The spam complaint: big trouble for deliverability

Apr 22
5 min read
The spam complaint is one of the actions recipients can take when receiving your email. Among all engagement factors, it's the action that sends the worst signal. We want to help you avoid it.
Spam complaints - deliverability - yellow garbage bag

This is the hottest topic for ISPs, email services and all the organizations involved in the fight against spam. This is when email arrives at the inbox and reported as spam by the user. There's a huge degree of confidence in this type of event, since it is a human action. It carries extra weight as it's taken by the person most concerned by the campaign.. the recipient of the message.

How to avoid being classified as spam?

Here are some great practices to avoid being flagged as spam. Spam complaints will really ding your deliverability.

Pay attention to your sending frequency

Inform your subscribers how often you'll be mailing them.. before they subscribe to your list. Be respectful towards people who are ready to join a newsletter. Tell them as much as possible from the start so that they aren't disappointed or surprised.

Less bad surprises for your subscribers means more good news for you!

Put the unsubscribe link in the header

Some of these moves might be surprising. Incorporating your unsubscribe link at the top of your content can save the day. Many people still don't know their email service well. They may be tempted to label your email as spam rather than try to unsubscribe. Because it's easier. They understand clicking on "report as spam" is fast. They're assured not to receive any more unsolicited or uninteresting messages. By highlighting your unsubscribe, less of your messages will be marked as spam.

In general, don't try to hide subscription preferences in your communications. If someone doesn't want to hear from you or a portion of your communications, give them the option. You have no interest in keeping them, now or in the future. You risk being flagged as spam when they only wanted to unsubscribe…


This is a very common rule in email marketing. Exploiting segmentation has a lot of advantages at all levels. Especially to avoid spam signals. When creating a campaign, always ask yourself what your target audience looks like. We're willing to bet that it rarely corresponds to your entire base.

When someone marks you as spam.. you must remove them from your mailing list. Avoid the damage to your reputation and deliverability. This information gets shared by ISPs and could damage your reputation.

Other engagement signals

  • To not risk being marked as spam, we recommend you to put the unsubscribe link in front of your recipients. Someone who wants to unsubscribe will end up clicking "spam" if they can't find another option.
  • Learn why nurturing your subscribers' responsiveness through open and click-through rates is paramount. It will advance your engagement and place you in the inbox for future mailings.
  • You shouldn't use no-reply addresses.

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