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Email sunset policy

What is an email sunset policy and why is it important?

"Sunsetting" refers to no longer sending emails to unengaged contacts. This can boost email deliverability by ensuring that you’re only sending emails to contacts who want to see them.

When lots of your emails are received by a contact and ignored, their email provider's (e.g. Gmail or Hotmail) automated filters may start to learn that your email isn't important to that person and can be sent to lower priority folders, or spam. If this occurs on a wide scale, the email providers themselves may begin to automatically filter all of your emails to the spam folder.

How do I use the sunset policy feature?

Autopilot's sunset policy feature makes it easy to automatically sunset unengaged contacts. It is disabled by default but we highly recommend enabling it; it is a best practice to have an email sunsetting strategy in place.

You can enable and configure the sunset policy in Settings:

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How is engagement measured?

A contact is considered to have "engaged" with an email if they open, click or reply.

When is a contact eligible to be sunset?

A contact is eligible to be sunset if:

  1. they are sent an email; 
  2. the selected time period (either 1, 2, 3, or 6 months) has elapsed since they were sent that email; and
  3. during the selected time period they have not engaged with any email.

If a contact engages with an email this "resets the clock" on the time period. The "clock" starts over from the next time they are sent an email after the engagement occurred.

What happens to sunset contacts?

Sunset contacts are automatically unsubscribed and added to the "Sunset Contacts" list. 

To keep your lists clean, you can also enable the "Remove sunset contacts from all lists" setting which will remove them from all lists to which they belong (except for the "Sunset Contacts" list). 

Can I re-subscribe sunset contacts?

Yes, there is nothing to prevent you from re-subscribing sunset contacts. You can learn how to do so here under "Can I re-subscribe contacts?". 

Doing so "resets the clock", in the sense that it starts over from the next time they are sent an email. In other words, the time while the sunset policy is disabled will not be checked retroactively.

What happens if I disable and then re-enable the sunset policy?

This "resets the clock", in the sense that the selected time period starts over from when the sunset policy is re-enabled.

Do sunset contacts count towards my plan?

Yes. If you don't want contacts to count towards your plan you will need to delete them. We highly recommend exporting them before you do so.

Before deleting contacts, however, we encourage you to consider whether you want to target sunset contacts using another channel, such as SMS or Facebook ads. All because you haven't been able to engage with them via email doesn't necessarily mean you won't be able to engage them via another channel. 

Example scenarios

Assume that on May 1 the sunset policy is enabled with a time period of 1 month. The contacts referred to below are then sent an email. Let's take a look at what (if anything) will occur on June 1.

Scenario 1: Jill

Doesn't engage with the May 1 email. Not sent any other emails.

Outcome: sunset on June 1.

Scenario 2: Jack

Engages with the May 1 email the next day. Not sent any other emails. 

Outcome: not sunset on June 1.

Scenario 3: Mary

Doesn't engage with the May 1 email. Sent a follow up email on May 7 and engages with it the same day.

Outcome: not sunset on June 1.

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