Best Practices: Evolving Email Subscription Management Processes

JodyMooney-Oracle Outbound Product Management, EloquaTorontoPosts: 421 Employee
edited Nov 16, 2022 8:01PM in Eloqua

Evolving Best Practices for Email Subscription Management

With ongoing industry changes related to data privacy and email deliverability, it’s becoming increasingly important for companies to review their current processes and adapt to industry changes, including how they implement unsubscribe links.

To protect their organization and their employees PII (personal identifiable information), companies have been implementing scanning and privacy tools for years to detect malicious content and protect their employees. The expectation is that more and more companies will begin to implement these scanning solutions in the near future as well.

While scanning and privacy tools are not new to the market, they are becoming more sophisticated to adapt to industry changes and are becoming more readily available. Many companies are also developing and implementing custom/homegrown solutions.

Although it might be tempting to think of these email scanning tools as ‘bots’ or ‘spamming', they were put in place by companies to protect against bots and spamming and they are doing what they were designed to do - protect organizations from malicious spamming.

These ongoing changes will continue to have an impact on email deliverability and reporting, and as such, Oracle is committed to investing in enhancements to help our customers navigate through these changes.

Eloqua has implemented functionality to help identify auto-opens with the 22A release, with the introduction of Apple’s mail privacy protection (Impacts of Apple mail privacy protection changes on Oracle Eloqua), and to help identify auto-opens and auto-clicks from email scanning tools with the 22B release (New OBIEE metrics auto-opens-and-auto-clicks explained).

These enhancements are meant to help our customer better identify the impact of auto-opens and auto-clicks. That said, there should be no expectation that 100% of auto-opens or auto-clicks can be identified given the number of variables and ongoing changes. Identifying these actions does however help customers better adapt their processes to align with the industry changes.

For example, email opens can no longer be weighted as heavily as they were in the past, and we advise leveraging a marketing strategy that encourages bottom of the funnel metrics that drive conversion. Content within emails should be designed with the consideration of scanning tools and the possible impact of any clickable links.

Scanning tool and email provider enhancements, uncategorized tools (e.g. home-grown/custom solutions), data privacy changes, all contribute to how best practices continue to be updated and evolve for the future.

Adapting your Email Subscription Management Practices

There are a variety of ways to setup your unsubscribe mechanism in Eloqua, however some options may be better suited to handle industry changes and best practices. Mechanisms could be broad (e.g. unsubscribe from all communication) vs specific (e.g. unsubscribe from just some types of communications). Unsubscribing can also be one-click direct (immediately unsubscribed by clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ link in the email) vs a one-click to a single web page (directed to a subscription management page to confirm unsubscribe).

While you might be tempted to continue using the one-click direct unsubscribe process as it offers a seamless experience for your recipients, you should be aware that scanning tools can unintentionally unsubscribe prospects by clicking your links when checking for malware, etc.

As such Eloqua recommends the one-click to a single web page unsubscribing process, so you can link your recipients to the subscription management page and allow them to choose to opt-out of all communication (broad) or only opt-out of some communication (specific). This approach greatly reduces the chance of scanning tools unintentionally unsubscribing prospects, and offers recipients more flexibility when managing their subscription preferences.

Next Steps: It is highly recommended that you review your current processes and determine if there are changes required to ensure your email subscription management processes are evolving with the changing industry.

To learn more about this approach, we recommend you check out our Help Center content on Managing Subscription Pages. 

Additional Resources



Q: Changing our unsubscribe mechanism will be a large effort. Do we have to change it?

A: If you are using a one-click direct unsubscribe, it is recommended to update this to a two-step unsubscribe to help prevent scanning tools from unintentionally unsubscribing prospects (Editing the subscription management page, Email subscription management) . You could start by implementing this moving forward so all new communication is not impacted and then identify your customers that seem to be using email scanning tools (via OBIEE auto-clicks reporting) and make updating that communication a priority.


Q: How can I use Insight to report on subscription status for contacts?

A: The Email Unsubscribe Overview report provides you with a breakdown of total and unique unsubscribes based on a date range. Additionally, users with an Analyzer license can use the Email Unsubscribe, and/or Email Group Subscribe subject area to further drill down and analyze unsubscribe behaviour.

Q: Can scanning and privacy tools also impact blind form submissions (BFS)?

A: Yes. You should review form processing steps related to BFS and consider any possible impact scanning tools might have on clickable links. It is recommended to not use BFS as a method of subscribing/unsubscribing. Relevant Content: Form Processing Steps, Updating Subscriptions When a Form is Submitted


Group Product Manager, CX - Marketing: Eloqua