By Lauren H. Dowdle
Two of the top email providers will soon be implementing changes for email marketers to improve the user experience and reduce the amount of unwanted emails they receive.
Starting in February 2024, Google and Yahoo will begin enforcing a new round of requirements that senders must follow for their emails to be properly delivered. While some of these new rules are already considered best practices by many, they will be imposed by the companies going forward. So if you aren’t already implementing these, now’s the time.
Here’s what those updates include and how you can ensure you’re in compliance.
With the number of emails people receive only set to grow, email providers are looking for ways to weed out more spam, make it easier for consumers to unsubscribe, and ensure they’re receiving content they actually want to read.
To do that, both Google and Yahoo will start requiring all bulk senders to follow these three standards:
- Authenticate their emails. To help with spoofing or having emails being marked as spam, you’ll need to use email authentication standards like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC for your domains.
- Make it easy to unsubscribe. When someone wants to unsubscribe from your list, they must be able to do that with one click in the email. The unsubscription request must also be processed within two days.
- Send emails users want. In addition to the current spam protection tools put in place by these email providers, they will also enforce a spam rate threshold of 0.3 percent or lower that senders must stay under to ensure recipients aren’t receiving a high number of unwanted messages.
Bulk senders who don’t meet these requirements by February will start receiving temporary errors on a small percentage of their non-compliant emails, according to Google. In April, they will gradually reject a percentage of non-compliant email traffic, and by June, they must implement the one-click unsubscribe in all of their commercial or promotional messages.
So, what does that mean for you? For starters, it’s good to note these new rules apply to bulk senders, which Google defines as anyone who sends more than 5,000 messages to Gmail addresses in a day. Once considered a bulk sender, an organization permanently keeps that label.
However, even if you don’t currently fall in this category, it’s good to incorporate these best practices into your email marketing strategy to improve deliverability and engagement and steer clear of issues in the future.
How to implement
Next, let’s break down those three regulations and what you need to do to comply.
Even before these new regulations, emails that failed the SPF or DKIM authentication processes were likely to end up in spam. Now, it’s required to strongly authenticate using these. While this may seem technical, there are tools to help make it easier. For example, here’s how to set up that authentication in Robly.
You must also use a custom domain that you own (ex. @companyname.com) instead of a free one (ex. @gmail.com or @yahoo.com) when sending emails.
Not only is it going to be required, but having a one-click unsubscribe also benefits your email engagement. Making it easy to unsubscribe will help improve things like your click-through and open rates. There should be a clear, easy-to-find link they click to unsubscribe from your email list.
Robly automatically adds a one-click unsubscribe link in the header and footer of every email you send, so you’re all set here. That way, they can unsubscribe no matter where they are in the email. The easier you can make it, the better.
A high spam rate is a red flag to any email service. It will be even more important to keep that in check with these new regulations because Google and Yahoo will require spam rates to be 0.3 percent or lower. That means you can’t receive more than three complaints for every 1,000 emails sent.
At Robly, we require our customers to have a spam rate that is 0.1 percent or lower. That helps ensure they receive the best possible deliverability, while also reducing the amount of spam their subscribers receive. So, you’re already ahead of the game if you use our service.
Here are a few ways to keep spam rates low:
- Use a double opt-in to ensure they want to receive your emails.
- Segment lists to send them targeted content they like receiving.
- Avoid sending spammy subject lines or content.
- Find and follow the right send volume for your subscribers.
- Remove unengaged contacts from your list after a set amount of time.
The better you can tailor email campaigns to your audience, the lower the spam rate—and the higher the engagement—will be.
Beyond following these new regulations, incorporating general email marketing best practices will also help you build a solid foundation for your strategy.
You’ll build engagement and trust with things like branded templates, segmented lists, automated email flows, and targeted content. All of those things also help improve your sender reputation with email services like Google and Yahoo, making it a true win-win!