Commentary

What Is Your Quit Rate?

If you have an SMS or Push program, you may be neglecting one of the most useful metrics you have to guide your content -- the Quit Rate, which is simply the ratio of users who unsubscribe to those who act. It's the best measure of value versus annoyance in your messages.

Back in my Email Diva days, I tried to make the Disaffection Index -- the ratio of Unsubscribes to Clickers -- a standard metric.  Despite April Mullen's efforts to revive it, we will have to agree that I failed. But how many emailers see a dramatic change in their Unsub rate, calculated as Unsubscribes/Delivered? Right, none. It varies from one tiny fraction to a slightly larger tiny fraction, and as a result, is largely ignored.

When you look at the ratio of Unsubscribes/Clickers, it tells a very different story. You can see dramatic differences in programs and even segments when viewed in this way.

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Applying this same idea to short message programs is also far more revealing.  People are more selfish with their phone real estate. They are far more likely to text STOP or delete your app if they are not getting value from your short messages.  So you need to have your finger on the pulse. 

Here’s what I have learned from monitoring Quit Rates. Quit Rates rise when you send:

  • Unexceptional content.  If I’ve given you the key to the most personal screen in the world, make it worthwhile with creativity, voice, and exceptional value.
  • Untargeted content.  Connect the data dots to link customer history, or engage in progressive profiling to make your content relevant.
  • Mobile unfriendly experiences.  If your post-click experience isn’t fabulous, bring it up to par before sending me there.
  • Online only offers.  We know conversion rates are low for phones and that over 90% of retail revenue happens in stores.  Don’t limit me to the channel you want me to use.
  • Interruptions.  Don’t wake me with a notification tone.If you don’t know your customers’ time zone, adjust for all by going dark (or silent, in the case of Push) after 9 p.m. Eastern or before 10 a.m. Pacific. Avoid religious holidays -- all of them! A non-sales message on a religious holiday led to a big spike in the Quit Rate.  
  •  Too often – We tolerate a lot of noise in the email channel, but if your brand keeps popping up on my home screen, I'm far more likely to send you packing.   

Monitor and compare your own Quit Rates. What can you learn from the best and the worst?  Please share your experiences and questions!

1 comment about "What Is Your Quit Rate?".
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  1. Tory Houston from student, March 30, 2015 at 2:05 p.m.

    This article is so true! When an advertiser emails me I am way less likely to unsubscribe than I am if they text me. I think the biggest thing here is that unsubscribing from an email actually takes time. You have to go to the bottom of the email, find the minuscule print that says "unsubscribe" and so forth. Most email subscribers also have a survey they want you to fill out to unsubscribe. Most people would rather have their emails come through once a month than unsubscribe. However, when you are on your cell phone, if you receive a text from some place you were not interested, the convenience to decline receiving further messages from the advertiser allows for advertisers to understand if they are actually getting their message across or if most users are uninterested.

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