On the third day of Listmas, my data showed to me they were sending three times daily…
So, the funny thing about this one being on day three is that to be more accurate to what some folks are doing now, this should be anywhere from day 4 to day 7. For instance, here’s a shot of my spam folder from over the weekend:
Screenshot of Tech Product Update spam
This sender is sending five times per day (and that happens throughout the year, not just now). But, this is Christmas, so we’re in a kind and generous mood, so day 3 it is.
There is abundant research regarding the topic of desensitization. A relevant Google search turns up 143,000 results from different fields. And while a lot of folks want the only take away to be that “greater exposure leads to greater acceptance,” a better lesson would be “greater exposure requires greater stimulus to be noticed.” In other words, the more that a sender touches the file, the more likely that the touches are ignored.
The screenshot above is a good example of what I’m talking about here. There are a total of 11 messages in that image. They’re all in my spam folder. None of them have been opened. Which one would I want to open? They’re mailing me 5 times per day!
There are a variety of metrics that providers use to help make decisions about what messages to accept and where to send the messages that they do accept. Through the years I have I heard a variety of things used in this regard, including (but by no means limited to): Message previews, Message opens, Folder placement, Spam/Not Spam clicks, Time spent viewing an individual message, and Link clicks.
Here’s the thing: It’s entirely possible that the increase in mailing tempo will result in lower spam complaint rates. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, if the recipients are fatigued, then they’ll ignore things (until they don’t and send complaints about a bunch of messages all at once). Messages ignored are not messages complained about. The second reason is that messages which get routed to the spam folder (such as our example above) tend to be forgotten, and there’s no need to tell the mailbox provider that messages in the spam folder are spam. So, “low complaint rates” is not necessarily a good indicator of good list hygiene or that a proper tempo has been picked.
What’s the result of this? Continued relegation to the spam folder and possible eventual blocking or blocklisting. Nothing that a marketer really wants to see.
Ultimately, understand that when people do sign-up for a list, there’s often at least some indication of expected tempo. That’s not a legal contract, but it is a social one. When you break that social contract some really bad things can happen.