Gmail and Yahoo are rolling out new inbox protection rules. Here’s how you can get ahead of it
Some deliverability news just broke from Google and Yahoo. To keep it Lite for you, we summarized the main points and explained what we recommend you do to prepare.
Google and Yahoo have announced new rules for bulk email senders effective February 2024, focusing on authentication, spam-rate control, and simplified unsubscription processes to combat spam and enhance inbox safety. This initiative is likely to set a new industry standard as it aims to foster a safer email ecosystem.
It may seem like a lot to take in, but there is no cause for alarm. These new rules are really just common sense and good email practices now made into requirements. If you’re already doing the right things for great email delivery, there’s not much to worry about.
Here’s a rundown of the changes and the steps you can take to ensure your email campaigns continue to thrive in this new setup.
Google and Yahoo will start requiring all email senders, big and small, to follow these guidelines:
- Authenticate your sending domain
- Allow for one-click unsubscribes
- Stay below a spam-rate threshold
Bulk email senders––people who send 5,000+ emails in one day––also need to set up an additional authentication protocol called a ‘DMARC record’.
These are well-established best practices that will become official requirements for people sending to Google and Yahoo inboxes by February 2024.
New inbox protection rules for bulk email senders
These new guidelines set by Google and Yahoo are already considered basic best practices here is a breakdown of each new rule. →
1. Authenticate your sending domain
If someone asks to see your ID and you produce your driver’s license, passport and birth certificate, you can prove—without a doubt—that you are who you say you are.
That’s what domain authentication does for email. Bulk email senders are now required to adhere to authentication protocols by authenticating their email domain (the domain address used for sending).
We have always encouraged domain authentication as one of the first steps in setting up a MailerLite account. It’s the first line of defense against spam filters, and a super easy way to boost your sender reputation.
– Andrii, Email Deliverability Manager
This is particularly important for smaller businesses that send from a free email domain (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) because you can’t authenticate a domain you don’t own.
So with these new rules, you won’t be able to use a free email domain as your sender address. You will instead need to purchase your own domain (e.g., email@example.com.
2. Allow one-click unsubscribes
Google and Yahoo will require all senders to offer a one-click unsubscribe option. The companies believe subscribers shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to unsubscribe from an email list. And we agree
The new policies also require senders to process unsubscribe requests within 2 days
3. Stay below the spam rate threshold
The new email policies by Google and Yahoo include a spam rate threshold for bulk senders. Specifically, Google is mandating that the spam rate for bulk senders must be kept below 0.3% (as measured by Google’s Postmaster Tools).
While the exact percentage for Yahoo’s spam rate limit hasn’t been announced, it’s clear that both Google and Yahoo are enforcing a spam rate threshold to manage the volume of spam emails and improve the user experience by reducing clutter in people’s inboxes.
4. Set up a DMARC record
Senders who send 5,000+ emails in a day will also need to set up another security protocol, DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance).
DMARC ensures emails are genuinely coming from the domain they claim to be from, by checking the alignment of the SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) records. A DMARC record is a TXT record in your domain’s DNS settings.
Setting up a DMARC record is a proactive measure to protect your brand and your audience from phishing and spoofing attacks. It’s about ensuring that only legitimate emails from your domain reach the inbox, which in turn boosts your sender reputation and deliverability rates.
Setting up DMARC correctly is essential. We recommend consulting with email provider or using online tools to analyze and ensure your DMARC policy is set up correctly, helping you stay compliant with these new guidelines and avoid any negative impact on email deliverability.
How you can prepare for the new deliverability guidelines
Google and Yahoo’s new requirements echo well-established best practices that most ESPs already recommend.
To dot the i’s and cross the t’s, we’ve listed some simple steps you can take to align with these updates. Official requirements or not, you’ll benefit from optimizing your strategy for maximum deliverability.
1. Understand and implement domain authentication protocols
“Domain authentication” may sound technical and scary, but it’s actually very straightforward and easy to complete on your own. All you have to do is copy and paste 2 records from your MailerLite account to your domain management system.
💡Take domain authentication one step further
Domain alignment is another mechanism that will help protect your sender reputation—and boost your deliverability along with it.
Domain alignment allows you to use your domain throughout the email message, including:
- Email header: Where you include the recipient, the sender and the subject line
- Tracking links: Unique links that give data and analytics about your domain
- Image hyperlinks: Links embedded within images in your email content
This extra layer of authentication will give you more control over your sender reputation, and better deliverability in the process!
2. Modify your strategy to keep your spam rate low
You don’t need to be a spammer to get spam complaints. It happens to the best of us. There are, however, a few simple steps you can take to avoid spam filters and reach the inbox.
- Enable double opt-in: Requiring subscribers to double opt-in stops bot attacks in their tracks, preventing dangerous email addresses called “spam traps” from making it onto your list. It also prevents hard bounces by not importing addresses with typos and weeds out anyone who isn’t genuinely interested in your message
- Verify your email list: Use a list verification tool, like MailerCheck, to remove potentially harmful and invalid email addresses from your email list
- Clean up inactive subscribers: It’s safe to assume that people who don’t open your emails aren’t that interested. They also take up space in your list and negatively impact your metrics. Remove inactive subscribers to maintain proper list hygiene
- Remove old email addresses: If you haven’t contacted an email list in over a year, it’s better to let them go than risk them not remembering they ever signed up
- Update your welcome email: Make sure your welcome email lets subscribers know what to expect, you can even go a step further and allow them to self-segment based on their preference so subscribers only receive the emails they truly want
- Optimize your content to avoid spam filters: Spam filters flag any email characteristics associated with spam. Avoid red text, writing in all caps, don’t use too many exclamation points and keep it short by cutting out any unnecessary padding
3. Educate your team
Educate your team about the new changes and ensure everyone who has access to your email marketing is aware and prepared for the adjustments needed.
Cheers to a spam-free future 🎉
The upcoming changes in email sending policies by Google and Yahoo are small tweaks in the rules to make inboxes safer.
These new guidelines simply ensure that email senders:
- Follow best practices for email authentication
- Make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe with a single click
- Keep spam rates low to maintain good email deliverability and a pleasant email experience for users
Embracing these changes and adapting to the new standards proactively will not only uphold your brand’s reputation but will also enhance engagement and trust with your audience.