You heard me right! Your email marketing, your well crafted words, images, thoughts, etc are about to fall foul of the latest changes from Gmail and Yahoo from the 1st of February 2024 – that is the date of the impending doomsday for email marketing.
Ok, so it’s not going to be the end of the world, there is still time to make changes, but what is actually happening?
For many years now, people have always been advised to do certain things in order to get more out of their email marketing, from not using free domains (like gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc) to send bulk marketing emails from, as well as other, more technical aspects like domain authentication and keeping your spamming levels down to a minimum (no one likes a spammer!). But now, Gmail and Yahoo are making a stand and changing the way they work with marketing emails.
So, what are the changes?
- Authenticate your emailsEmail authentication is a method designed to protect users from receiving deceptive emails from spammers and those pretending to be others. It also prevents third parties from falsely representing brands and individuals.For individual users, the purpose of email authentication is to safeguard them against harmful actors impersonating other entities or people, ensuring that the emails they receive are trustworthy.For brands, implementing email authentication acts as a crucial initial step in avoiding the unwanted label of being identified as a spammer.There are various forms of email authentication, including Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC).
According to Google’s 2024 authentication requirements, bulk email senders are advised to ‘strongly authenticate’ their emails using SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to prevent email spoofing and reduce the risk of their emails being flagged as spam. (Refer to Google FAQs for more details.)
Similarly, Yahoo’s 2024 authentication guidelines recommend that senders ‘implement stronger email authentication’ by adopting these industry-standard authentication methods: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. (Refer to Yahoo FAQs for further information.)
- Allow recipients to EASILY unsubscribe from commercial emails in one clickThis is one that, in my mind (as someone who has worked in email marketing for more than 15 years) is a MUST and should’ve always been the case. But over the years people have tried to avoid this or, in their minds, be smart about this IE putting huge amounts of space between the main content of the emails and the unsubscribe link, or even worse, when people have done email marketing, they send it from Outlook or Gmail, etc and you have to “replied with the word “Stop” to opt out” (that is total B***s**t) in my mind. If people don’t want your emails going forward, they should be one click away from opting out, without having to email you, or talk to you, or any other convoluted way of getting out of it.Gmail and Yahoo (no doubt more to follow) are now saying that it should be 1-click and they are out of your email list. Simple
- New SPAM thresholdsNow, back in my SaaS CRM days where we built a CRM system with powerful email marketing tools, we always monitored clients to ensure their spam rates were low, in fact, anything above 0.2% and we flagged their accounts for review.What that actually means is simple, there are two rates you need to look at: –A) Unsubscribe Rate – This is not the spam rate, this is the metric based upon the number of people opting out of your emails. It’s important to monitor, but it’s not the spam rate that gets reported to the likes of Gmail or Yahoo
B) The Spam/Complaint Rate – So we used to call this the complaint rate and is basically when people get an email from you and click the “This is Junk”, “This is Spam”, etc buttons in their email clients (Gmail, Yahoo, etc). This is sent directly to them and monitored. This is not good.
The new threshold for this is 0.3% – this might seem low, but it can easily creep up if you don’t make the option to opt out of your emails simple.
The question is, why are these changes coming in now?
It’s simple, Gmail and Yahoo are taking a stand against spam, it’s been a long time coming but these are all good first moves to help make sure that people who are doing email marketing right (to good, opted in lists), get their message in front of the people who want it and value it. Spam is a big problem, we all get hundreds of spam emails each day, as well as unsolicited emails from companies who have either bought our data or scrapped it from websites, so these changes will help to make sure that the right emails get through and the junk, the spam and unsolicited emails find their way to the bin.
How will these email deliverability changes from Gmail and Yahoo impact your marketing?
Businesses who already follow best practice for sending email marketing and use a ESP (Email Service Provider) won’t have much to worry about or change. Platforms like Mailchimp, Active Campaign, Keap, etc all force you to have a one click unsubscribe in every email you send out. You might have to make some changes to your domain to add in DKIM, SPF or DMARC into it – anyone who continues to do email marketing without the one-click unsubscribe, DKIM/SPF/DMARC and has high spam rates, will see their email marketing effectiveness affected and quite possibly their normal, day to day emails if they get flagged and potentially blacklisted
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