The Dishonor Unroll

If you are a typical email user your box probably gets a fair amount of mail each day that’s not exactly spam but also not of huge interest to you.

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Image via CrunchBase

That mail may come from companies or services to which you’ve subscribed (probably when you signed up and didn’t uncheck the “send me news” box) but for which you don’t have any great need of immediate news. If you’re a power email user you’ve probably figured out how to set up filters in your email client to dump those mails into a folder you can check later. For the rest of us there’s is a service that does just that. As they put it, you can unsubscribe from unwanted email subscriptions, discover new ones and organize them all in one place. From that they create what they call a Rollup:

The Rollup is a digest that gives you an overview of all the subscriptions you receive each day. The Rollup will keep your inbox clean by organizing the subscriptions you receive into a daily digestible email.

The screed today isn’t a love note to the service although I do use it and find it useful.  As you might imagine, the company collects an awful lot of information about who is subscribed to what since it is granted permission to look at your email stream.  It also knows what percentage of people who subscribe to something either unsubscribe or send the mail to the Rollup and not to the inbox.  They stopped over 1 billion emails from reaching their users’ inboxes in 2013.  And from whom do those emails come?

Funny you should ask. just published lists of the companies who get dumped and who get aggregated.  These are the companies from which users unsubscribe:

  1. 1800 Flowers — 52.50% unsubscribe rate
  2. Ticketweb — 47.50% unsubscribe rate
  3. Pro Flowers — 45.10% unsubscribe rate
  4. Expedia — 45.00% unsubscribe rate
  5. — 44.70% unsubscribe rate
  6. Eventful — 44.20% unsubscribe rate
  7. Oriental Trading — 43.60% unsubscribe rate
  8. — 42.10% unsubscribe rate
  9. 1800 Contacts — 42.00% unsubscribe rate
  10. Party City — 41.60% unsubscribe rate

I’ve only listed the top 10 – the link will show you more.  Now if I’m on the above list I’d be asking myself why.  I can answer the question:  you’re not providing anything of value.  My guess is the mails tend to be about you and not about your customers.  Perhaps you’re opting people in for your mail as a default instead of allowing them to make the choice.  Compare that list with the Top 10 most rolled up companies:

  1. Hulu — 61.60% Rollup rate
  2. AmazonLocal Deals — 46.00% Rollup rate
  3. GoDaddy — 44.40% Rollup rate
  4. Codecademy — 40.50% Rollup rate
  5. Google Offers — 39.00% Rollup rate
  6. Evernote — 36.40% Rollup rate
  7. Microsoft — 34.90% Rollup rate
  8. — 34.40% Rollup rate
  9. Groupon — 32.80% Rollup rate
  10. LivingSocial Deals — 32.40% Rollup rate

These guys are offering value although not enough so that users feel the need to see their news immediately.  Not awful, but if you’re in a time-based offer business like GroupOn or LivingSocial, this could be a problem.

If your business uses email for communication, think about what, how, and how often you’re using that list to communicate.  Time is a precious commodity and all of us have less of it than we’d like.  To get customers to give your mail some of that time you need to provide value – a return on that time investment.  Otherwise, unsubscribes result and you’re on the list next year.  Not a place I’d like to be.  You?

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Huh?, Reality checks

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