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Why Do Consumers Unsubscribe, Unlike, and Unfollow?
By: ML Haynes
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You do all you can to engage prospects—craft a compelling message based on consumer insights, design a look and feel that supports the brand and aids in driving conversions, test and retest to ensure that efficacy is optimized. You get the opt-ins you’re looking for. You begin a campaign of communications. And then the “unsubs” come in and you’re left wondering what happened; why the “thanks-but-no-thanks.”

ExactTarget,
a global interactive marketing services company, recently released the results of a survey in a report titled, “The Social Break-Up.” Querying more than 1,500 consumers, they uncovered the reasons for disengagement, the curious and quizzical “unsubs," "unlikes" and "unfollows" of email and social marketing.

The big take-away—not surprising—is that 9 out of 10 people surveyed expressed a dislike of too much and not enough. They do not like to be contacted too frequently. They do not appreciate irrelevant communications. They certainly do not like boring messages. And they make their feelings known in large numbers:
  • 91% have unsubscribed from permission emails
  • 81% have “unliked” or removed a company’s posts from their Facebook News Feed
  • 51% expect that a “like” will result in marketing communications from brands; 40% think this shouldn’t be a foregone conclusion
  • 41% of consumers have “unfollowed” a company on Twitter
So, what is it that drives these folks to take action, to turn us off, to tell us straight-up “thanks-but-no-thanks”? Your next email message, Facebook post, or Tweet could be received or rejected based on how well you respond. What do you think, is it this simple or have you found something different in your customer exit surveys?

Why do consumers unsubscribe from emails?
“Too frequent emails” is the top reason why consumers unsub from permission emails. Second is the perception that content’s become repetitive or boring over time.

What do subscribers do when they’re no longer interested in emails?
First action is to click the link to “unsubscribe.” A distant second is to simply delete the emails upon arrival. Third, is to click the “spam” or “junk” button.

Why do people “unlike” brands on Facebook?
Nearly half those surveyed stated the company posted too frequently. One percentage point below the top spot were those that claimed that their Wall was becoming too crowded with marketing posts and they wanted to get rid of them.

What do users typically do when they no longer want to see Facebook posts from a brand or company?
Nearly half of respondents went to a Fan Page and “unliked” the page. Done. Hiding posts and simply ignoring posts came in second and third.

Why do consumers “unfollow” brands on Twitter?
Tweets that become “repetitive or boring over time” are the top turn-off. When consumers’ Tweet streams are “too crowded” with marketing posts they get rid of them. They’ll also “unfollow” if the company is posting too frequently.


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About the Author

ML Haynes, hybrid creative and interactive director, pixel pusher and wordsmith, strategist and activist, thinks out loud here. Follow her on Twitter.

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