Unsubscribe levels in Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Unsubscribe levels

This blog post is about the differences between the various unsubscribe operations a contact can make in your marketing cloud account.

These terms can confuse, so let us see if we can make them a bit clearer with this post.

Let’s discuss these from least impactful to most impactful and talk about how that subscriber can opt-in again should they choose.

The four main types of unsubscribe are list level, account level, master unsubscribe, and a global unsubscribe.

What are the differences in Unsubscribe levels in Marketing Cloud?

List Unsubscribe

  • Unsubscribes from a single list
  • Will receive email from other lists and accounts
  • Can choose to join list again
  • Can be added back via API and Import

So the lowest level of unsubscribe is a list unsubscribe. If a subscriber no longer wants to get an email relating to a particular list in your account, they can opt-out of that list but will receive email from other lists in the same account. If they decide to opt-in again, this is as easy as visiting the subscription center and choosing that list again. they can also be opposite in via API call or list import.

Account Unsubscribe

  • Unsubscribes from everything in an account
  • Will receive email from other accounts
  • Can choose to join account again
  • Can be added back via API and Import
  • Will receive transactional email

So the account unsubscribe is let’s say your marketing cloud account has an enterprise account. For business units, one of those business units is for a division of the company that sells cameras, and another business unit sells computers. A subscriber can choose no longer to receive an email from the camera business unit but continuing to receive email from the computer unit. They can perform an account level opt-out and will be removed from all mailings in that account. They will continue receiving mail from the other accounts and receive a transactional email from that account that they have opted out of but will receive no commercial email from it. To opt back in, they can go to the subscription center and join back up for the lists they want or choose. to receive all email again, they can also opt-in via an API call or import.

Master Unsubscribe

  • Opts out of all accounts in an enterprise
  • shows as unsubscribed in the Enterprise All Subscribers List
  • Receives no commercial email from any account
  • Continues to receive transactional email
  • Can Opt themselves back in
  • Can be opted again via API and import.

Someone can choose to opt-out of all emails from your company. They would show up as unsubscribed in the all subscribers list in your enterprise-level account. They will receive no commercial email from any of your business units. They would continue to receive an email marked as transactional, as before opting in could be done via the subscription center via an API call or import.

Global Unsubscribe

  • Remove email from ALL Marketing Cloud sends
  • Can not be opted back in by you
  • Will not receive any email, commercial or transactional
  • Is not visible in your account as an unsubscribe
  • Can only opt themselves back in using the abuse address

The final level is more drastic. A subscriber sends an email to the salesforce abuse address and asks not to receive any more email from salesforce marketing cloud; this is what we say a global unsubscribe. In this case, customers will receive no email from any marketing cloud account, including transactional emails. Nothing will be sent to them from the marketing cloud. You can’t see this list, so in some cases may not know why a single subscriber didn’t get an email. There is nothing you can do from your site to opt for this person for your lists or accounts. The only way they can get opted back is by emailing the salesforce abuse email address and asking to have the restrictions lifted.

I hope this has helped clear up the differences between the various opt-out methods a subscriber can use and how they affect your processes if you have any questions, please let me know via the comment option below.

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About the author

Anil Jangra

MBA graduate with ten years of experience in management consulting in Marketing Functions. Experience in developing a customer experience strategy & customer journeys to drive the shift from product centricity to customer advocacy by leveraging digital marketing.

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