Always Opt-In

Having users opt-in for information  offers benefits to both marketers and users.

In case you missed it, Canada updated their Anti-Spam law, becoming one of the strictest of countries on Anti-Spam laws.

And now, Facebook is looking to ban “click baiting” and “like gating” in an attempt to offer users a cleaner timeline filled with content they want to see.

These recent developments in having users “opting in” is of course completely counterbalanced by Twitter flooding users’ timelines with content from many different locations in an effort to “expand” users interests. They have since looked to go to the "curated content" approach that Facebook currently uses. 

However, the largest difference here was the public’s response. Facebook banning “click baiting” and “like gaiting” was received fairly well, as these were issues users found to be a nuisance. And yet, these changes offer marketers several challenges in "growing" their lists.

The point here? Opting in is always better than opting out for users and for marketers. Users don’t want email to clutter their inbox and they don’t want irrelevant posts in their timelines. More importantly, users want to engage on their terms with brands and products they have decided to follow. Users want to control the messages they receive, engage with and, most importantly, share.

Which is exactly why it’s also critical that marketers realize that it’s not just about pushing messaging out and creating a massive list of followers and recipients. Engaging with consumers and providing relevant and fresh content when and how users want it needs to be the main goal.

Gone are the days of having email lists of 250,000 recipients or a Twitter follower-base of 50,000. Having smaller lists of qualified leads and endorsers is better for brands and marketers. 

Yes, I know many brands have these massive figures, but marketers need to reset the thinking of ROI measurement to capture the need for more focused lists and more qualified followers, as opposed to focusing on growth and expansion.

More outlets and channels will head toward "opt in", as this is what users want to experience. Now, it is up to marketers to continue to create relevant, timely, interesting and organic content to encourage users to sign up for more and begin to engage.