About Inactive and Stale Addresses

To get the most subscriber engagement and the best return on investment for your email marketing, it’s important to manage stale and inactive addresses. Stale addresses are subscribers who you haven’t sent to in a significant amount of time, and inactive subscribers are people you’ve sent to, but who haven’t opened your campaigns in a while.

In this article, you’ll learn the difference between stale and inactive addresses, and what to do with each type.


  • Stale address
    An address that you haven’t emailed in a long time. Subscribers may not remember you when there’s a big gap in your email marketing sends, and their email addresses may no longer be valid.

  • Inactive subscriber
    A subscriber with a valid address that you’ve sent to recently, but who hasn’t opened or clicked your campaigns. Inactive subscribers don’t affect the health of your list, and they can be valuable because you may be able to win back their interest and earn revenue from them.

Reconfirm Stale Addresses

Stale addresses are old or invalid emails that haven’t been sent to in a long time. Lists with a lot of stale addresses can lead to high rates of bounces, spam complaints, and unsubscribes. We typically recommend that you delete or reconfirm stale addresses. A cleaner list helps improve your deliverability and engagement with the subscribers who really want to hear from you.

Learn how to reconfirm stale addresses.

Re-engage Inactive Subscribers

Inactive subscribers who don’t open and click your campaigns may look like they’re ignoring you, but that’s not always the case. Low open and click rates can’t tell you if a customer is still engaging with your brand in person or elsewhere online. For example, if you often send promotions and coupons to subscribers, some people may not open the email until they need a coupon later on.

Send re-engagement campaigns to your inactive subscribers to win them back. If subscribers remain inactive after you try to re-engage them, consider removing them from your list to lower the cost of your MailChimp monthly plan.

Learn how to identify and segment your inactive subscribers.

Learn how to re-engage inactive subscribers.

Learn how to remove inactive subscribers.

Examples of Stale or Inactive Addresses




  • A subscriber signed up a few months ago, but hasn’t clicked one of your campaigns yet.
  • You have a list that a colleague sent campaigns to regularly in the past, but haven’t used it in a long time.
  • A subscriber’s open rate, click rate, or member-activity rating has dropped lately.
  • You collected business cards at a trade show a few years ago, but haven’t emailed the contacts yet.
  • A customer on your list bought a large order from your online store last year, but they didn’t open your last five campaigns.
  • You have a list of customer emails that you gathered about a year and a half ago, but haven’t emailed yet.


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