KPIs for Marketing

KPIs for Marketing: email unsubscribe rate

Discover the importance of tracking email unsubscribe rate as a key performance indicator (KPI) for your marketing strategy.

As a marketer, there are countless metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you need to track to determine the success of your campaigns. One of the most important KPIs to pay attention to is email unsubscribe rate. In this article, we'll explore why email unsubscribe rate matters, how to calculate it, industry benchmarks to strive for, and strategies to reduce it.

Understanding Email Unsubscribe Rate

Email unsubscribe rate is the percentage of recipients who have opted-out from receiving future marketing email communications from your brand. It's a valuable metric for measuring the quality of your email list and how effective your email campaigns are at engaging, informing, and converting your subscribers.

What is Email Unsubscribe Rate?

Put simply, email unsubscribe rate is a measure of how many subscribers choose to unsubscribe from your email communications after receiving a message. Generally, this number is expressed as a percentage of your total email list.

Why is Email Unsubscribe Rate Important?

An email unsubscribe rate that's too high can indicate that your campaigns are failing to deliver value to your subscribers, which can hurt your brand's reputation, reduce your reach, and ultimately damage your bottom line. Conversely, a consistently low unsubscribe rate demonstrates that your subscribers are engaged and find value in your content, and can help drive conversions and revenue.

It is important to note that a high unsubscribe rate is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, subscribers may have simply lost interest in your content or may have changed their email address. In these cases, it's better to have them unsubscribe rather than mark your emails as spam, which can negatively impact your sender reputation.

To keep your unsubscribe rate low, it's important to regularly review and update your email list. Remove inactive subscribers who haven't engaged with your emails in a while, and make sure your content is relevant and valuable to your target audience. Personalizing your emails and segmenting your list can also help improve engagement and reduce unsubscribe rates.

Another way to reduce unsubscribe rates is to provide subscribers with options to adjust their email preferences. Allow them to choose the frequency and type of content they receive, and make it easy for them to unsubscribe if they no longer wish to receive your emails. This can help build trust and improve the overall subscriber experience.

In summary, email unsubscribe rate is an important metric for measuring the effectiveness of your email campaigns and the quality of your email list. By regularly reviewing and updating your list, providing relevant and valuable content, and giving subscribers control over their email preferences, you can improve engagement and reduce unsubscribe rates, ultimately driving conversions and revenue for your brand.

Factors Influencing Email Unsubscribe Rate

As a marketer, it is crucial to understand the factors that can influence email unsubscribe rate. By doing so, you can identify problem areas and make adjustments to your email campaigns to optimize performance.

Email Frequency

Email frequency is a critical factor that can impact your unsubscribe rate. Sending too many emails can overwhelm and annoy your subscribers, leading to unsubscribes. On the other hand, not sending enough emails can cause your subscribers to forget about your brand and ultimately unsubscribe because they no longer feel connected to your messaging.

So, how do you strike a balance? The answer lies in understanding your subscribers' preferences. Conducting surveys or analyzing engagement metrics can help you determine the optimal email frequency for your audience.

Email Content and Relevance

The content and relevance of your email communications play a key role in whether or not your subscribers find value in them. If your content is irrelevant or doesn't align with your subscribers' interests and needs, they'll likely unsubscribe.

One way to ensure your content is relevant is by segmenting your email list. By dividing your subscribers into smaller groups based on their interests or behaviors, you can send targeted messages that resonate with them. Personalization is also crucial in creating relevant content. Use subscriber data to personalize subject lines, greetings, and content to make your emails more engaging.

Subscriber Expectations

When subscribers sign up for your email list, they have certain expectations about what they'll receive in terms of frequency, content type, and messaging. If these expectations aren't met, they're more likely to unsubscribe.

To avoid disappointing your subscribers, be transparent about what they can expect from your email communications. Clearly communicate the type of content they'll receive, how often they'll receive it, and what value they can expect from it. This will help manage their expectations and reduce the likelihood of unsubscribes.

In conclusion, by understanding these key factors that influence email unsubscribe rate, you can improve the effectiveness of your email campaigns and keep your subscribers engaged and loyal to your brand.

How to Calculate Email Unsubscribe Rate

Calculating email unsubscribe rate is straightforward using the following formula:

  1. Divide the number of unsubscribers by the number of total emails sent.
  2. Multiply the result by 100 to get the percentage.
  3. Round to the nearest decimal.

However, it's important to not just know how to calculate your email unsubscribe rate, but also to understand why it matters. A high unsubscribe rate can indicate that your subscribers are not finding your content valuable or relevant to their interests. This can lead to decreased engagement and ultimately, a negative impact on your email marketing efforts.

