Articles on: Deliverability

How to Reduce Spam Complaint Rates


The word "complaint" often suggests bad practices and unhappy customers, but when it comes to email marketing and your spam complaint rate, it is not as hostile as it sounds. That said, marketers should monitor their spam complaint rates because if they are allowed to slide, it can soon affect your email deliverability.

In this article, you will learn more about what spam complaint rates entail and how to minimize them over time.

What is a spam complaint rate?

Spam complaint rates measure how often subscribers mark your emails as spam. The formula for spam complaint rates is as follows:

Spam complaint rate = The number of people who mark your email as spam / The number of people who receive the email

In AVADA, you can see the number of complaints in:

- The Reports section

- Each automation workflow/ campaign report

- The suppression list

For more information, read or article on How to Use AVADA's Reports.

What is an acceptable spam complaint rate?

The industry standard for an acceptable spam complaint rate is 0.1%.

That is around 5 spam emails out of your 5,000 delivery. Anything over that 0.1% is considered high. If your rate is above 0.1%, then it's time to get matters in check and beat that rate down.

Why does the spam complaint rate matter?

When someone marks your emails as spam, this signifies to inbox providers that you're sending content to people who do not want to receive it, and they will be more likely to send your emails directly to the spam folder rather than an inbox in the future.

Spam complaints are viewed as more dire than when someone unsubscribes from your marketing, and a rise in spam complaints should not be taken lightly. In order to maintain a good sender reputation, monitor your spam complaint rates closely, and when you see a rise, immediately take action to lower this metric.

How to reduce your spam complaint rates?

Some best practices to reduce your spam complaint rates include:

- Make your unsubscribe link easily accessible

- Enable double opt-in

- Only send relevant, valuable content

- Avoid spammy subject lines

- Ensure that your emails render for all users

- Never buy, rent, or borrow email lists

Always include an unsubscribe link and make it easy to find in your emails.

If someone wants to opt out of marketing from your brand and is unable to find the unsubscribe link, then they are more likely to mark your email as spam. A spam complaint hurts your deliverability much more than an unsubscribe, so it is best practice to make this easily visible.

For instance, don't design your link to have a light font on a white background or place it somewhere deep within the copy of the email. Instead, include this link at the beginning or end of your emails (or even both) and make the colors stand out for ease of reading and accessibility.

NOTE: Including an unsubscribe link is mandatory. If AVADA detects that you do not include one, we will automatically include it in your email. You can edit this link and add it where you best see fit.

2. Enable double opt-in

We highly recommend that you enable double opt-in in your account. To navigate this, choose your form in the Forms section from the dashboard, and go to the Settings step.

Double opt-in is a process through which a new subscriber must confirm their subscription before being added to your list. You can choose to enable double opt-in or not, but we recommend keeping it on unless you have a specific use case that calls for single opt-in. For more information, navigate to our guide on How to Configure Double Opt-in.

3. Only send relevant, valuable content

Bombarding your subscribers with offers, vouchers, and promotions will make you look desperate.

Deliver content that is relevant and valuable for your subscribers. They will spot a good deal when there is one, which isn't always down to price.

4. Avoid spammy subject lines

Another best practice to reduce spam complaint rate is to avoid subject lines that may sound like they come from spammers. Not only will this cause your recipients to think you are sending spam and mark your emails as such, but this may also raise suspicion among inbox providers.

Inbox providers have spam filters that automatically deliver suspicious emails to the spam folder rather than the inbox. There are many words that trigger spam filters, but in general, avoid the following spam-triggers:

- All capital letters (i.e., EXCLUSIVE DEAL, FREE MONEY NOW)

- Using a lot of symbols (i.e., 100% FREE MONEY!!!$$$)

- Including only one large image in your email with little, or even no text

- Including eye-catching or spam-triggering phrases (i.e., JUST THIS ONCE FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY, ACT NOW!!!)

For inspiration on how to create great subject lines, head to:

- How to Write The Best Subject Lines for Open Rates?

- The Guide for Email Subject Line Testing

5. Ensure that your emails render for all users

Always account for desktop and mobile layouts for your emails. If there are issues on either layout, then customers who see the improperly rendered emails are more likely to mark them as spam.

A higher-than-usual spam complaint rate may also be a signal of email clipping. For instance, Gmail clips emails that are greater than 102KB in size. Be aware of this and adjust your email design accordingly to decrease the size and avoid frustrating recipients.

6. Never buy, rent, or borrow email lists

This is a golden rule of email marketing. You would think that the more addresses on your email list, the more chance you have of making sales and conversions. Wrong.

Unless you can guarantee that those addresses are interested in your product, they are just going to see you as junk. You can't even guarantee that those addresses are live and active. You are wasting your time and money. Just don't.

Updated on: 07/09/2021

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