Skip to content

What is a Mailchimp Contact Rating and How Can I Use It?

Key Takeaways:

Find Out Which of Your Mailchimp Contacts are Most Engaged with Your Business

Because of its accessibility and ease of use, Mailchimp is a popular gateway to email marketing for small business owners everywhere. Its free and paid plans give you the flexibility to grow and adapt your email strategy along the way.

One feature that’s included in the Mailchimp contact dashboard is a Contact Rating, which is expressed in a star value. If you have a Mailchimp account and you’re ready to take the next step to improve your email marketing strategy based on engagement data, this 5-minute tutorial is your go-to guide.

What Does the Contact Rating Mean in Mailchimp?

Mailchimp Contact Ratings simplify a lot of information into an easy-to-read star system. Based on how often a contact opens your emails and clicks on each message’s contents, Mailchimp generates a score for that contact to reflect their engagement.

The platform also takes into account how often you’re sending emails when assessing opens and clicks. The resulting Contact Rating is like a contact’s batting average: How often they receive messages from you is compared against how much they interact with those emails.

It can be a lot to process when you get down to the nitty gritty details of how the data is assessed and measured. Thankfully, Mailchimp does the hard work for us and simply assigns each contact a star rating to show how engaged they are.

Behind the scenes, we use a 16-point scale to measure subscriber engagement. To help you see at a glance how a subscriber rates among others, we convert that number and display an associated star rating. Everyone starts at zero, or two stars.

Why Would Someone Have a Low Contact Rating?

Not every contact on your email list has the same level engagement with your content. That’s to be expected, though! Everyone interacts with your emails differently, thus the five-star rating system Mailchimp has created.

Let’s say that any contact with a three-star rating or below has a “low rating,” and explore exactly what that means:

1-Star Rating

This contact may have unsubscribed from your emails at one point and then resubscribed. Alternatively, they may have soft bounced in the past for one reason or another. People with a 1-Star rating has sporadic interest in your content. They may have given you their email address to access a signup deal and then unsubscribed thereafter, repeating this cycle any time they shop on your site.

2-Star Rating

This contact is not engaged. Since a 2-Star rating is automatically given to new subscribers, it’s likely that contacts boasting only 2 stars are new to your list. It’s also possible, though, for previously engaged contacts who have gone a bit dark on you to fall back into this category from a higher contact rating.

3-Star Rating

Contacts with a 3-Star rating are considered to have low engagement. While they may open your campaigns and click through them, their engagement is inconsistent. But don’t fret! 3-Star rated contacts may also still be new to your list and merely working their way up to a higher rating.

A low contact rating can tell you a lot about the way a contact interacts with your messaging. If you find that many of your contacts have low ratings, it may be a good idea to segment those folks and incentivize them with an offer. You may also consider improving your campaign designs and content with the guidance of an expert.

Soft bounces happen when the email server recognizes your message, but they return it to sender because of issues like the mailbox being full or temporarily unavailable.

This is different from a hard bounce, which occurs when an email can’t be delivered due to an invalid email address or error during sending.

Keep in mind which data points influence contact ratings when designing campaigns and segments around them. Mailchimp Contact Ratings only measure contact engagement in regular and A/B testing email campaigns. Any engagement your contact has with your Mailchimp ads, automations, and landing pages isn’t factored into their star rating. 

How Can I Use Mailchimp Contact Ratings?

This is the fun part! Using the data that Mailchimp provides allows you to design campaigns according to engagement and prune your list of contacts who aren’t participating. Here are a few ideas for putting these insights to work to make the most of your email marketing:

  1. Send a Customer Appreciation Campaign. Thank your highly engaged customers with a coupon code or special incentive to let them know you appreciate their commitment to your business. Since these contacts are already actively engaged with your content (and probably interested in your products and services), this could prompt a pop in sales for you!
  1. Coax Inactive Contacts to Engage. Once you know who on your list isn’t as involved, you can plan ways to get them more engaged. Consider sending an exclusive win-back offer to encourage them to shop, or promote the other places they can interact with your brand if their inbox isn’t their preferred place to see you.
  1. Give Uninterested Subscribers the Boot. Though it may seem advantageous to have as many subscribers as you can regardless of their engagement, it’s actually in your best interest to remove habitually unengaged contacts from your list. Mailchimp’s pricing plans are based, in part, on how many contacts you have, so you could be paying more for contacts that aren’t contributing to your ROI.

Want to Learn More?

Check out these on-demand sessions to learn more about email marketing and strategically communicating with your customers.

Ready for a Change?

Mailchimp is often a launchpad for small business email marketing, and its many features and plans can accommodate certain businesses comfortably for years. However, there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to email marketing. If you’re looking to hop to a different platform, consider trying Klaviyo.

Klaviyo offers: 

  • An impressive contact data dashboard for tracking website clicks & email opens
  • Integrations with top e-commerce, shipping, and social media platforms
  • Dozens of pre-built templates & a drag-and-drop-style campaign customizer
  • Flows, signup forms, coupons, and more!

Start building beautiful campaigns with the data-driven insights and intelligent integrations of Klaviyo today!

Book FREE Trial

We know that getting back into fitness is tough! Let us help you achieve your weight boxing workouts.

Creative Director/Senior Designer

Tom DiGrazia

With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

In his off hours, Tom is an avid pop culture enthusiast, staying up to date on the latest shows, films, comics and games. He can also typically be found taking part in a whole host of artistic activities that help him further stretch his creative legs. Regardless of the activity, Tom is always accompanied by his dog, Eli, and his cat, Tib.

Design, Photography, Illustration, Digital Imagery Manipulation, Wesbite Development

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, HTML/CSS, Wordpress


Courtney Dumont

As Senior Marketing Strategist & Analyst at Technology Therapy Group, Courtney is energized by the ability to flex both her left and right brain daily. Courtney discovered her passion for Marketing at Bryant University, where she spearheaded research on students’ perceptions of Social Media Marketing for her Honors Capstone Project. After graduating Bryant in 2012, she joined the Technology Therapy team, where she’s honed her skills in social media, search and social advertising, email marketing, SEO, and more.

Since joining the team, Courtney has created digital marketing strategies and managed campaigns for clients across the country, ranging from plastic surgery centers, to jewelry stores, to construction companies. With a cohesive, cross-channel approach and a focus on data-driven decision making, she has increased their leads by up to 217%. But Courtney doesn’t leave her zeal for social media at the office; she also runs a local foodie Instagram account with her husband to document their meals across Rhode Island and beyond. Check them out: @hoppilyfed.

Marketing Strategy, Data Analysis, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Social Media

Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Creator Studio, Instagram, Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Emma Mail, Google Data Studio, WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft Office