Formula for Unsubscribe Rate:

Email Unsubscribe Rate = (Number of Unsubscribers ÷ Number of Total Emails Sent) x 100

Analyzing Unsubscribe Rate Over Time

It's important to not just analyze your unsubscribe rate for individual campaigns, but also over time. Look for trends, spikes, or drops in activity to identify areas where you need to make changes to your email programs and better meet your subscribers' expectations. For example, if you notice a sudden increase in unsubscribe rates after sending a particular type of email, it may be time to re-evaluate the content and messaging of those emails to ensure they are meeting the needs and interests of your subscribers.

Another factor to consider when analyzing your unsubscribe rate over time is the frequency of your email sends. If you are sending too many emails in a short period of time, your subscribers may feel overwhelmed and choose to unsubscribe. On the other hand, if you are not sending enough emails, your subscribers may forget about your brand or lose interest. Finding the right balance is key to maintaining a healthy unsubscribe rate and keeping your subscribers engaged.

Benchmarks for Email Unsubscribe Rate

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach your audience, but it's important to keep track of your unsubscribe rate to ensure you're not losing subscribers. What constitutes a good or bad email unsubscribe rate varies by industry, audience, and email type. However, across all industries, the average unsubscribe rate is around 0.2-0.3%. Here are some general benchmarks to aim for:

Industry Standards

Depending on your industry, there are varying benchmarks to which you should compare your email unsubscribe rate. For example, in the e-commerce industry, a 0.25% unsubscribe rate is considered healthy, whereas in the finance sector, a rate below 0.1% is the norm. This is because the type of content that is sent to subscribers in these industries varies greatly. E-commerce emails may contain promotional offers, while finance emails may contain important account information. It's important to do your research to ensure you are aware of your industry's average benchmarks and adjust your email marketing strategy accordingly.

Comparing Your Unsubscribe Rate to Competitors

It's also a good idea to compare your unsubscribe rate to those of your competitors to understand how you're performing in relation to others in your space. Competitive analysis can identify ways to differentiate your campaigns and stand out from others in your market. For example, if you find that your unsubscribe rate is higher than your competitors, it may be time to re-evaluate your email content and frequency. Are you sending too many emails? Are your subject lines not engaging enough? These are important questions to ask yourself when analyzing your unsubscribe rate.

In addition to industry and competitive benchmarks, it's important to consider the type of email you're sending. For example, a promotional email may have a higher unsubscribe rate than a newsletter or transactional email. It's important to segment your email list and send targeted messages to ensure that subscribers are receiving content that is relevant to their interests.

In conclusion, while there is no one-size-fits-all benchmark for email unsubscribe rates, it's important to keep track of your rate and compare it to industry standards and competitors. By doing so, you can identify areas for improvement and ensure that your email marketing strategy is effective and engaging for your subscribers.

Strategies to Reduce Email Unsubscribe Rate

Email marketing is a powerful tool for businesses to reach out to their customers and promote their brand. However, it can be disheartening to see a high unsubscribe rate. To reduce your email unsubscribe rate, consider implementing the following tactics:

Segmenting Your Email List

Segmenting your email list based on subscribers' interests and preferences can make your messaging more relevant and engaging, which in turn reduces the likelihood of them unsubscribing. By providing targeted content, you can keep your subscribers engaged and interested in your brand.

For example, if you run an e-commerce store, you can segment your email list based on the types of products your subscribers have purchased in the past. You can then send targeted emails promoting similar products or offering discounts on items they are likely to be interested in.

Personalizing Email Content

Personalizing your email content can increase subscriber engagement and make them feel valued. This can include using their name in the subject line or suggesting products based on their past purchase history.

However, personalization goes beyond just using a subscriber's name. You can also tailor your messaging based on their location, age, or other demographic information. This can help you create emails that feel more relevant and personalized to each individual subscriber.

Testing and Optimizing Email Frequency

Experiment with different email frequencies and analyze the impact on your unsubscribe rate. Finding the right balance of sending emails at a frequency that is not too frequent or infrequent can make a huge difference in retaining subscribers and keeping your email list growing.

However, it's important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to email frequency. Some subscribers may prefer to receive daily emails, while others may only want to hear from you once a month. By testing different frequencies and analyzing the results, you can find the sweet spot that works best for your audience.

In conclusion, reducing your email unsubscribe rate requires a combination of tactics, including segmenting your email list, personalizing your content, and optimizing your email frequency. By putting these strategies into practice, you can keep your subscribers engaged and interested in your brand, leading to higher open rates and increased revenue.


Email unsubscribe rate is a vital KPI to track if you want to measure the effectiveness of your email campaigns. By understanding factors that influence unsubscribes and implementing strategies to reduce it, you can improve engagement levels, conversions, and revenue. Make sure to analyze your unsubscribe rate regularly and make adjustments to ensure optimal performance.