscribers leave. But let's look deeper. These rates aren't just about losing contacts; they're about retaining quality over quantity. A high unsubscribe rate can often mean that your list is self-cleansing, leaving behind a group of highly engaged and valuable subscribers.

Quality Subscribers: The Core of Your Strategy

The difference between a low-quality and a high-quality subscriber is substantial. The former might sign up for a quick discount and then vanish, contributing little to your brand in the long run. In contrast, high-quality subscribers are those who interact with your content regularly and are more likely to make repeat purchases. These are the subscribers who drive your business forward.

When Unsubscribes Signal a Strategy Shift

However, it's crucial to distinguish between healthy list refinement and signs of an ineffective strategy. An uptick in unsubscribes could indicate problems like aggressive sales tactics, lack of personalization, or irregular email frequencies. Although unsubscribes are a sign that you’re qualifying subscribers, the quality of your emails can inaccurately qualify them.

For example, if you send only sales emails, you may get a spike in sales but more likely, your unsubscribe rate will increase and your retention rate will suffer. Why? Your email marketing strategy did not resonate with the type of subscriber and customer you want to have.

Leveraging Unsubscribe Rates for Success

Understanding the reasons behind each unsubscribe is key to refining your strategy. Each unsubscribe can give you insights into your audience's preferences and behaviors, allowing you to create your content more effectively. This makes your email marketing campaigns more resonant and impactful, ultimately driving better engagement and conversions.


It's time to reframe how we view unsubscribe rates in email marketing. By recognizing their role in creating a high-quality, engaged audience and adjusting strategies accordingly, we can turn this metric into a powerful tool for success. So next time you see your unsubscribe rate climb, remember it might just be paving the way for a more effective and impactful email marketing strategy.