Losing the Love: Why People Unsubscribe, Unfollow, Unfriend

A study issued this week by Exact Target and Cotweet called “The Social Break-Up”  investigated the reasons why people unsubscribe, unfollow, or unfriend our email and social activities.  I always love seeing the reasons behind why things happen. I know why I do it, and wondered if it mirrored what the survey indicated.

The study surveyed 1,500 consumers to identify how people are changing their online behaviors and details top motivations for unfanning, unfollowing and unsubscribing from marketing campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and email.

“Consumers remain willing to engage with marketers via the inbox, Facebook and Twitter,” said Jeff Rohrs, principal of ExactTarget’s Marketing Research and Education Group. “However, consumers understand now more than ever that they are in control of marketers’ messages and will punish irrelevant, voluminous or boring messages by cutting off marketers means of direct communication.

”Key results of the study include:
• 91 percent of consumers have unsubscribed from permission-based marketing emails.
• 77 percent of consumers report being more cautious about providing their email address to companies versus last year
• 81 percent of consumers have either “unliked” or removed a company’s posts from their Facebook news feed.
• 71 percent of consumers report being more selective about “liking” a company on Facebook versus last year.
• 51 percent of consumers expect that a “like” will result in marketing communications from brands while 40 percent do not believe it should result in marketing communications.
• 41 percent of consumers have “unfollowed” a company on Twitter.

The Spark is Gone

Keeping the relationship fresh is a constant battle for marketers. 49% of consumers say they unsubscribe because content became boring or repetitive over time. To stay relevant, marketers need to continually take inventory of what individual SUBSCRIBERS respond to, and keep a broad content library to make sure messaging remains varied and fresh.

Aaahh!!  All that hard work, and we are still not hitting the sweet spot when it comes to delivering relevant content in a timely manner at just the right dosage.  We don’t need to be biochem majors to figure this part out. This stat is the same for Twitter and Facebook too:

  • 52% unfollow on Twitter because of boring, repetitive content
  • 50% unfriend or unlike on Facebook because of boring, repetitive content

What that says to me is that it’s time to rethink our content strategies.  What are we delivering and why are we delivering it? Are we absolutely sure the materials we are publishing matters as much to our customers as it matters to us? It’s time to start questioning what we are doing vs. being in auto-pilot getting email blasts out the door.

Enough already

I know I just unsubscribed to email from a great little cookie company because they send daily emails.  I don’t need to buy cookies every day.  I did buy some at Christmas for a client, but hey, that doesn’t mean we’re best friends and need to interact daily.  When I’m ready to buy cookies again, I’ll be back but for now just back off!  My sentiment matches up to how others behave with email:

There is some great info and charts in this report.  Definitely some things to think about.  Request your own copy here.

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