Silverpop - Why We Click the Spam Button
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Why We Click the Spam Button

by: Ted Roberts (@IBMforMarketing)
01 December 2008

We're mad as heck and we're not going to take it anymore. At least, that's what the results of our recent study, "Spam: What Consumers Really Think," seem to show.

To find out why people report messages as spam and how much they know about what happens when they do, Silverpop conducted an online survey of 400 email recipients age 18 to 55, and the results were eye-opening: If people don't like a message, they won't hesitate to get rid of it. And they don't care who gets hurt in the process.

While most people (76 percent) said they hit the spam button because they had not subscribed to the senders message, 30 percent said it was because they didn't trust the unsubscribe link. Another 7 percent acknowledged they had subscribed to the message, but simply didn't want them anymore; and 7 percent said they hit the spam button because of message frequency.

Another interesting finding was how people define spam. While most respondents (52 percent) defined spam as any email they haven't subscribed to, 40 percent also said it was any email they no longer wanted to receive, and 35 percent said it was email from any commercial entity.

Aside from the obvious negative brand implications of having your messages thought of with the same regard as Viagra ads and stock market picks, use of the spam button poses very real deliverability concerns for legitimate marketers. If even a tiny portion of your recipients hit the spam button, Internet service providers may decide to block all your messages from delivery.

Interestingly, the study found that 83 percent were unaware that clicking the spam button could cause a sender's messages to be blocked from other people who wanted them. And, here's the kicker: two out of three said they would continue to brand unwanted emails as spam even after learning that it could block senders' emails from reaching others who had requested them.

Regardless of whether you have permission, all the necessary technical configurations in place and a sterling reputation at the ISPs, in the end good deliverability ultimately boils down to whether your recipients perceive your message to be worthwhile.

To learn more about our findings, and to get tactics for reducing spam complaints and making sure your messages remain welcome in the inbox, you can download our study free on our Web site here.




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