One More Time: Email Frequency Chief Culprit in Unsubscribes

BlueHornet-Email-Unsubscribe-Reasons-Mar2013Time and again, consumers say message overload drives them away (see here and here for examples). Now, another survey [download page], this time from BlueHornet finds a similar result, with frequency overtaking (ir)relevance as the top reason consumers say they unsubscribe from email programs. Last year, relevance (31.4%) and frequency (30.4%) almost equally shared the dubious honor of being the chief reason for unsubscribes. But this year, frequency (35.4%) is clearly the top reason. That might be a reflection of increased email volume, with a recent study finding that for 4 in 10 consumers, more than half of their new emails are from marketers.

Marketers may be able to prevent churn by offering an “opt down” option (change in frequency, subscription topics, etc.). Given this choice when opting out, 47.1% of respondents said they would always (20.3%) or sometimes (26.8%) use it instead of unsubscribing.

What about the chief reasons for subscribing to an email program? Easily the most important reason cited by consumers is to receive discounts (83.5%), followed by loving the brand (7%), getting product/services updates (6.4%), and to participate in product research (3.1%).

As a result, many consumers say discounts are the main reason for opening and reading an email from a retail brand. 45.4% of the respondents cited a subject line mentioning a discount or special offer to be the most likely factor driving them to open and read an email. For 35.7%, the subject line promoting a product they’re interested in is primary, which ties back to consumer focus on relevance.

About the Data: The questionnaire for the survey was developed by BlueHornet with assistance from Flagship Research. The survey was administered to a national panel of 1,002 consumers across the United States between the ages 25 and 40 who live in urban or suburban areas; 77% of whom are employed and 76% with an income over $35,000.