The New Email Deliverability Rules: Google and Yahoo Get Tough on Spam

Google and Yahoo have joined forces to establish new email authentication requirements in an effort to reduce spam and protect users from junk emails. Marketers who send more than 5,000 emails a day to Google and Yahoo users must comply with these rules (which take effect from February 2024). Here are some things you need to do in order to ensure your messages do not end up in recipients’ spam boxes. 


Authenticate Your Emails 

Google and Yahoo will require individuals and businesses who send bulk messages to authenticate their email. The purpose of email authentication is to protect users from fraudulent emails from scammers and to stop third parties from masquerading as brands and people. By authenticating your email, you build trust with recipients. When they are confident that you are a legitimate party, recipients open your messages, instead of moving them to spam. Some common security protocols used to authenticate emails include DKIM, DMARC, and SPF. 

  • Domain Key Identified Email or DKIM: Is an email authentication method that allows you to add a digital signature to outgoing mails so the receiving server can authenticate them. 
  • Domain-based Messaging Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance: Or DMARC combines the SPF and DKIM authentication mechanisms and instructs the recipient to allow, quarantine or reject emails
  • Sender Policy Framework: Or SPF helps to identify the mail servers that are authorized to send emails on behalf of a given domain. ISPs use SPF to identify malicious emails from scammers, spoofers, and phishers 


Allow Users to Unsubscribe From Emails in One Click

Going forward, bulk email senders must give their subscribers the option to easily unsubscribe in one click with every email. Bulk email senders should also process unsubscribe requests within two days. 


Maintain a Low Spam Complaint Rate 

Your spam complaint rate indicates how often recipients consider your mails irritating and unwanted. To calculate it, divide the number of people who mark your email as spam by the number of people who receive it. So, if you send an email to 1,000 people and one person marks it as spam, your spam complaint rate is 1/1,000=0.1 percent. Google and Yahoo require bulk email senders to maintain a spam complaint rate under 0.3 percent, or no more than 3 spam complaints per 1,000 mails. 


Here are some best practices for maintaining a low spam complaint rate. 


  • Create Permission-based email lists: Obtain explicit consent from recipients using opt-in forms before you add them to your email list 
  • Make it easier for subscribers to opt-out: Keep the process of unsubscribing from emails as simple as possible. Include a visible and straightforward unsubscribe link in every email. This helps reduce spam complaints from users who no longer wish to receive your content
  • Send relevant and valuable content: Ensure your email content is relevant to your audience, as irrelevant content is more likely to be marked as spam. Tailor your content to recipients’ interests and needs
  • Segment your email list and personalize emails: Segment your email list based on subscribers’ interests, behavior, or demographics. Personalize your emails to make them more relevant to each segment. Personalized emails have a lower chance of being marked as spam
  • Avoid spam triggers: Be careful with the words you use and pay attention to formatting. Avoid using all caps, excessive exclamation marks, and spammy phrases such as “Buy now” or “Free offer”. Also, maintain a good text-to-image ratio
  • Maintain your email list: Periodically clean your email list by removing inactive subscribers and those who have not interacted with your emails for a long period
  • Test and monitor: Regularly test subject lines, email content, and send time to see what works best. Monitor open rates, click-through rates, spam complaint rates, and other key metrics
  • Feedback loops: Set up an email feedback loop with your ISP, so you’re notified when a recipient marks your email as spam. Remove disinterested recipients from your list promptly
  • Opt-In confirmation: Use double opt-in methods to ensure that your subscribers actually want to receive your emails, so you do not end up sending emails to people who aren’t interested, which can lead to spam complaints
  • Avoid bombarding subscribers with your emails: If you send too many mails too often to people in your email list, they can get annoyed and mark your messages as spam 
  • Educate your subscribers: Set clear expectations by letting your subscribers know what to expect in terms of content and frequency of emails


Why are Google and Yahoo Establishing These Rules?

The new email deliverability rules will help ensure users’ inboxes aren’t flooded with spam, improving their experience. Google has already said in 20203 that AI-powered filtering features are helping support its goals to reduce spam by blocking more than 99.9 percent of junk mails and phishing attempts. Yahoo said that by authenticating their emails, bulk email senders can help the search engine identify and block spam more effectively. 


What Happens if You Fail to Comply With These Guidelines?

Digital marketers who are already following email marketing best practices have nothing to worry about. Bulk senders who do not authenticate their emails, are yet to simplify the process of unsubscribing from their emails, take more than two days to process unsubscribe requests or have a high spam complaint rate must pull their socks up or they can see a dip in the performance of their email marketing campaigns. 


Bounce rates may increase and their emails (even the ones relevant to recipients) may end up in users’ inboxes. Google has said that emails from bulk senders who fail to comply with the new regulations will be rejected outrightly or sent to recipients’ spam folders. 


iSigma Solutions is a renowned digital marketing agency serving brands in Toronto, Canada. Our expertise enables us to help businesses identify their target audiences and create custom marketing strategies to effectively reach them. To learn more, call 1-877-974-4744.

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