In October 2023, Google announced new, stricter guidelines for anyone sending more than 5,000 emails a day (what they call “bulk senders”). Yahoo has also rolled out new policies. Both companies have said they will begin enforcing the new guidelines in February 2024. At that point, bulk senders who don’t follow their guidelines are at risk of not having their emails delivered to recipients with Gmail or Yahoo addresses.
In the United States, 53% of email users are on Gmail so it’s essential that campaigns understand and follow these guidelines to ensure your emails are received by supporters.
Who Does This Affect?
Everyone. It’s not just political campaigns that are affected by this policy change. And although you may not think of yourself as a “bulk sender,” anyone who sends more than 5,000 emails a day is included even if it’s spread out over multiple sends.
What Is Changing?
If you’ve been reading Best Practice Digital for a while, you probably won’t have to change anything. But Google and Yahoo are making explicit policies we’ve always encouraged everyone to follow.
- Email authentication with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records is required.
- Bulk senders must provide a one-click unsubscribe link in emails.
- Spam complaint rates should stay consistently below 0.10% and never reach or exceed 0.30%
Google and Yahoo are enforcing these new requirements to protect their users from spam, phishing attacks, and other unwanted, risky emails.
What You Need To Do
Using a reputable email marketing platform, like MailChimp, is an essential first step if you’re not already doing so.
You need to set up and send email from a custom domain and not a generic Gmail or Yahoo address.
Next, you’ll need to set up Gmail Postmaster Tools for your domain to monitor spam rates.
How To Authenticate Emails
Email authentication are a set of DNS records that simply tell a recipient’s inbox provider that the email marketing platform has the domain owner’s permission to send email. This prevents common attacks like spoofing or phishing.
Your email marketing platform will have instructions on how to implement these records and we also have a guide here. The new requirements specifically mention SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. These all must be working together.
How To Avoid Spam Complaints
Ensure your recipients want to receive your emails and send quality emails to avoid unacceptably high spam complaint rates. Never send marketing emails to someone who hasn’t specifically opted in to receive your messages. Adding double opt-in, where a subscriber confirms their opt-in with an email link, is the best way to avoid spam complaints and maintain good inbox placement.
How To Make Unsubscribing Easy
The new guidelines specifically state that a user should be able to click on a visible link to unsubscribe. No white link on a white background that can’t be seen by the naked eye. And requiring a user to enter their email address or click on a second unsubscribe button is not allowed either.
It doesn’t do you any good to keep people on your list who don’t want to be subscribed.
These new requirements from Google and Yahoo won’t surprise anyone who has already been following email marketing best practices. But if there are some steps you still need to take, you have a few weeks left to complete them.