How List-Unsubscribe helps email deliverability


If your contact list is predominantly comprised of Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Apple Mail domains, contacts may have a native unsubscribe feature. ActiveCampaign has implemented this logic on your behalf to help ensure strong email reputation and deliverability. This applies to all emails sent from ActiveCampaign. This unsubscribe feature is called the “List-Unsubscribe Header” and its purpose is to allow contacts a quick and easy way to opt-out of receiving future email communications. Allowing contacts an easy way to unsubscribe is a best practice for reducing spam complaints and keeping engaged contacts happy.

What is the List-Unsubscribe header?

The List-Unsubscribe header is a bit of code added to all emails sent from the ActiveCampaign platform. This includes campaigns, automation emails, and 1:1 emails. Mailbox Providers that support the List-Unsubscribe functionality may display an unsubscribe button in the user interface or implement backend functionality to help manage unsubscribe requests.

List-Unsubscribe: <>, <>
List-Unsubscribe-Post: List-Unsubscribe=One-Click

  Gmail will require a one-click list-unsubscribe header starting in June 2024. ActiveCampaign automatically inserts this in all messages for you, without any action needed on your part. This requirement is completely handled by ActiveCampaign.

Gmail has the most advanced implementation of the List-Unsubscribe header. If your reputation at Gmail is good and if you have the List-Unsubscribe header in your email, Gmail will display a pop-up box when a contact clicks the “Report Spam” button asking the contact to unsubscribe.


The List-Unsubscribe header can also be seen listed next to the sender email address in the Gmail UI.


Once a contact clicks the unsubscribe option, they will be given an “Unsubscribed” status for your email list in your ActiveCampaign account.

Why is the List-Unsubscribe header good for email deliverability?

While it is never fun to see contacts leave your mailing list, the List-Unsubscribe header allows for minimal impact on email reputation thus helping to ensure engaged contacts continue to receive their email in their inbox.

  • Mailbox Providers have embraced the List-Unsubscribe header to help senders manage email reputation
  • It helps keep contact lists clean
    This native unsubscribe option makes it easy to maintain a healthy list of engaged contacts. This makes your email marketing strategy more effective, performance metrics more accurate, and you may see the cost of your marketing efforts go down.
  • It may help protect your email deliverability reputation
    Having the native unsubscribe option where contacts can easily see it means that they don’t have to resort to reporting your email as spam if they no longer want to hear from you.

Does the List-Unsubscribe header increase my unsubscribe rate?

While you may receive a few more unsubscribe requests as a result of the native unsubscribe option, it’s best to remember that these unsubscribe requests come from people who no longer wish to receive your content and who may have already been disengaged with your emails.

Having a native unsubscribe option also means that there is less chance that your emails will sit in an inbox unopened for long periods or be deleted without ever being opened—both of which can get your future emails sent to the Spam folder and harm your deliverability.

What are my next steps?

While you don’t need to add the List-Unsubscribe header to your emails (we do that for you), we encourage all of our customers to implement deliverability best practices. Doing so will boost your sender health, will help you establish and maintain a favorable reputation with Mailbox Providers

Below is a list of items to keep in mind for maintaining good deliverability.

Build and maintain healthy lists

Building and maintaining a healthy list of contacts is essential for email marketing. The quality of your list, as well as sending practices, directly affect your sender health and domain reputation.

Send content that contacts expect to receive and send at regular intervals

When collecting consent to email individuals, it’s best practice to let them know what they’re signing up to receive and how often they can expect to hear from you. Straying from these expectations can compromise trust and land you in the spam folder.

Segment your contacts

A segment is a subgroup of contacts to which you can send highly targeted email campaigns. Creating segments lets you send the right message to the right contacts based on information available in your account. You can create segments based on tags, standard and custom field information, website visits, actions a contact took, contact or deal score, and more.

Sending targeted email campaigns to a segment is a quick and easy win–when contacts receive messages that are relevant to them, they're more likely to pay attention to your campaigns. This will create a positive feedback loop where your campaigns are opened more and receive more clicks, improving your sender reputation and deliverability.

Personalize your emails

Personalization tags, conditional content, and predictive sending are other deliverability best practices that you can employ. With ActiveCampaign, we make it easy to create content tailored to individual contacts and send it at a time when they're most likely to open. When a contact sees that you took the time to thoughtfully address them and their needs with an email specific to them, they're more likely to engage with you.


We automatically generate personalization tags for every custom field you create. In addition, your account comes with a list of standard personalization tags. Each of these tags can be inserted into your communications.

When a personalization tag is used in either the subject line or body of a campaign or automation email, the value of that tag will automatically be inserted once the communication is sent to a contact. When the contact opens the communication, they will see the value of that tag and not the tag itself.

Conditional Content (Marketing Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans)

Conditional Content lets you send different content to different contacts using a single campaign. For instance, you could:

  • Display a different product image depending on what a contact is interested in
  • Insert a different offer depending on what stage of the customer lifecycle your contact is in
  • Send a different informative article based on what problem a contact is trying to solve with your product

This type of personalization increases the relevance of your messages for each contact. It can also improve your relationship with your contacts, increase your open rates, improve your conversion rate, and improve deliverability.

Predictive Sending (Marketing Professional and Enterprise plans)

Predictive sending lets you send automation emails to contacts based on their habitual open times. This helps increase engagement with your communications and creates a highly personalized experience for each of your contacts.

Use clean email designs

You’ll want to use an email design that is easy for your subscribers to look at and quickly get the information they need. ActiveCampaign offers several pre-designed templates that you can use for your campaign and automation emails. If you don’t have time to customize a template to fit your needs, you can also take advantage of our free email design services.

Make it easy for contacts to unsubscribe from your emails

Hiding your unsubscribe link, or making the process difficult, will only result in poor deliverability for you. If contacts cannot find a way to unsubscribe, they’ll mark your email as spam which can get you blocklisted.

More deliverability best practices

Make sure to check out the following help articles for even more tips on deliverability:

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