In what many marketers will consider another attack on email marketing, Google has just announced that they will be moving the unsubscribe link from the bottom of messages up to the very top. The move, which they announced in a Google+ post, will make it easier than ever for people to quickly unsubscribe from marketing lists.
For most marketers, the email list is one of their most valuable assets. While nobody wants inactive subscribers, it is not good for business to have the unsubscribe option right up at the top. This encourages people to unsubscribe without really thinking it through. Many people will likely go through and remove themselves from all the lists, without having to look at the valuable content that they will be giving up.
Of course, there is not much that can be done by marketers. Since the unsubscribe option will now be located right next to the ‘from’ line, it will be seen before just about anything else in the message for anyone who uses gMail. This, of course, is millions of potential subscribers.
There will be some benefits to this. Since most marketers pay for email marketing based largely on the number of subscribers they have, anyone who leaves their list will reduce their total count. Assuming most people who unsubscribe are the ones that won’t be taking action anyway, this won’t be all bad.
In reality, however, the people who are getting to the point where they see this box are the ones who are at least opening the message. These are not the ones that most marketers will want to lose from their list.
While this is not a doomsday scenario for marketers, and it will likely have less of an impact than when Gmail introduced tabbed inboxes, it is still one more thing that will make the job of a performance marketer more difficult.