List Cleaning


Why List Cleaning Matters

List cleaning allows you to accomplish the following:

  • Reduce unsubscribe rates and increase open and click rates.
  • Increase your deliverability scores with email providers. Most major email clients (like Google and Yahoo) track how recipients interact with emails from your domain -- how many emails are marked as spam, how many are opened, etc. They then use this information to determine whether your emails are classified as spam. This means having lots of uninterested people on your list will only hurt your efforts to reach those that actually do want to receive your emails.
  • Retain and engage customers. By knowing when people start to fade away, you can know when to send targeted campaigns to re-engage them.
  • Personalize content based on your best customers. By knowing that your list is full of real, active, and interested potential customers, you can start to personalize content around those people.

Identifying Unengaged Profiles in Your Account

See our best practices for creating an engaged master list, which includes some guidelines around creating and engaging with unengaged customers.

Here are a few examples of segments you can create to analyze unengaged profiles in your Klaviyo account:

  1. Newsletter subscribers that joined your list over 6 months ago but have never opened AND never clicked an email AND have never purchased:

  2. Newsletter subscribers that joined your list over 6 months ago but haven't opened an email AND never clicked an email AND haven't purchased in the last 6 months:

  3. Unengaged contacts that first engaged over 6 months ago but haven't ever opened an email AND never clicked an email AND have never purchased:

Removing Unengaged Profiles from Klaviyo

If you decide you then want to clean a segment of unengaged people from your account, you have two "removal" options: deleting vs. suppressing. If you suppress contacts, they will remain in your account, but you will not be able to email them. They will not count towards the number of emailable profiles in your payment plan. You may want to suppress profiles instead of completely deleting them in order to save all the data associated with their profile. Suppressed contacts can become unsuppressed if they re-engage by, for example, signing up for your newsletter.

If you delete contacts, they will be removed permanently, along with all the data associated with them. They cannot be restored. If these contacts re-engage with you at a later time, they will be added to your Klaviyo account as an entirely new profile. 

  1. Delete Contacts Permanently from Your Account
    If you want to permanently remove a list/segment of contacts from your account, you can go your account settings and navigate to Account > Settings > Account Maintenance. Here, you will see a Remove Profiles section where you can choose a list/segment from a drop-down menu to delete. If you delete people via the Account Maintenance tab, these profiles will be completely erased and no history will be kept -- this is permanent. Be absolutely certain you would like to delete because this can not be reversed.

  2. Suppress Contacts Permanently from Your Account
    If you want to keep these contacts in your account, stop them from receiving any and all emails from you, you can upload a list of contacts to your account's suppression list. Once you create a segment of those you want to suppress, export this segment as a CSV file. Next, find your suppression list by navigating to the Profiles tab page in your account. Click the Suppressed Profiles link in the upper right and you will see an Upload File button. When you suppress a group of people, their profiles will remain intact in your account. They will be considered "unengaged," and you will not be able to email them. This is also permanent because there is no way to bulk unsuppress contacts.

Cleaning Soft Bounces

If your emails frequently bounce or frequently go unopened, email clients are going to eventually determine that your emails are spam-folder-worthy.

It is also important to regularly clean out contacts to whom your emails just keep bouncing. There are two main types of bounces: hard bounces and soft bounces.

Hard Bounces

  • A hard bounce occurs when the email cannot be delivered due to a permanent reason -- this could be caused by a variety of reasons, including a misspelled email or a deliberate block by the email server
  • Klaviyo will automatically remove emails that hard bounce, and then suppress them from future emails.

Soft Bounce

  • A soft bounce is always caused by a temporary reason, such as a full inbox or the recipient email server being down momentarily
  • Klaviyo will try sending emails for up to 48 hours but will not suppress an email that doesn't get delivered in that 48 hour period. This means you might have a lot of "Soft Bouncers" dragging down your deliverability that you don't even know about.
  • Klaviyo will automatically suppress an address that soft bounces more than 7 times.

To create a segment that identifies these chronic "soft bouncers," use the following conditions:

What someone has done (or not done) > has Bounced Email is at least 4 over all time


What someone has done (or not done) > has Received Email zero times over all time


Person is not Suppressed

You can then use one of the two list cleaning methods above to clean this group.

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