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The Evolution Of SPAM… And How You Can Avoid It


At the dawn of email, spam messages were purely malicious emails – today, consumers have widened their criteria for defining spam messages to irrelevant or annoying.

A survey by Litmus and advertising agency Fluent surveyed 1,300 American adults to find out how consumers define ‘spam’ messages.

The survey found that consumers now examine their incoming messages with more scrutiny than ever. In the early 2000’s, an email was classified as spam if it contained malicious content, unrequested information, was received from an unknown sender or an unpleasant email experience.

Today, the following qualities can cause a recipient to mark as spam: unwanted and overly frequent messages, content with no easy action items, unfavorable brand experiences, and even messages from known senders.

Users can easily sort messages into the spam folder by clicking prominent buttons across most email interfaces. The recent survey found that 43% of consumers often or very frequently sort emails into the junk and spam folders. It also found that users regularly check their junk folder for mistakenly sorted emails.

To avoid being sorted into the spam black hole, Litmus and Fluent offer the following suggestions:

  • Improve “permissioning” among your audience

  • Only send relevant emails, and at a modest pace

  • Ensure your emails are mobile friendly

  • Customize your Preview-text to help "sell" your message

  • Ensure your landing page is mobile-friendly

  • Allow your subscribers to unsubscribe easily

  • Respond to customer service complaints as soon as possible

  • Send captivating content

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