Google and Yahoo made joint announcements in October 2023 that will affect all email marketers worldwide.
Just when you think you have email figured out, it changes.
Here are the quick facts:
- Google and Yahoo have new requirements for companies that send over 5,000 messages to Gmail addresses in one day (bulk senders).
- A Gmail account is one of these account types:
- A personal account that ends in @gmail.com or @googlemail.com
- A work account from Google Workspace that doesn’t end in @gmail.com.
- The announcement requires bulk senders to:
- Authenticate emails with DKIM, SPF and DMARC
- Stay under a 0.30% spam threshold
- Provide a “list-unsubscribe header”
- Both Google and Yahoo (32.3% email client market share) are requiring the changes (Litmus)
- Google’s new requirements start February 2024
Lots of information to digest, but follow this blog to learn about your next steps in Account Engagement (Pardot).
Authenticate emails with SPF, DKIM and DMARC
Joint statements by Gmail and Yahoo emphasize the importance of domain authentication for the security and user protection of their users.
Email authentication is like using a passport when you travel from one country to another. The passport proves your identity.
SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are the three main email authentication methods. When used together, email servers trust that you own the domain. You are not a spammer, phisher, or other unauthorized party hijacking a domain to send emails.
Specifically, Google states:
“To improve email delivery, we recommend always setting up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC for your domains. Messages not authenticated with these methods might be marked as spam or rejected with a 5.7.26 error.
- Check your Account Engagement domains. If you go to Account Engagement Settings > Domain Management, you should see all green checks for SPF and DKIM.
- If you haven’t already, you should set up DMARC authentication. This is not done through Account Engagement. The IT team sets up this authentication through the DNS hosting provider.
Stay under a 0.30% spam threshold
Everyone strives to send quality emails, right? Well, Google is holding everyone accountable.
Marketers need to stay within the 0.30% threshold for spam. That’s no more than 3 spam complaints per 1000 emails.
Or what? Email recipients are less likely to find your emails in their inboxes.
Maintaining a low spam rate makes email senders more resilient to occasional spikes in negative user feedback. Google recommends shooting for a 0.10% (1 in 1,000) spam rate.
Similarly, maintaining a high spam rate will lead to increased spam classification. It can take time for improvements in spam rate to reflect positively on spam classification.
Action: Carefully monitor your spam rates. Marketers are always watching email sent and click rates, but now Spam rates are equally (if not more) significant. Google recommends using Postmaster tools to track data on large volumes of emails sent from your sending domain.
Provide a “List-Unsubscribe Header”
Google requires that large senders give Gmail recipients the ability to unsubscribe from commercial emails with a List-Unsubscribe header in one click. See the example below.
This allows email recipients to unsubscribe easily without searching for the unsubscribe option in the body of an email.
To set up one-click unsubscribe, emails need to include both of these headers in outgoing messages:
NOTE: Account Engagement already has List-Unsubscribe header automatically included in all emails.
Many marketers are incorrectly interpreting Google’s announcement. Account Engagement (Pardot) marketers do not need to revert to a one-click unsubscribe link in the body of the email.
Action: Nothing to do here. Salesforce already has this covered, but the language in Google’s announcement is confusing marketers.
Phooey! I don’t want to do this!
According to Google:
“Following these guidelines ensures messages are delivered to Gmail accounts as expected, and to help prevent Gmail from limiting sending rates, blocking messages, or marking messages as spam.”