ActiveCampaign Forum

Unsubscribe link in automation emails takes them off ALL lists

@jskole and I just had a discussion about this and he had a really good solution…

You can send a webhook from an ActiveCampaign automation to Zapier and then send a transactional email from a service like Amazon SES.

So, it’s not perfectly unified, which would be ideal, but it allows you to control the sending of the emails from ActiveCampaign’s automation workflows and even pass data into the transational emails from ActiveCampaign, so it’s pretty close.

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Transactional emails generally do not have an unsubscribe link. For example, a password reset message would seem odd to have an unsubscribe option because a user shouldn’t want to “Never recieve a password resent message again.” Which is essentially what that clicking that link would be saying.

But that is different from what I’m asking you allow inside Active Campaign.

All of the messages would still have an unsubscribe link, because they’re not transactional in nature, but in many different scenarios you still want to choose from which list they are unsubscribed.

If you allow normal campaigns to choose which list to send from, and therefore which list they are unsubscribed from, then it should naturally follow that we can do the same same with automations. But for some strange reason we cannot. As said earlier, the list hygene outcomes are the same for both scenarios.

Almost everyone on here is moving away from the normal campaign types to more automated setups, or at least a mix of both. And the messages sent from both are similar in nature. So it’s confusing (or at least has been a large oversight) that you put this limit on one and not the other.


I should have been more clear who I was speaking to with the comment about transactional emails. I was responding to @roaradventures.

@elementpaints46295 I definitely hear you on what you’re looking for which is more control over which list a contact is removed from if they unsubscribe from an automation. One idea is to have a setting on each automation or campaigns that allows you to specify which list they should be removed from (or all).

I agree with you this is an important feature. We’re a customer-driven platform, so please take a moment to submit this feedback to our product team. That’s the best way to get changes made to the platform.

@Brian Could you help me reconcile your comment about not offering transactional emails. Maybe we have a different definition of transactional. But having unsubscribe link has been problematic for people using the CRM. From my perspective as people move through different steps of a Pipeline they are receiving transactional emails. We have automated some of our steps for the Sales and even in the delivery of a product or service. Having unsubscribe option on the bottom of these emails where I am communicating with a current customer and keeping them informed of status of their order, timeline for delivery, or requesting additional information among others just doesn’t fit well with an unsubscribe button. I understand what you mean about the potential of spammers finding a work around and abusing a system that would remove the unsubscribe button, but I have had to get very creative in the footer of emails that are sent through CRM based automations to keep customers from accidently “Opting Out” out the pipeline especially when I’m trying to make it look like they are interacting with our team and not our automaton.

@threetrees It does sound like we might have differing definitions or use cases here.

I think the differentiation is because it sounds like the emails you’re referring to and sending are marketing and sales specific emails. If those are being sent in bulk or by an automation (emails not being sent via a one-to-one email) then they need to include an unsubscribe link.

A transactional email would be sent in response to some kind of transaction. Like an email confirming an order, shipping notification, or membership update. These emails tend not to include unsubscribe links because they’re related to a transaction of some kind. The transaction itself, in this case, constitutes permission to send a notification.

If you want us to offer transactional emails, definitely send that feedback to our product team so they can factor it in, but, even if we did, you’d still need to have that unsubscribe link on the bottom of your marketing and sales emails if they’re automated or sent in bulk.

Looking for a solution to this as well.

We’re a school and send many different types of emails for many different reasons.

We Send 3 Types of Emails:

  • Marketing
  • Course Communications (to existing students)
  • Market Updates (news about their industry)

We completely respect their ability to unsubscribe from any of these three different types of email, but one shouldn’t subscribe all. They may not want to be marketed about courses or study tools, but still want to receive communications about their course or the market update emails.

We’re trying to move to Active Campaign from Mailchimp, but this is making it difficult.

With mail chimp, each list and it’s own contacts, so a contact could unsubscribe from marketing, but still get emails from any of the other lists they were still on.

We even had people contact us saying they don’t want to completely unsubscribe but don’t want as many emails.

That setup with multiple list worked great for unsubscribing from the right emails, but the duplicate contacts was a pain point that made it difficult.

Enter ActiveCampaign, I set up a trial and was instantly in awe over the possibilities, but also at the fact that there is a single set of contacts. The platform was more about the person, rather than the list.

I also signed up for the enterprise plan to fully maximize the system.

But now, I’m struggling with this unsubscribe issue. Most of our emails are sent via automations, so we need the ability to differentiate the list for each automation.

The suggestion of having a custom link before the unsubscribe with an action to unsubscribe from a particular list is a good start, but what about the unsubscribe headers that are being implemented in email platforms like gmail? That would still tie to the main unsubscribe button right?

Two ways to really fix this issue:

  1. Allow the association of an automation to a particular list, so that an unsubscribe will remove only from that list.

  2. (less preferred) Rather than instantly unsubscribing when clicking the unsubscribe link, have the contact be redirected to a page that allows them to choose what emails they would like to opt out of.
    For this option, it would also be necessary to customize the page and have a separate public list name that is more user friendly and understandable by the contact so they know what emails they are removing themselves from.

