A spam complaint is one thing you would never want for your marketing campaigns. This can hurt not just your sender reputation but also deliverability rates, and you can even get blocked by the ISPs.

Is there any way out?

Definitely, there is; that is what this guide aims to deliver — the best solutions to reduce high spam complaint rates for emails.

To give you a gist of the matter, here is what this guide will explore:

  • Defining Spam Complaint Rate
  • What gets counted as high spam complaint rate?
  • How is spam reported?
  • How is the sender affected by high spam complaint rate?
  • Best practices to adopt and avoid a high spam complaint rate

Self-help: 14 tips t achieve high inbox delivery


Spam Complaint Rate – What does it mean?

Your contacts probably would not reply to your messages, but they do have a way to communicate. It can be interpreted from their actions: clicks, open rate, engagement rate, etc. while the said actions are considered good engagement, spam complaint rate means the opposite.

In a nutshell, it is the rate that reveals the number of people who reported your message. If you send 4,000 messages and 4 people mark it as spam, then your spam rate is 0.1% (4/4,000)

What is counted as a high spam complaint rate?

Let us talk about industry standards and what is considered a high rate by major inbox providers like Gmail. A standard spam complaint rate falls anywhere below 0.1%, i.e., one email per 1,000. Anything that gets above this is considered as a high spam complaint rate.

How is spam reported?

Commonly, there are two methods by which contact can report the email as spam:

  1. By clicking “this is spam” or “report spam” button or link in their inbox. When the contacts click this button, it is directly reported to us via the feedback loops that have been established with all reputed inbox providers. In most of the cases, once the user takes this action, they will be removed from your list,i.e., unsubscribed. However, you will not be able to know which of the contact(s) used this method.
  2. Second, and a better method is when the contact clicks the native unsubscribe link and then states/marks the reason for unsubscribing. This way, you can view the unsubscribe report on each campaign or automation emails.

Self-help: What to do if emails are landing in the spam box?

How is the sender affected by high spam complaint rate?

Now, while it may be innocent on the contact’s part, high spam complaint may hurt you for a more extended period than you think. It affects your deliverability that may take months to heal. For the major email providers like Gmail, they always keep a closer look at the spam complaint rate for a period of past 30-60 days. Once they notice a high complaint rate, it takes you anywhere between 30 to 60 days to get back on track.

What we do is, if we notice a high complaint rate, our deliverability team will put your Account under review and you will also get a notification via email. This will be sent to the email address that has been listed in the “Notification email” area. In the email, there will be a few questions for you to answer through which we can gauge why the spam complaint rate so high. Not just this, we will also provide you with some actionable solutions you can take to correct the issue.

You cannot send emails during this period. After receiving your response and looking into the matter if we feel you have taken the needed actions, you will be able to re-access your account and send emails. Furthermore, the high spam rate also brings you to a risk of getting your account suspended. This is because we stand firm that recipients shall not receive an email that they have not requested. So, be sure to read our terms of use and sending policy before making use of the services.

Best practices to adopt and avoid a high spam complaint rate

Now, there are some healthy practices through which you can follow to bring down your deliverability rate to near 0%. These are as follows:

  • Send emails to only those contacts who have explicitly opted for, in the past 12 months. It is always advisable to clean your email segments and make sure it’s in a healthy state. Usually, older contacts make more spam complaints.
  • Another method is to have a double opt-in or confirmation email on your forms or/and add captcha. What this does is make sure that no bot traffic is added to your lists, rather a genuine contact base is formed.
  • Refrain from using any 3rd party, traded or any co-registration lists. This will only lead to high spam complaint rate as the people did not opt-in for them and would become instantly skeptical about the messages. So it is advisable to use the list of directly opted contacts.
  • Making the contacts remind that they have requested email from you is crucial. More often than not, people forget that they have subscribed and may end up marking the emails as spam. However, this is avoidable, you can add a note in the starting of the email stating how the contacts got into your list.
  • Add on an additional unsubscribe link somewhere in the top of the email. It should be placed on a prominent position so that it helps your contacts to unsubscribe even if they want to opt-out. This is far better than them marking it as spam because this won’t hurt your deliverability rate.
  • Ensure that your emails come from the domain where the contacts signed up and it has the same branding too. Another thing you need to keep in check is the “From” name for the campaign aligns with the branding of the page contacted for sign up.
  • Send a welcome message to make your contacts acquainted with your branding and the style of messages. This way, they would not feel foreign when they start to receive actual messages from you.
  • And as always, send relevant and personalized messages to better connect with them.