Yandex company blog

Managing Subscriptions in Yandex.Mail with Machine Learning

13 February, 17:17

Yandex.Mail has become one of the leading email platforms in Russia, with over 28 million active monthly users.  Today email acts as one of the main tools we use to organize our lives, from online purchases to booking travel and paying bills.  Through emails, we also discover new information, but often our inboxes can get overwhelmed with content and subscriptions.

Each Yandex.Mail user has on average 50 subscriptions.  To help users better manage their emails, the Yandex.Mail team developed a new feature that more easily manages and filters users’ unwanted subscription emails.  Yandex has integrated machine learning algorithms into the platform to determine which emails are coming from subscription services and can tell which emails from the same sender are relevant to users.  The user can decide which subscriptions they want to hide from their inbox by selecting multiple senders and hiding their messages with one click.  Along with no longer receiving future subscription emails from the hidden senders, users can also opt to delete all past messages from them.  The feature will help Yandex.Mail users easily remove clutter from their inboxes on both desktop and mobile versions of Yandex.Mail.

The smart algorithms powering Yandex.Mail detect and organize potentially important emails from the same senders that are sending messages to a mailing list.  Emails that include content such as bills, order information, and booking details will still be delivered to one’s inbox even if the user has already hidden newsletters or promotional emails from the same source.  The algorithms learn from a combination of semantic factors like keywords and user responses to prompts asking whether an email is a marketing newsletter. The algorithms are powered by a mix of technologies, including Yandex’s CatBoost and other open-source ML algorithms tuned for classification.

“Unsubscribing from all mailing lists takes time and effort.  By integrating a new ML-powered feature for quickly filtering subscriptions, we offer users an easy solution to improve this issue,” says Ilya Vorobiev, Senior Product Manager of Yandex.Mail.  “We are always striving to provide users with a high-quality experience. Through a testing period, we offered the feature to a select group of Yandex.Mail users and found the feature greatly improved their email experience.  On average, each user opted out of 38 subscriptions and reduced the volume of their incoming mail by 28%.  Of the users who hid subscriptions with the new feature, 60% decided to also delete the old subscription emails.”

Yandex.Mail organizes an active subscription list and users can mark a box next to each sender to hide subscriptions.  The user is also given the option to delete old emails from the mailing lists that they opted to hide.  Clicking on the email addresses in the list will show the user all emails from that sender.  The user can also see from which addresses emails are hidden, and at any time can reactivate these subscriptions.

The new smart feature in Yandex.Mail helps users manage their emails more efficiently.  Yandex.Mail also offers users other features to help them manage their inbox, such as a tool to schedule emails, unlimited online storage, and built-in integration with Yandex.Translate on the web app.  Users can access their Yandex.Mail accounts through the web app, iOS and Android apps, or through the email client of their choosing with support for POP and IMAP access.  Yandex.Mail mobile app users can also access email accounts from other email services.

The subscription management tool is currently available to most Yandex.Mail users and will roll out to all users in the coming days.