We are also an enterprise user of Zapier, but we don’t necessarily want to make certain emails transactional and take away from their ability to unsubscribe. The only way I can see that zapper fixing this problem is if we send out a webhoook to another email automation provider for every list… but that would not really make much sense.

I have contacted my success manager about this, and hope to find a solution to this soon.

Again you guys have a great platform, and I love that it places the contacts as the focus instead of the list they’re subscribed to, but this is just one of the growing pains of being a comprehensive CRM and email automation platform.

not to throw water on the fire but…

I seem to be uncovering another issue with the automations not being tied to a particular list.

So as I mentioned previously we have a marketing list. Now once a contact has converted, they are added to a customer list and unsubscribed by an automation from the inquiry list.

My problem is… when this change is made, the contact still remains in the inquiry automation, sending emails as if they have not converted.

I know the quick fix for this would be to create an automation that stops the automation, but when you start adding more automations, this becomes more complex, and you risk letting an automation slip through the cracks and angering your contacts by continuing to market to them something they have already purchased.

Allowing ActiveCampaign users to associate an automation with a particular list would make that a thing of the past.

While I’m here, I’ll also throw a vote on the transactional email addition, but I would like to see the automations refined more if you need to prioritize.

Hey Jon.

Good news is that you can put contacts on as many lists as you need with ActiveCampaign, and they will only be counted as one contact for your account.

You can also use an “Action Link” to allow someone to unsubscribe from a list within an automation and/or remove a tag.

So you could put this link well above the unsubscribe area in your email and let them know it will stop that series of emails but it won’t stop your other emails they really want.


Thanks for the reply. The single billing is definitely a plus, we we’re paying for 4-5 subscribers for the same person with mail chimp.

I am going to try to add an action link like that, but I know that gmail as well as many more email providers are adding unsubscribe links right at the top next to the email address.

iPhones also have a prominent unsubscribed bar at the top of all emails in the mail app…

I have thought of another way to “fix” this… although I think it might be frowned upon if not a violation…

I could add an action to the actual unsubscribe button that triggers an automation that resubscribes a person to other lists based on tags or something.

I’m hesitant to do this because:

  1. I know that there will be errors and people may get resubscribed to a list they actually unsubscribed from.
  2. I’m pretty sure something like this will get me in trouble with ActiveCampaign.


So I have been playing with campaigns and it seems I can do a date based campaign and trigger off of x days after a subscribe date.

Pro: Basically just like sending an email via an automation except now should be associated with a list if they choose to unsubscribe.

Con: Will have to have a separate campaign for every email to send. Lose the visual and this then that layout of the automation.

But a good fix that can work now until/if ActiveCampaign adds the ability to associate a list to an email.

And in case anyone at ActiveCampaign is reading this… super simple fix if you could replicate the list section page in campaign creation in automation campaign creation…

Hi all, In another discussion regarding how to make sure contacts that hit the unsubscribe link will still be able to recieve product updates or anything else they would want is explained in a webinar: Unsubscribes
It gives you a nice work-around.

Thanks for this @diyarchitecten. I just went through this webinar.

The basic idea is that you have multiple lists and when they click unsubscribe in an automation email (which effectively unsubscribes them from all lists) they get redirected to a page where they can have a chance to re-subscribe to any lists they want.

This is not a great solution.

  1. You have to break up your contacts into multiple lists. For people that work do not work with multiple lists (and instead use tags to segment) this will not work.
  2. You’re hoping that after they click unsubscribe and get redirected to another page they will then click again to re-subscribe to the appropraite list. But as we all know 90% of customers will not do that. They will just click unsubscribe and be gone forever.
  3. If by some chance they do re-subscribe you have to hope they re-subscribe to the correct lists. Most of the time they don’t know which lists are important and which are not. As sad as it is you can’t rely on customers to do the right thing even if it’s to their benefit.

We still need a solution that allows us to choose which list the automation is sent from, and therefore which list they are unsubscribed from.


I had this same problem, and got taught this workaround. Now folk simply get removed from a sublist tag instead of all lists.

See: Updating subscriptions

I did create a Wordpress plugin that helps solves this issue with having users be able to manage their email preference center directly from your website. If you are interested you can take a look at

It surprised me too that there isn’t a more elegant way (“built in”) for subscribers to self-select which types of emails they want to opt out from, without opting out of everything.

So created a custom form on my site, which syncs the person’s list preferences back to ActiveCampaign. I integrated the form on my site (Gravity Forms), Zapier and an ActiveCampaign automation to do this.

I made this video demonstrating the entire set up here:

I hope that helps!

Hi, is this big issue has been solved since 2017 ?
It’s a real problem that we cannot specify the name of the list in the unsubscribe link.



Yes, wondering the same thing… may move away from AC if this isn’t resolved.

experiencing with this issue…