What you need to know about feedback loops (FBLs)

A feedback loop (FBL) is what mailbox providers (like Yahoo) use to tell email service providers (like ActiveCampaign) which contacts marked your messages as spam.

In this article:

How does a feedback loop work?

When a contact marks a message as “spam,” the mailbox provider will report this to ActiveCampaign. We will log that spam complaint in your account so that the contact does not receive any more messages from you.

What mailbox providers offer feedback loops?

While an increasing number of providers are implementing and sharing this information, not all mailbox providers offer Feedback Loops. This is a non-exhaustive list of ISPs currently providing FBLs:

  • Hotmail/Microsoft
  • OATH (Yahoo, AOL, Verizon)
  • BAE Systems
  • Bluetie/Excite
  • Comcast
  • Cox
  • Fastmail
  • LaPoste.net
  • Libero/Italiaonline
  • Locaweb
  • Mail.ru
  • OpenSRS/Hostedmail/Tucows
  • Rackspace
  • SeznamSynacor
  • Telenor
  • Telstra
  • Terra
  • UOL
  • Virgilio
  • XS4ALL
  • Yandex

Note that Gmail does not offer a traditional feedback loop, so it's impossible to know who has marked your message as spam at Gmail. 

Do I need to set up feedback loops?

No, you do not need to register for any feedback loops. ActiveCampaign has registered for feedback loops with all major inbox providers. They will function in your account on day one.

How do feedback loops benefit me?

When someone marks your message as "spam," you don't want to continue sending them messages. Doing so will result in more of your emails going to their spam, deteriorating your overall deliverability

When a contact marks your message, this will produce an FBL report. ActiveCampaign will then log that contact and suppress future messages to them. This is useful for you as a sender because it helps you to identify what content may not be resonating with your audience. 

This information is useful for ActiveCampaign also. With it, we can identify anyone who might be sending spam on our network and degrading the reputation of our shared IPs.

How can I see who marked my messages as spam?

You can see spam complaints from feedback loops in your Campaign Reports or on a contact's profile page. Here, we'll go over how to find each. 

To view spam complaints from a Campaign Report:

1. Click "Reports" in the left menu. 

2. Click "Campaign Reports."

3. Click the campaign you wish to view. 

4. Click "Unsubscribe" in the "Summary" box. 

You'll see your unsuscriptions with "spam complaint" as one possible reason.

To view a spam complaint from a contact's profile page:

1. Click "Contacts" from the left menu. 

2. Click on the contact whose profile you wish to view. 

3. Under "General Details," in the "Lists" row, click on the unsubscribed list.

A modal will pop up. If the contact submitted a spam complaint, there will be a red banner at the top that says, "The contact is on the exclusion list because they reported your email as spam."  

You will also be able to see spam complaints in a contact's "Recent Activities" on the right side of their profile page. 

Contacts who mark an email as spam will appear as unsubscribed from your list and are added to the backend exclusion list

For compliance reasons, you will not be able to see contacts who submit spam complaints in your exclusion list. 

We do not offer the ability to export a list of spam complaints from FBLs at the moment. This is also for compliance. 

What if people accidentally click the “spam” button?

Sometimes users might click the spam button just because they find it’s hard to unsubscribe. We recommend adding an additional unsubscribe link at the top of the email. For additional tips and best practices to improve your metrics, please check our article on How to reduce a high spam complaint rate.

It is still possible that people accidentally clicked the spam button. This is normal. It happens to some degree for all email senders and it's taken into account as a small margin of error. It won’t wreck your deliverability and shouldn't be a cause for alarm. 

If a contact ever reaches out and is no longer receiving messages because they accidentally marked one of your campaigns as spam, you can reach out to Product Support. We can remove them from the suppression list for you. 

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