List Cleaning

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Cleaning unengaged or inactive profiles from your list improves a number of aspects about the quality of your list. For example, 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. ESPs use this information to determine whether your emails are classified as spam. Having lots of unengaged people on your list hurts 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.

The process for cleaning your list involves two steps:

  1. Identify your unengaged profiles by creating a segment or list.
  2. Suppress or delete the unengaged profiles you identified in step 1.
In addition to this guide, review our best practices for creating an engaged main list, which includes some guidelines around creating an inactive subscribers list and engaging with unengaged customers.

Identifying Unengaged Profiles in Your Account

Identify your unengaged customers by creating a segment that captures customers who are receiving your emails, but not opening or clicking them.


In the example segment shown above we only include Klaviyo Email event data. If you integrated your prior ESP (for example Mailchimp), or you manually imported historical open and click data, you should also add conditions to your segment to filter on this data.

Let's look at each of the conditions in this segment.

  • Received 10 emails over all time
    10 received emails is a good baseline to start with for this condition. You can modify the number of emails specified in this condition depending on how often you send to your customers, and what type of products you sell. For example, if you send daily, you should make this number higher.
    Experiment with this number. You can clone this segment multiple times, increasing the number of received emails by 1 each time. You want to set this threshold so that it is high enough to capture the bulk of your unengaged profiles, but not so high that you only capture the very least engaged profiles..
    For example, the screenshot below shows 5 similar unengaged segments. The number of profiles in the segment dips when I set "received emails" to 14. So, I know that 13 is the threshold I should use.


  • Opened and click email zero times in the last 365 days

    These two conditions capture customers that have not opened or clicked your emails in the last year. By connecting these conditions with an AND connector, you're finding your least engaged customers. Moreover, we advise using 365 days as your timeframe. If you instead use “over all time” this could leave some customers out of this segment who should be suppressed. Say, for example, you have used Klaviyo for the last three years, someone could have opened and clicked an email right after subscribing to your emails and then not engage in the following two years; they would still not appear as unengaged. The 365 day timeframe accounts for this by including individuals who were unengaged in the last year, without having too restrictive of a timeframe for removing contacts.

    If you think a 365 day timeframe is not the best window of time to gauge your customers’ engagement, you can also test different timeframes to see what works best for you based on your customers' buying and engagement habits as well as how often you send emails.

  • Someone is not suppressed
    This condition is for convenience. If you suppress the profiles you find in this segment, condition removes those profiles from this segment. That way you can use this segment going forward to monitor how many new unengaged customers you have.

After you've created this unengaged segment, suppress or delete these profiles from your account.

Suppress or Delete Unengaged Profiles from Klaviyo

Suppressing profiles keeps the data inside of Klaviyo, but no emails may be sent to suppressed profiles. Deleting profiles from Klaviyo removes the data completely. Because of this, it is almost always better option to suppress your unengaged profiles. Keep in mind the following points:

  • Suppressed profiles do not count towards your monthly payment plan limits.
  • Suppressing profiles maintains all of their associated data in your account.
  • Suppressed profiles can become unsuppressed if they re-engage, for example, by signing up to your newsletter.

Suppress Contacts from Receiving Email

Once you create a segment of those you want to suppress, export this segment as a CSV file. Please note that you only need to export and upload the email address column in your CSV. Removing additional columns will quicken the upload process. Next, find your suppression list in your Klaviyo account by navigating to the Profiles tab. Click the Suppressed Profiles link in the upper right, then click Upload File and select your CSV.

When you suppress a group of people, their profiles will remain in your account, but you are unable to email them. There is no way to bulk unsuppress contacts.


Delete Contacts Permanently from Your Account

If you want to permanently remove a list/segment of contacts from your account, navigate to Account > Settings > Account Maintenance. Here, you will see a Remove Profiles section where you can choose a list/segment from a dropdown menu. 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 these profiles, because this can action not be reverted.


Cleaning Soft Bounces

If your emails frequently bounce or frequently go unopened, email clients will eventually start sending your emails to the spam folder.

It is also important to regularly clean out profiles that keep bouncing. While Klaviyo automatically suppresses profiles soft bounce seven consecutive times, it's a best practice to exclude emails that soft bounce more than four times from your campaigns. 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.
  • 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 automatically suppress an address that soft bounces more than seven times in a row.

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


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