What happens to contacts who unsubscribe in automations?

In this article, we describe what happens to contacts who unsubscribe via an email in an automation.

The list(s) from which a contact unsubscribes when clicking the unsubscribe link in an automation email depends on the following:

  1. How they entered the automation
  2. Subscriptions to lists at the time they entered the automation

Please note! Contacts do not exit an automation when they click 'Unsubscribe'. They will proceed through all steps but skip the remaining 'Send email' steps.

If a contact enters an automation through the start trigger 'Subscribes to list' or 'Submits form', the unsubscribe will only apply to the list selected in the start trigger or the list associated with the form of the start trigger. This unsubscribe preference will follow the contact to other automations when they reach the 'start an automation' step.

If a contact enters an automation through any other start trigger than 'Subscribes to list' or 'Submits form', the contact will be unsubscribed from all lists they are currently subscribed to. This includes contacts who enter an automation through the start trigger 'Submits form' where the form is not associated with a list (for example, if they submit a form that only adds them to a 'Deal' or assigns a tag).

If a contact, without being associated with a list, is added to an automation and clicks the unsubscribe link in your email, they will no longer receive emails. In this case, you will not see an 'unsubscribed' status on the contact profile page, as they were never subscribed to your list(s). Instead, the contact will remain in your account without being associated with a list until they subscribe to one of your lists via API or by submitting a form (opt-in).

If a contact is manually unsubscribed by the administrator, they will still receive automation emails until they click the unsubscribe link themselves.

Notification: contact has previously unsubscribed

In an automation, a contact can be added to a specific list through the action 'Subscribes to list'. In some cases, a contact is not subscribed to the list and the notification 'Contact has previously unsubscribed' is displayed. If a contact has previously unsubscribed from other lists, they cannot be subscribed to the specific list through the automation. This is a system measure to ensure the deliverability of your emails and prevent contacts from being subscribed to a list again without their permission.

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