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Why Subscribers Flag Email As Spam

Posted by Chris Winter on Apr 13, 2015 11:58:00 AM

Why Subscribers Flag Email As Spam

As an email marketer, you pride yourself on taking care of the details. With each email campaign you create valuable content, attractive CTAs, and engaging subject lines. Yet when you analyze the results from your email deployments, you may be concerned with the growing number of spam complaints your emails receive. It leaves you scratching your head asking, “Why this is happening?”In a recent MarketingSherpa survey, 472 email subscribers were surveyed to gain a better understanding of why subscribers mark email as spam. The results were compiled in the following chart:

why subscribers mark email as spam

Almost 50% of email subscribers said they hit the spam button as a result of receiving too many emails from an organization. While optimal email frequency varies from organization to organization, it is important to monitor your email metrics and adjust to your subscriber’s preferences. One way to identify your optimal email frequency can be as easy as sending out a simple survey with 2 or 3 questions related to the content you send them and how often they’d like to receive it. Or better yet, include it in your registration form.

Another 36.4% of subscribers said that they did not purposefully subscribe to receive emails from a particular organization. With consumer privacy a hot-button issue in the world today, it is critical that email marketers ensure their lists contain only those records which have provided proper consent. Here are 4 simple steps to effective email list cleaning.

31.6% of subscribers said they hit the spam buttons because the emails they received contained irrelevant content. Email marketers can address this issue by outlining the nature of their email programs upfront during registration. A bigger list is not always better. Ensure that your subscribers have a good idea of the types of content they will receive – and stick to it!

Lastly, 10.6% of subscribers flagged email as spam because they felt the emails they received were impersonal. In the age of “big data” it can be easy to personalize email campaigns. Personalization can be as simple as addressing your subscribers by their first name or as complex as using past purchase history to segment subscribers and send more relevant emails.


According to The Radicati Group, the average corporate email user will send and receive 125 emails per day in 2015. With so much competition for the Inbox and subscribers ready to mark your email as spam, observing accepted industry best practices is key to maintaining your sender reputation and, ultimately, your revenue. 

Topics: Email List Cleaning, Anti Spam, Spam, list cleaning, Email Marketing

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