Gross, Can You Rate Rejection?
For some of our clients the focus seems to always be around opt-in vs. opt-out only in outbound management. But what about other categories of “no” from customers as it relates to email? Are you also tracking “abuse” complaints, spam reports, hard bounce, black-listing and quarantines?
You should be.
No one likes to hear an emphatic “no” from a customer but you should be paying careful attention to the other sub-buckets under “opt-out” and measure it holistically. We call it the GRR, or “Gross Rejection Rate.” The GRR is a percentage measurement of opt-outs, abuse complaints, spam reports and any other measurable action taken by the customer that says “No, I don’t want to hear any more from you.” We look at that number two different ways.
The Gross Rejection “whole” which is the whole number added together of the actions. And the “rate” which is a percentage of the full house file sent. So you can look at it this way; you send 2 outbound emails a week to your lists. Both lists of 20,500 names each sees about 635 “gross rejections” which is a combo of opt-outs, abuse complaints, reports of spam or some other negative “action” and we score it 3.18% GRR per outbound.
Combine that over a one-month total each week and you have your monthly GRR. But that’s not all. Pay careful attention to the “whole” number too. If you are seeing an inordinately higher number of “abuse” or spam complaints in the “whole” each week, chances are you need to rethink your email push pace. (Perhaps “less is more,” yes?)
The higher “abuse” claims over active opt-out numbers may also signal that your customer does not “recognize” you in your subject line, or by brand or simply does not recall ever opting in. Again, there is possibly a real disconnect between your view of “frequency” of contact and what the customer interprets.
Or, does your “unsubscribe” button look sketchy? Believe it or not there are still urban legends out there that profligate that if you click “unsubscribe” you are actually telling the magic Leprechaun that they assume is sending email that you have a “real” address and to just keep sending them. (While they smooth out their foil hats and keep looking for a bill from Facebook and watching for black helicopters overhead…)
Your mileage may vary but we think monitoring the GRR is just as important as other metrics to email because it is another way to dissect the numbers and see what it really going on.
One of the other additional benefits of GRR is to truly test your subject line muscularity. If you mistake “clever” for “clarity” in subject line and assume your customer knows the difference, you may very well find yourself in email jail and a front row seat in the “Abuse Group.” Our rules of thumb in subject line equation is always “Brand + Promo or Offer + Benefit + Timing.” This formula seems to work but we always recommend doing your own testing as well.
Adding GRR to your weekly, monthly and annual email reporting also adds a new metric in which to explain to corner office/non-marketing folks why some email “types” work and others don’t. (i.e. ,promo/coupon/offer driven vs. content only/graphic only email.) Buyers and merchandisers may disagree on this methodology but you now have some additional metrics to back up the philosophy.
Look, no one likes to be told “Stop Contacting Me” but it’s a staple of our business. Measuring it smartly, however, can keep it from biting you in the behind when you aren’t looking.
Yeah I know, Gross.